If you’d like to see a Saber Toothed Cat and Mammoths while in LA, stop by the Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd. The animals were trapped in the pits and preserved there through the centuries. The accompanying museum explains the fossilization, shows full skeletons and describes the history of the area that lies below the massive city of Los Angeles.
The Tar Pits are open Monday through Friday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday, Sunday and Holidays, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Ticket prices are $7 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and kids aged 13-17, $2 for children aged 5-12 years and free for the little ones under 5 years old.
For ages, the La Brea Tar Pits have entombed many animals that were not able to escape its sticky grasp. A statue of a stricken mammoth calling out to its helpless family (see picture) illustrates the tar pits' role in natural selection.
Scientists were able to recover the bones of many animals that died in the tar pits. Many, like mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, and sabertoothed cats, are already extinct. Skeletons of these ancient animals are on display at the nearby Page Museum.
You can see the tar pits for free. Adult admission price at the Page Museum is $7, however. If you go there on the first Tuesday of the month, you get to enter the museum for free.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Arts (LACMA) is adjacent to the tar pits. You may want to check it out, too.
The La Brea Tar Pits are a unique L.A. sight that's worth checking out while you're in town. Situated right next to the L.A. County Musuem of Art, in the heart of the Miracle Mile area, the Tar Pits are made up of the actual tar pits themselves and wonderful museum (Page Museum) which highlights the history of the site.
During the last Ice Age, huge mammoths, sabertoothed lions and giant ground sloths became trapped and entombed in the tar that has been seeping out of the ground in this area for the past 40,000 years. You can see their fossilized remains at the site, as well as the bubbling pit of tar that is still located here.
In the park next to the tar pits, life-size replicas of several extinct mammals are featured. The tar does smell, although it's not terrible. A funny fact about the area... the tar is not just in the tar pit next to the museum. From time to time it bubbles up in the front yards of the lovely homes that surround Miracle Mile area. Some good friends of mine have a mini-tar pit in their flower garden that they're not too happy about...
Monday - Friday, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday, Sunday & Holidays, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Admission is free on the first Tuesday of each month.
Seniors 62 and older and Students with I.D.: $4.50
Children 5-12 years old: $2.00
Slowly oozing its way beneath Los Angeles, the city that itself oozes (that may just be Hollywood though), are the La Brea Tar Pits. The pits, no relation to Brad Pitt, are the home to literally thousands of fossils waiting to be found.
The finding of these fossils are one of the main reasons to check out the pits. Every day there ae workers excavating and cleaning the bones of saber-toothed tigers and Mamoths that got stuck in the tar over 40,000 years ago.
The museum itself tells the story of the animals that once got trapped in the tar, and there are many exhibit featuring replicas of the now extinct ex-creatures. It is geared very much to the kiddies, but for the adults there are Monty Python fans among the tour guides who are happy to do a take on the Dead Parrot sketch, with the fossils. Ok, I made that last part up. It really is geared towards the kiddies, and adults who think like kids though.
Located right in downtown LA, it is amazing to view the open black tar pits that preserved extinct ancient animals that once walked the earth in Los Angeles area.Included woolly mammoths, mastadoons, sabre toothed cats and giant sloths and other prehistoric mammals.
The nearby museum tells what this place was like millions of years ago and worth the admission fees. As it is a research and working museum, we could see recovered fossils, the cleaning and preservation process.
There is the LA County Museum of Art across the street. So if one prefer art and the other prefer lost animals, this is where you can temporarily split out with your travel group and meet again.
Museum hours: Mon-Fri 9:30am-5pm, Sat, Sun & Holidays: 10am-5pm
Closed on: July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year Day.
Admission: Free on first Tue.
Seniors 62 and older & Students ith I.D.: $4.50
Youths 13-17: $4.50
Children 5-12: $2.00
Your trip is not complete unless you visit the Page Museum. It is not a huge museum, but is very unique do to the fact they are still digging and finding fossils. The other very unique thing is you can see "Paleontology in Action!" They call it the Fishbowl Lab. It is a glass walled laboratory that lets visitors watch fossils being cleaned, studied, and prepared.
There is a wonderful Atrium that all visitors can walk thru and enjoy koi fish, Ginkgo tree, bamboo tree, and a variety of birds who make this there nesting place.
The exhibits include Bison, Camels, Condors, Coyotes, Dire Wolves, Gound Sloth, Horses, Mammoth (my favorite) and Smilodons. They are some of the best displays I have seen.
