La Brea Tar Pits
||Los Angeles, CA|
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The La Brea Tarpits are a fun place to visit. In this strange area, oil bubbles to the surface. You can see it all over in little puddles in the grass! Kids will love poking sticks in it- and you'll love getting it off their hands (make sure you have some baby oil and terry towel rags in the car to clean it off with!) In ancient times, saber-toothed tigers, mammoths, and other exotic animals were fossilized here when they became stuck in the extremely sticky oil. You can see the bones of these animals assembled into lifelike forms at the George C. Page Museum, which is an attractive, modern museum.
When your family first walks on the roof of the museum to get to the entrance, your kids will already start having fun because it looks like they will fall off the edge (in reality there is a steep lawn on the other side that you can't initially see). Kids will also have a blast rolling down the steep lawn.
Inside, it's impossible not to be fascinated with the wonderful animal reconstructions. A huge woolly mammoth skeleton looms above you! A whole wall of dire wolf skulls stretches out before you. Giant ground sloths hunch over you. Bison and mastodons appear frozen in time.
An exhibit lets kids pull on metal pipes stuck in the oil so that they can feel just how easily huge strong animals would have become stuck in it. Another exhibit shows a timeline of mankind. A theater plays a short, goofy movie about the tarpits every half-hour or so.
Outside in Hancock Park, in a lake of oil, sculptures of struggling animals show just what it must have looked like when animals were stuck in the oil. It really brings the ancient events to life.
Paleontologists still work here, mostly in the summer, and if you're lucky, one of the digs will be open for the public to enter outside in Hancock Park- listen for an announcement while you're inside the museum. Behind glass inside the museum, you can watch paleontologists cleaning tar off new finds and classifying them- you have to feel sorry for the workers being on display all day long!
Come here on the weekend, because during the week you probably won't even make it here because the traffic is so horrendous.
If you're hungry, there are several restaurants in a building across from the museum on Curson Avenue. I really recommend the Marie Callender's there- it's one of the original ones and the menu is different to the generic chain restaurant menu of other Marie Callender's. It is way yummier! Try the turkey sandwich on focaccia bread- it is so good!
More Places to Visit
After your visit, head over to Santa Monica Beach and Pier - it's a gorgeous spot with all the best Southern California has to offer- the beach, long walks at Palisades Park, shopping plaza at 3rd Street Promenade, and the carnival rides and carousel on the pier.
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5801 Wilshire Blvd, call (323) 934-7243.
There is a lot of traffic around this area. I would only recommend coming here on the weekend, when driving in LA is almost bearable.
Exit the Santa Monica 10 Freeway heading east at Fairfax Ave and turn left on Fairfax Ave and travel along it for a while. Turn right on Wilshire Blvd, and left on Curson Ave. Turn left into the parking lot for the museum.
Exit the 10 Freeway westbound at La Brea Avenue. Head north on La Brea Avenue. Turn left on Wilshire Boulevard and drive 10 blocks. Turn right on Curson Avenue. The parking lot is on the left at the end of the block.
Directions from other freeways can be found here.
Parking costs $7 with validation. You can park on 6th Street along the road for free. Parking at Marie Callender's Restaurant is $3 for 3 hours if you get it validated at the restaurant.
Entry to the museum is $7 for adults, $4.50 for seniors and teens, $2 for kids, children under 5 are free. Admission is free the first Tuesday of the month.
Open daily 9:30am-5pm. Closed Independence day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Day.
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating:
|gratifying day! highly recommend!|