The La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum are located along the “Museum Row” section of Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. The Tar Pits contain one of the most comprehensive collections of Ice Age fossils in the world. The Tar Pits were first discovered by thousands of unfortunate animals including giant sloths, short-faced bears, saber-toothed cats, mammoths, dire wolves, camels, bison, and wild horses. The Page Museum, located next to the tar pits, provides the opportunity see the full diversity of animals that have lost their lives in the pits.
The first initial (unfortunate) human discovery of the pits was approximately 10,000 years ago. Her remains constitute the only human remains that have been discovered so far. In addition to bone specimens, the museum contains short films describing the history of the area and the pits, an old animatronic sloth and sabertooth exhibit, an outdoor atrium (with turtles(!)), and an interactive “experience how difficult it is to pull something out of the tar” exhibit. The museum contains a fishbowl view of real-life palentologists restoring bones. You can find an old picture of the fishbowl nearby, where you can reflect on a time when the palentologists used to be much older (without tatoos and piercings), and were able to maintain a cleaner work bench.
The Museum opened in the 70’s and has not substantially changed since then. That means that your visit to the Page Museum wouldn’t be too different from your Grandmothers visit decades ago. I don’t know about you, that sort of gives me a heartwarming feeling.
Researchers will continue to discover new remains within the existing pits, and in new pits that are revealed by nearby developments. It will be interesting to see what else they find. Who knows, maybe someday they will find a second human in there.
Admission is free on the first Tuesday of the month (except July and August). The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is a short walking distance away, so you might consider just seeing (and smelling) the tar (which is free) and skipping the Museum (which is not free). The Peterson Automotive Museum is also a short walking distance away.
Address: 5801 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036
Cost: $9 (the Parking lot behind the museum, $2 validation brings it to $7), tickets are $11 (discounted for students, school teachers, children, and seniors).