Places to Visit »La Brea Tar Pits

la brea tar pitsBy far and away, one of the best experiences of my trip to Los Angeles was The La Brea Tar Pits, but in a way it was also the saddest. My camera died on me right after taking this photo of a huge mama mammoth stuck in tar yelling for her baby on the museum grounds. It's prompted me to always carry a second battery with me, which is good, but I don't have any awesome photos of the inside of the museum, which is bad.

Of course, you can find almost anything online and others have documented the amazing hybrid of curious historical and archaeological discoveries, part Museum of Natural History part Chuck E Cheese. As you probably know, I love animatronics and the museum has a couple of the greatest I have ever seen on display. One is a very slow moving mammoth you occasionally raised his head to bellow and the other is a remarkable, fascinatingly slow fighting saber tooth tiger and giant sloth.

But the animatronics aren't the only thing that made me happy. There are exhibits that show the skeleton of a saber tooth then magically the animal as it looked alive.?The same mirror technology is used in the Jekyll and Hyde exhibit at a cheapie horror wax museum in Lake George.

There is also the wall of skulls, that must be seen in person, numerous fantastic murals with life size models of prehistoric animals, a gift shop that has a La Brea shot glass, and an actual working team of archaeologists (sometimes on display) who are still working on the fossils the pits have preserved.

Outside little pockets of tar still bubble up from the ground, and in typical weirdo California style, a typical weirdo Californian – specifically a man dressed as a cowboy who sings songs will be happy to point out these spots to you.

I really love the La Brea Tar Pits and more people should put it on their Los Angeles agendas.

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Posted on August 18, 2008

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