When I mentioned I was going to LA I asked my older sister who use to live around California what I should do. The first thing she said was visit the Tar Pits. I hadn’t realized Tar Pits were still a thing, let alone that there were any stateside, so after my lunch at 25° I hopped on the bus and headed down towards the Tar Pits. If you’re a resident (after a certain time) entrance to the museum is free, and if you’re not a resident (after a certain time) you can get in for a discount which was really nice. I was a bit early for the discount so I wandered around looking at the still active but fenced in tar pits. It smelled strongly of asphalt so everything was reminding me of childhood playgrounds.
The tar pits are free and outside the museum. Just wander around the grounds and you’ll find them bubbling.
There is a booth outside the museum where you can buy tickets with a credit card, they also have a map of the area, which also houses the art museum, so be careful you don’t end up there. I kept circling around and ending up at the art museum rather than the tar pit museum.
There is also a tar pit that is undergoing excavation which is super cool to see. They’re finding all sorts of fossils as they go, over a million bones were found in the 1900’s. (Apparently asphalt/tar is a great preserver of bones). The bone and things found in the tar pits can originate all the way back to the ice age. And in the museum you can watch some of the scientists at work as well as learn so much more.
Tickets when you’re not there close to closing time are $15 just for the museum. They also offer two movie experiences (which change admission to $20-$25) and there are a couple of tours available depending on your time and interest. The museum in general is quite small and I was able to go through it pretty quickly on my own with my half hour before they closed.
It’s also pretty kid friendly, with various different activities for kids to do.
But beyond mammoths I think my favorite example of just how many fossils they get is the wall of dire wolf skulls.
That’s a lot of skulls to have been found fossilized in the area! And to know that the tar pits are still active is fascinating. So if you have time, are traveling with family or just want to see something new I highly suggest popping down to the LA Brea Tar Pits. If you want your kids to learn more then visit their for teachers section of their website which is fully prepped with before visiting information for kids.