Back in 1875, a group of amateur paleontologists discovered animal remains in the pits at Rancho La Brea, which bubbled with asphalt from a petroleum lake under what is now Hancock Park. Some 130 years later, the pros are still at work here, having dragged more than 3.5 million fossils from the mire. Many of these specimens are now on display in this delightfully old fashioned museum, which can't have changed much since it opened in 1977. Reserve a spot on the Excavator Tour (free with museum admission), which includes stops at the Fossil Lab, the Lake Pit, the newly re-opened Observation Pit and Project 23, where you can see archaeologists at work. Inside, check out the multimedia experience Ice Age Encounter, and the simple, instructive displays of items found in the pits. Most are bones – of jackrabbits, gophers, a 160lb bison, skunks and a 15,000lb Columbian mammoth, plus an extraordinary wall of 400 wolf skulls – though there are also early cave drawings and human accoutrements such as bowls and hair pins.
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
Time Out says
The outdoor pits are free to visit. Advance tickets for the indoor museum recommended.
- 5801 Wilshire Blvd
- Los Angeles
- View Website
- $15 adults; $12 seniors/students with ID & children 13-17; $7 children 3-12; children under 2, active military with ID, CA teachers with ID, and members free. L.A. County residents free Mon–Fri 3–5pm.
- Opening hours:
- Daily 9:30am–5pm; closed first Tue of the Month
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