La Brea Tar Pits: A Park That’s Not the Pits!

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Don’t want to be a stick in the mud? Take a prehistoric pit stop at the La Brea Tar Pits. Discover more than meets the eye as fossils dating back 40,000 years lurk just beneath the surface of the sticky, bubbling tar in Los Angeles. Mini explorers will be fascinated by these incredible Ice Age findings and ongoing active excavations. Dare to dig a little deeper? Head on over to the must-see Page Museum. Mammoth amounts of fun are around every corner!

When to Go: Anytime!

Where: The La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum is located just off of Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave. in the Mid-Wilshire area. The park and museum share a location with its more glamorous neighbor and landmark, LACMA, found between Wilshire Blvd. and 6th St. with a parking lot off of Curson Ave. Street parking is also available on 6th St. where metered, and 2-hour parking is available.

What to Do: Take a time machine trek around the La Brea Tar Pits—one of the world’s most famed active excavation sites. As you meander down the paths, you’ll find lots of activity afoot with kids playing, people picnicking, working out and walking their dogs.

On your walk, you’ll discover a well laid out tour of the multiple tarry pits. Informational signs detailing the historical significance and findings from this prehistoric place are posted throughout. Eventually, you’ll reach the impressively large tar lake which presents a dramatic scene of a life-size Mammoth family stuck in the sticky tar. This was the unfortunate fate for many of the thirsty mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians we find fossilized here today.

Ongoing excavations can also be found along the way. One current site is called Project 23, where volunteers and paleontologists work together to excavate and clean their exciting discoveries. To get the most out of the park make sure you visit the Page Museum where you’ll see actual fossils of giant sloths, vultures, saber-tooth cats, an impressive wall of over 400 dire wolf skulls, battling animatronics and much more! You and your little ones can even test how sticky the tar really is. The museum is a great way to demonstrate the living history of this remarkable ancient area in a way that really sticks.

Where to Eat: There are lots of great options for grabbing a bite to eat. If you want cheap and easy, cross the street on Wilshire Boulevard and choose from one of the many fabulous food trucks for lunch with your bunch. The trucks change daily but you’ll be able to find something for everyone’s taste. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, you can try one of LACMA’s cafes or restaurants. There is also a kid-friendly restaurant The Counter, which serves burgers and shakes and is located on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Curson Avenue.

How to Dress: Chances are the weather is good—it’s L.A. after all! Remember to bring sunscreen, sunglasses and comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking, playing and exploring this scenic and interactive park and its museums. There’s also a great grassy slope to roll down if you’re so inclined, so dress accordingly!

Cost: Walking around the park is free, but if you would like to get the full experience and visit the Page Museum, it’s free on the first Tues. of each month (except Jul. and Aug.).

Any other times, members and children under 3 are free; kids 3-12 it costs $5; youths 13-17 or seniors and college students with I.D. $10; and adults $13.

Hours: Open 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily

Suggestions: Don’t miss great photo opportunities throughout the park. Take a few with your kiddos amongst the giant sloths and the giant bear sculpture who is seemingly offering hugs. Bring the family out (even though it may be past their bedtime) for movies. They start at 8:30 p.m. on Sat. but make sure you check the La Brea Tar Pits website for remaining dates. A family membership to the Natural History Museum, which includes the Page Museum and William S. Hart Museum is a great deal.

5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles
323-934-PAGE (7243)

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—Jessica Jones


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