Located directly in the middle of the city of Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits have long fascinated people around the world. If you aren’t familiar with the tar pits, here’s a little bit of background.
The tar pits are large fossil quarries in the ground, filled with natural asphalt. This is an important distinction to note; the “pits” aren’t actually filled with tar, but rather thick, gooey asphalt. This sticky underground material has been bubbling up since the last Ice Age and continues to do so even today.
Perhaps the most exciting thing about the La Brea tar pits is what has been found at the site. Over the last 50,000 years, animals, insects, and plants have gotten trapped in the asphalt, which has then preserved their fossils.
Scientists have been excavating the site since the early 20th century and have found about 3 million fossils since then.
There are two current excavations at the moment. The first, known as Project 23, could double the number of fossils recovered at the site. If you’d prefer to take a closer look, you can look down into Pit 91 during your visit to observe the experts at work.
Many different types of animal fossils have been uncovered in the tar pits — even ones that are extinct now. When you visit the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum in Hancock Park, you’ll learn about the mammoths, dire wolves, sloths, saber-toothed cats, and other fascinating animals that once roamed the area. The most common mammals found at the site are dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, and coyotes.
On the smaller side, scientists have also found “microfossils” at the tar pits. These tiny pieces of plants and animals reveal what life was like tens of thousands of years ago when they were captured in the asphalt. With these small fragments, experts can reconstruct the ecological landscape of the world during that era — which could impact how we deal with climate change in the future.
If you’re visiting Los Angeles, the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum is certainly worth checking out. It’s a family-friendly day out that kids and parents will both love. While you’re there, you can watch live excavations, visit the fossil lab, get up close with ancient animal bones, and more. Learn about getting to the tar pits on their website.
Looking for a hotel near the La Brea Tar Pits? Century Park Hotel is located in nearby West Los Angeles and provides boutique accommodation options for business travelers, couples, and families. Our modern rooms and suites allow you to spread out and enjoy your vacation in style.
The hotel is centrally located, with easy access to dozens of popular Southern California visitor destinations. We even offer discounts on popular attractions when you book with us. You deserve to relax during your trip to LA, so let us take care of the details. Learn more about booking your Los Angeles vacation with Century Park Hotel.