Day 9 – La Brea Tar Pits

One of the first things we did (besides Disneyland) when we moved to LA was go to the La Brea Tar Pits.

A fun place to explore in downtown LA. La Brea Tar Pits. Learn a little bit about history and archaeology.

This wasn’t actually on our to do list, but our friends were going there and we figured we should too. The La Brea Tar Pits is located in the heart of Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard in Hancock Park.


If you take a look at the history of the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum you have to start in 1913. That is  when George Hancock gave the Los Angeles History Museum the rights to excavate on his property for two years. In those two year thousands of fossils were collected.  Then in 1924 Hancock donated the land to LA County with the stipulation that the area be open as a preservation for the fossils and for the public to see them.


We enjoyed going to the Museum. The boys were able to see a number of different fossils from the ice age era. We also learned a little about excavation and what animals were around years before people showed up. Animals would get stuck in the tar and call for help. Other animals would come to help and get stuck along with predators looking for a meal. It is interesting to excavate the tar pits because you find both victim and predator in the same location. Both would get stuck.


There is a tour that takes you to see tar pits under excavation or in partial excavation around the grounds of the park. This is a fun way to see how the landscape is still alive today and the history still being unearthed.


The highlights of the museum include over one million ice age fossils from 650 species. A fossil lab where fossils are categorized and cleaned. An observation pit with current excavations on going. And a Pleistocene Garden that includes the plants that existed at the time of the prehistoric era.  

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