Over 11,000 years ago during the Pleistoncene period this area was teaming with wildlife of ancient animals such as American Mastodons, Saber Toothed Cats, Camels, Dire Wolves, Harlan's Ground Sloths, Western Horses, Ancient Bisons, and many species that still thrive today.
I have been coming to this area since I was a kid and I am still in awe of the tars pits. So if you have the chance just stroll around the huge tar pit lake, be sure to take in the rest of the park. Lots of wonderful areas to explore.
The Citizens of Los Angeles County
In December 1916 by
Captain Allan Hancock
With a request that the scientific features be preserved
First historic reference to the tar pools
Recorded in the diary of Caspar dePortola'
In August 3, 1769
Originally a portion of the Rancho LaBrea
Granted by Governor Alvarado 1840
Erected 1940 by Californiana Parlor 247 Native Daughters of the Golden West. (Marker Number 247.)
The Page Museum at La Brea (The Tar Pits) is a wonderful place to go If you are interested in science, archaeology, animals, history or just to see what has been uncovered from the depths of Los Angeles. It is a fun and exciting place for children and they can't help but learn many things as they walk through the museum.
Outside, on Wilshire Boulevard you'll see and smell a pool of natural asphalt--brea in Spanish--which has existed for tens of thousands of years. The pool still bubbles and there are life size replicas of ancient Mammoths being trapped in the pool of tar. More than a hundred pits have been excavated but Pit 91 is the only one still active. (See the license plate in the photos. Someone was pretty proud of the work they do.) Since reopening Pit 91 in 1969 more than 600 species have been found. Some of the species found are, saber-toothed cat, dire wolves, bison, horses, giant ground sloth, turtles, snails, clams, millipedes, fish, gophers, American lion, and a nearly intact mammoth skeleton, nicknamed Zed. The huge skull of Zed can be seen in the lab as well as bones from all these animals through the Museum.
Two Paleontologists supervise and direct the work of forty volunteers in the lab. The Fossil Lab is enclosed by sound proof glass so that we can see the work being done without disturbing anyone's concentration. The lab workers seem to have a sense of humor and there are signs in front of their stations, announcing the work being done. Those microfossils were fascinatingly small. It must take dedication and patience to sort through to find the fossils.
Throughout the Museum were actual bones of the animals and one display that I particularly like showed several large bones, not only identified, but also with a drawing of the animal and the place where the bone belonged was colored in red. There was a section of deformed bones and bones with signs of diseased and injured bones.
Digging began 1915 looking for the large clusters of fossils since they were to become the main show pieces, while others had to wait till 1969 since this pit was reopened collecting everything, even the smaller fossils. The pit would be close off and on due to budget constraints or due to safety concerns. By 1980's digging began again, but only during summer weeks. During the 2007 season alone 3,388 specimans have been discovered such as: two saber-toothed cat skulls, six dire wolf skulls, a near-complete horse skull, several Harlan's ground sloth limb bones, a juvenile Shasta ground sloth jaw, and the first confirmed piece of a (very young) mammoth.
Its unique because you don't have to purchase a tour ticket, but you can easily miss this if you don't wonder down the paths thru the park. We pointed this out to a Dad who was trying to entertain his young child to take him to see the pit. All the pits are fenced off for everyone's safety, but Pit 91 is inclosed and elevated so you can easily look down into the pit as volunteers works.
At The La Brea Tar Pits
There are many attractions of greater Los Angeles- the lovely beaches, the hip happenings of Hollywood, the allure of the fashionable Westside and yes, there is the tar -of the La Brea Tar Pits! OK so the smell of tar is not as welcoming as that of the locally famous La Brea baked bread but certain the good old black stuff does bring 'em in!
Within a fantastic park perfect for a city stroll are tar pits and ancient fossil sites that are well preserved. Now, who says that L.A. does not appreciate what's old?
Read more on the La Brea Tar Pits , including the Page Museum on the website listed below!
After seeing this place in movies I, of course, had to see it for myself! I loved that it's now surrounded by museums since you can only look at a pond of water for a little while :) I did expect something that looked more menacing ... but it looked like a pond that sometimes had bubbles! My brother and I decided to pick up some munchies from a nearby eatery, and sit along the shores and have a picnic. A perfect day for it too!
I have to say, by sitting and watching the water, we saw so much more than we would have just walking around it. The water bubbled pretty frequently, and every so often a HUGE bubble your errupt ... it was like the pond had gas ... tee-hee. We even saw a big bubble of tar that would come up, inflate a bit more, and slowly deflate - sort of like a giant tic. Maybe you had to be there, but we loved it ;)