The urban and development history of Los Angeles may go back only over 150 years, however its geologic story stretches back millenniums and in the heart of the cities’ Miracle Mile District lies the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits that tell the amazing secrets of life that once lived and roamed the very grounds of LA hundreds of thousands of years ago. Due to millions of years of earthquakes and geologic forces this area of Los Angeles was built on swamps of tar. However before this human development, LA was once a lush wetlands where thousands of animals that are now extinct became trapped, died and were perfectly preserved only to be found and put on display at the La Brea Tar Pits.
It’s a surreal experience to visit the La Brea Tar Pits. True history buffs and amateur archeologists alike are in awe at such well documented history that goes back long before even the first man walked the earth. Visitors entering will be greeted out front by a replica of the Woolly Mammoth, a gigantic hairy cousin to the elephant that roamed North America (and today’s Los Angeles basin) over 100,000 years ago. In addition to the replica outside there is one inside as well.
The Woolly Mammoth maybe the most visual animal hosted at the museum however upon entering visitors are exposed to very intact skeletons and replicas of dozens of extinct animals from LA’s past including saber-tooth cats, dire wolves (definitely check out the wall where over 100 preserved skulls are anchored), various insects and more.
The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits plays a ten minute long movie that cycles throughout the day explaining in detail the geologic history of Los Angeles and the conditions that gave way for the tar pits to form and why the animals became trapped and thus preserved. In addition there are various exhibits that map what life was like in Southern California at the time (it wasn’t sunny and warm like today’s client but cool and wet with hundreds of lakes).
One of the coolest aspects of the Page Museum at the Tar Pits is that there is ongoing excavation to this day of creatures that became stuck there. Visitors can peer through a glass window into a room where archeologists in white coats dust off, examine and label their latest finds.
The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits is located on Los Angeles’ “Museum Row” district and is next door to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Visitors can get there by taking a bus that runs along Wilshire from the ocean, through Beverly Hills and past the museum or hopping off the two Grey Line Tour Bus that rotates through the area from Hollywood.