Many a saber-toothed tiger, dire wolf, mammoth, and ground sloth had the misfortune of “discovering” the La Brea Tar Pits some 40,000 years ago. Excavation on the ice age fossil site—formerly the city’s natural history museum—began in 1915 and continues to this day right in the heart of Los Angeles.
General admission to the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum includes access to the Fossil Lab, Lake Pit, Observation Pit, Project 23, and museum areas, where you can watch scientists at work pulling fossils from the pits and studying them in a lab setting.
Admission to the Titans of the Ice Age 3D experience and multimedia Ice Age Encounter are separate. Many sightseeing tours of LA and a multi-attraction discount card include a visit to the tar pits.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The La Brea Tar Pits are a must-visit for history buffs and families traveling with kids.
- All exhibits within the museum are wheelchair accessible, and wheelchairs are available to rent.
- Don’t forget to bring sun protection, as some areas of the museum are outdoors.
How to Get There
The easiest way to reach the museum is by car; park in the paid lot or along the street (be sure to read parking signs carefully). The tar pits are a stop on the Red Line of the Los Angeles hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus.
When to Get There
The museum and pits are open daily throughout the year, with free admission on the first Tuesday of every month, except July and August. Try to visit from March to May or September to November when temperatures are comfortable and crowds thinner.
Fossils of Rancho La Brea
Since excavations of the tar pits began, more than a million bones have been recovered, including fossils from a coyote dating back 46,800 years. The fossils recovered to date represent more than 231 species of vertebrates, 234 species of invertebrates, and 234 species of plants. Dire wolves, saber-toothed cats, and coyotes are the three most common animals that have been found in the pits.