La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Los Angeles

4.5
#3 of 7 in Childrens Museums in Los Angeles
Natural History Museum · Hidden Gem · Science Museum
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At the only active Ice Age excavation site in the world, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, you can see ancient fossils that have been discovered below the museum itself, right in the heart of Los Angeles. Plants and animals, like dire wolves, mammoths, and saber-tooth cats, are on display. You can also witness paleontologists at work in the Fossil Lab. While the height of excavation at Rancho La Brea occurred in the early 20th century, scientists are still uncovering more fossils at this site, and the museum continues to grow and educate the public on its discoveries and methods. A visit to La Brea Tar Pits and Museum represents just the start of the adventure when you use our Los Angeles route planner to plot your vacation.
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La Brea Tar Pits and Museum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
3,191 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • The pits are outside in the park and are free. Going inside the museum, you see the bones and fossils. 
    The pits are outside in the park and are free. Going inside the museum, you see the bones and fossils.  more »
  • We tried to visit here on Sunday around noon. We did not have proof of vaccination so we were turned away. It would be nice to know these things in advance we would not have wasted our time driving a....  more
    We tried to visit here on Sunday around noon. We did not have proof of vaccination so we were turned away. It would be nice to know these things in advance we would not have wasted our time driving a....  more »
  • This is really only a 1-1.5 hour thing but very cool if you know what to expect. $15 and great parking if you get there early. First of all - no dinosaurs. I guess people want dinosaur bones and... 
    This is really only a 1-1.5 hour thing but very cool if you know what to expect. $15 and great parking if you get there early. First of all - no dinosaurs. I guess people want dinosaur bones and...  more »
Google
  • My nephew had a ton of fun reading all the information that was available on all the displays. Loved everything that was being exhibited. Had tons of fun exploring outside and finding all the tar coming up from the grounds. Absolutely loved the garden. He learned a lot and loved seeing people working on cleaning up new found bones. It was quite impressive, even for us adults. We will definitely go back again.
  • Nice museum. Grandson liked it, granddaughter not so much. Depends what they're into. Very limited parking, arrive early (or later when the early people have left). Excavation sites outside not terribly exciting (to me). Buy tickets outside just as you leave the parking lot, much shorter line than inside the museum. They have a really nice interactive display of pistons stuck in tar. You pull on them to get a sense of how hard it was for animals to try to get out of the tar.
  • I have visited numerous museums all over the world. La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is absolutely fascinating. Ice age fossil site and more! Besides the museum, make sure to explore the grounds and check out the pits. Watching the viscous asphalt (not tar) goo bubbling to the surface is an extraordinary experience. Not only the the Ice Age animals but they have plants of the Ice Age displayed as well. There are still some active excavation sites. Also, make sure to spend some time at the Hancock Park.
  • I love this place. It's affordable (especially if you go with a friend who lives locally), the exhibits are a fun mix of old school and modern , and it's the only museum I know of where you can watch grad students clean mammoth knuckles. The wall of dire wolf skulls is particularly imposing. And hey, when you're done you can go play with the tar coming out of the lawn outside!
  • La Brea Tar Pits and Museum is always a nice place to visit with kids. Although the museum is somewhat small, the pits around it offer an alternative to the indoor experience where you can witness first-hand how they recover bones from animals trapped in tar for thousands of years. On the not-so-pleasant side, the tar and methane smell is always present outside, but in my opinion is negligible. Efficiently planning the day, one can visit up to three museums in the area in a single day, and still have plenty of time to enjoy the sunset at Santa Monica.

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