Family Travel: Los Angeles – La Brea Tar Pits
Did you know that sitting right in the heart of LA is one of the world’s most famous archeological dig sites providing a unique look into what life was like during the ice age?
The La Brea Tar Pits were discovered in 1875 when a man called William Denton visited the area and found the tooth of a saber-toothed cat here. This was the first known recording of a fossil found in this area and was enough to gain the attention of archeologists everywhere who began excavating the site in 1900.
Those excavations continue on today as they keep finding the bones of incredible ice age creatures and plants, each telling it’s own unique tale of what life was like here 40,000+ years ago.
My son had been itching to visit, and I must say, I was intrigued too! So recently we went!
Our Family Day at La Brea Tar Pits
Where are La Brea Tar Pits located?
On Wiltshire Blvd in LA and are very easy to get too from the freeway. It took us about an hour and fifteen minutes to get there. Parking is $12 and the lot felt very safe and secure.
Do I need tickets for La Brea Tar Pits?
We arrived around 10am, got parked and got in the small line to get our tickets. The lot is next to this pretty field and there are several kiosks around to get tickets from. It is free to walk around the premises, but if you want to go into the museum or see any of the cool features, you must purchase reasonably priced tickets – you can get yours ahead of time here also.
We passed by the Lake Pit on our way in and were amazed by it. There was a lot to take in and it was fun talking with the kids about what it was like 40,000 years ago right where we were standing. I asked the kids to identify the differences between then and now and had fun listening to all of the things they noticed that would not have been around 40,000 years ago… Minecraft and video games were high on that list, along with surf boards (I love how my kids think sometimes!) – lol!
We had payed our admission and entered the museum next, which is also where the 3d movie Titans of the Ice Age plays, the fossil lab is located here, the excavator tour begins here and the Ice Age Encounters Show is here.
We started off with a walk through the gorgeous atrium filled with plants and ponds. This was fun to walk through and provided plenty of photo ops.
On the other side is the fossil lab where you get to watch the scientists dig through bits brought up to find bones and artifacts. It was really fun to watch them for a few minutes and to be able to see on a big screen what they were seeing through the microscope.
The Excavator Tour begins right outside the fossil lab and we made it just in time! Our tour guide was very knowledgeable, patient with the kids and answered every question as we proceeded to walk around the entire property and see every tar pit. The observatory, built in the 50’s, was well preserved and very interesting for all 3 of us to check out –
It was a good deal of walking so you will want to make sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Also I would bring a sweater as it can get chilly walking around and in the Observatory. It took about 45 minutes in total and then another 10 to get back to the museum.
Next we saw The Titans of Ice Age movie and really enjoyed it. It lasted about 20 minutes and the animals popped right off the screen and we all learned quite a bit.
When it was over, we walked around the museum, having fun at some of the interactive exhibits before it was time see the Ice Age Encounters Show. This show was really a lot of fun. I won’t spoil it for you, but do not miss this attraction when you visit La Brea Tar Pits, your kids will love it!!
After all of this, we were a bit hungry so we wandered over to the café for a late lunch, had one more walk around and then called it a day and headed home.
We had a blast. Not only did we have a few laughs together, but we learned together and we strengthened our teamworking skills by working together to make it on time to every attraction.
The exciting news is that you can do this too – for free!! This Sunday, January 29, 2017 SoCalMuseums.org is having a Free-For-All day offering free admission to everyone on a first come first serve basis up to their maximum capacity. Parking fees may still apply, so you will want to check each participating museum’s website, but admission to all LA museums on this list are free!!
So take advantage of this and go have a fun adventure into the Ice Age or into the mind of an artist with your family! It will be something you remember forever!
Cheers and safe travels!
Malibu Mama Loves Xx