La Brea Tar Pits – Page Museum

Jocelyn Murray October 4, 2010 No Comments

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La Brea Tarpits George C Page MuseumFor an up close and personal encounter with mammoths and saber-toothed cats while in Los Angeles, visit the Page Museum La Brea Tar Pits.  The address is 5801 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, California 90036 and their phone number is (323) 934-7243. A fun and fascinating place, the La Brea Tar Pits is unique in that it is the only place like it known in the world, and houses the largest collection of extinct animals and plants from the last Ice Age 10,000 to 40,000 years ago.  It is small as far as museums go, and perfect for people of all ages, especially captivating the imaginations of children.

La Brea Tarpits - Mammoth Display

Upon arrival to the museum, guests are greeted by life-size reproductions of mammoths at a pond where tar still seeps up from the earth as it did in so many millennia ago. One can travel back in time and see what prehistoric Los Angeles was like some 25,000 years past, when mammoths, dire wolves, saber-toothed cats and giant ground sloths ruled the earth. It was here where the animals became entrapped in the sticky asphalt, their bones perfectly preserved, allowing for over three million fossils to be excavated.

La Brea Tarpits - Creature Trapped in Tar

A 15 minute video – shown at the museum throughout the day – offers an educational glimpse of prehistoric Los Angeles and the geological and climatic conditions that allowed for the animals to become mired in the deadly tar. I have been to this museum countless times with my family since before my children walked and were in strollers, and never tire of the video and exhibits, as they are so well made, capturing our interest and imagination time after time. The museum laboratory is separated by glass windows where guests can observe bones being cleaned and prepared for exhibit.

La Brea Tarpits Fossils on Display

Families with children will find this museum to be perfect, not only in its fascinating subject matter, but in its smaller size and accessibility: one level, open spaces, without any elevators or stairs needed to climb. One can tour the entire museum – including the video – in an hour’s time frame, which is ideal when traveling with younger children. There is a large grassy area just outside the museum for children to run free and expend their seemingly endless supply of energy as well. The grounds are lovely and peaceful, especially in the heart of Los Angeles’s Museum Row.

Be sure to read about our visit to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County!

La Brea Tarpits - Mammoth Fossil Skeleton

La Brea Tarpits - Fossil Display Case

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Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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