%

Kid Rating

Cost:

Adults $12
Children (3-12) $5
Kids Under 3 FREE

The La Brea Tar Pits

The La Brea Tar Pits (or asphalt puddles if we’re being technical), are awesome. An active excavation site in the summer, a beautiful park year-round, and a fascinating museum all-in-one. It’s definitely a LA must-see for young kids.

Our Experience

We spent equal time in the park and the museum. The grounds (though covered in sporadic spurts of tar and whiffs of sulfur) are quite beautiful. The boys ran around looking for trapped pigeons and poking sticks in tar-bubbles. The Page Museum is buried under a steep grassy incline, which is fabulous for rolling down. Fortunately we saved that for last because they boys were itching so bad they cried all the way home.

We had bought tickets for the live-encounter. I wanted a good seat, so we lined up really early; but the small auditorium was stadium seating only three rows deep. No need to worry or rush. The presentation is informational, and of course the highlight is the massive saber-tooth cat walking around. It walked back and forth a lot, roared a few times, but it’s cool.

The museum itself is just the right size. Not large enough for kids to get lost or overwhelmed, but not so quaint that you’re done in five minutes. Lots of black bones artistically displayed and a couple of animatronics. They have an onsite lab where you can watch the paleontologists cleaning and categorizing bones. They have a mammoth skull they’re working on. If the digs are open, you can view them excavating outside. For an additional cost there is also an Excavation Tour.

 

Extra Cost

There are live shows for an additional cost. The live-encounter features a saber-tooth romping back and forth…which is cool for a few extra bucks. A couple of tiny tots didn’t survive the brief show. Try to judge whether or not your little kids are going enjoy being in a very dark room with a very large cat.

Season Dig Sites

The excavation sites are only operation in the summer months (when the tar is “easier” to work with). So you may or may-not be able to see a dig site when visiting. You can always call ahead.

Other Museums

There are a few other museums close at hand (LACMA and Japanese-American Museum and a couple other small ones) if you want to hit a series of places after the tar pits and make a full day of it.

Traffic

The La Brea Tar Pits are located in the heart of Los Angeles. Plan for traffic accordingly. Parking is a $12 flat fee.

Grass

Rolling down the grass hill is fun…but the grass is really, really itchy afterwards.

Watch Your Step

The tar doesn’t just stay in the pits. It seeps up from anywhere, so watch your step while playing in the park.