Tar Pit Offers Curious (and Educational) L.A. Stop

on July 19, 2013

photo of La Brea Tar Pits

When visiting Los Angeles, several things may come to mind: Hollywood, movies, music, traffic… “Tar Pit” may not even be first on your radar.

But if you’ve already seen several of the other hustling and bustling L.A. attractions, or just happen to be in the area near The Page Museum and Tar Pits and looking for something different, it’s worth a look.

The Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits (5801 Wilshire Blvd  Los Angeles, CA) are located right in the heart of the city, near Central L.A., Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

Entrance to the grounds surrounding the tar pits is free, and there is a fee to enter the Page Museum where many of the fossils found are displayed.

While the museum may seem on the smaller side, the tar pits can prove to be fascinating for your inner kid-explorer/paleontologist (or your own kids). The grounds outside also make for a nice walk (see the park map here).

The museum houses many fossils from extinct animals that have been found in the tar pits, right in their own back yard. Everything from wooly-mammoths to saber-tooth cats, living in the area from 11,000 to 50,000 years ago.

Scientists are still actively excavating the area and making new discoveries. More than one million bones have been recovered, from over 230 different species – and fossils of 159 different plants and over 230 invertebrates have also been found.

The grounds around the tar pits sometimes do have a distinctive smell – after all, the tar is like hot asphalt bubbling up to the surface. But where else do you get to see this kind of thing, and displayed so accessibly, right in the middle of the city?

Parking can be a bit of an issue, espeically if there is filming in the area, and no parking in allowed on Wilshire Blvd between 7-9am and 4-7pm. Check the museum’s website for directions and more details.

 Follow @mirabelvega on twitter for more updates from this author.