I don’t know if we’ll be living in California for 1 more year, or maybe 3, but I do know our time is limited and we want to see as much of this part of the country as we can while we’re here. The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum are a fascinating stop right in the city of Los Angeles. A slice of ancient history surrounded by miles concrete and sprawl.
Arriving through the gate, we saw a fenced off black bubbling tar pit with a life sized wooly mammoth family in sculpture. The tar pits are actually extremely sticky natural asphalt, and during the ice age large mammals would get caught in them while roaming the plains. Their cries as they tried to free themselves would attract predators, who would then also get stuck. The result is a pile of a multitude of well preserved bones from several species just waiting for archaeologists to discover.
There was quite a long line to get into the museum, but fortunately it was a pleasant day and the kids climbed trees and rolled down the grassy hills while we waited. Museum employees walked up and down the line showing off saber tooth tiger skulls and a local banjo player provided background tunes.
It’s actually an ongoing excavation site and they are uncovering hoards of ice age creatures. Many of the skeletons have been re assembled and are featured in the museum. Wooly mammoths, saber tooth tigers, and giant sloths are just a few of the amazing species on display.
They had educators scattered throughout answering questions, and a fun live show illustrating the history of the tar pits and featuring an animatronic saber tooth tiger. We really enjoyed this little slice of history in the middle of the city.