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.
|Venue name:||La Brea Tar Pits and Museum||Contact:|
5801 Wilshire Blvd
|Opening hours:||9:30am-5pm daily.|
|Price:||$12 adults; $9 seniors/students with ID & children 13-17; $5 children 3-12; children under 2, active military with ID, CA teachers with ID, and members free.|
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If you're in LA for even a short period of time, you'll inevitably hear about the La Bra Tar Pits. Nestled in the middle of Miracle Mile, it's a great place to take a stroll through on your way to LACMA or to make a day out of the park itself by heading to the museum and having a picnic. During summer, they often have live music on the weekends. Last summer there was a salsa series, which is unique and different. This place is definitely worth a visit and since it's in the middle of so much, it's quite convenient to get to so you have no excuse not to go!
On one hand, it's a bubbling pit in the middle of the city, filled with history and compelling replicas of pre-historic beasts meeting an untimely death. Cool! On the other hand, it's just a bubbling pit in the middle of the city. I wasn't too impressed with the museum, but I have found myself coming back to the tar pits every time I visit LACMA, and I enjoy the nearby excavation sites. Also, I like re-enacting that scene from My Girl 2, where Nick pretends to drop Vada's ring in the pit...no, just me?