Many of you have probably visited Los Angeles BUT have you ever visited the La Brea Tar Pits? Over the weekend I visited this famous place of natural history as well as the Page Museum, the hub for all the interesting fossils excavated from the pits. The tar pits are scattered throughout the park; the main one being Pit 91 which seems to constantly unveil remains of species that have long been extinct. It’s interesting to note that the tar pits only contain the remains of mammals because dinosaurs were extinct millions of years prior to the tar pits — the tar pits are made from the carbon remains of the dinosaurs.
Walking throughout the park, you encounter a variety of pits that have sprung up from the ground and the smell of tar lingers everywhere. It takes a bit to get used to the smell but it doesn’t pose much of a bother. New tar pits seem to spring up every now and then, and park maintenance makes visitors aware of these by placing either fencing or cones around the areas. The first pit I encountered was the one with the life-size replicas of mammoths re-enacting scenes of being tapped in the pit. I then proceeded to pit 91, which was first excavated in 1915 and continues to produce fossils providing us with links to the past.
The Page Museum is located right next to the tar pits and educates visitors about various species that once roamed the terrain. Entrance into the museum is half off for students with a valid ID, costing approximately $4.50. Numerous fossils discovered in the tar pits are displayed in interesting ways; some are shown as collections encased in the walls, while others are shown as elaborate recreations of species in suspended animation. It is a wonder that so many have been discovered in such a small area which leads us to imagine the eras that have come and gone.
This was a very informative trip and I came away humbled by the time I have spent in this world. Millions of years have passed and humans have only existed as a blink of an eye compared to the length of time since life began. I encourage you to make a trip to the La Brea Tar Pits and Page Museum if you ever have the chance to. The tar pits that were once thick with black tar are now more watery and covered with a thin film of oil. Much has changed since their first discovery and much still remains to be left to be unearthed.
To see all the pics from this visit, check out my flickr album: La Brea Tar Pits – Page Museum