Giant saber-toothed tigers, dire wolves and wooly mammoths right in the heart of downtown Los Angeles. The La Brea Tar Pits and Museum are really a “lost in time” attraction in two senses. You’ll see Ice Age fossils and life size replicas of prehistoric beasts, ongoing research you can watch—as paleontologists work on fossils for all to see—and plenty to enthrall dinosaur lovers and history buffs of any age.

There is also something very low-tech and appealing about the place. In the midst of glitzy L.A., where everything seems to be on overdrive, this sleepy spot has drawn parents and kids for decades.

My husband grew up a few blocks away and often speaks fondly of his visits in the ’70s and ’80s. He has been threatening to make a visit with our boys for years. Although they are way beyond their dinosaur obsession days, my twelve-year-old was enchanted and engaged by the exhibits and the tour. Who doesn’t love some dinosaur history?!

I found the kitschy, slightly dingy quality of the place completely endearing and, inside the museum there was just enough to keep us all occupied with lots to see, read and touch.

There is a big 3D movie theatre (tickets are extra) currently playing Titans of the Ice Age. We took the tour of the grounds and gathered around giant bubbling pits where the beasts were trapped so many thousands of years ago. We had plenty of time for snacks and rolling down this hill. Which was perfectly sculpted for just that activity!

The Tar Pits and Museum are open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., every day but New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas, and lo and behold, street parking was easy. Admission is pretty reasonable and the whole shebang can be done in just a few hours.

Filed Under California, Family Travel, Museum, Southern California, Urban Parks


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