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L is for La Brea Tar Pits: A Free to See #AtoZChallenge Post


Statues of two mammoths watching another one stuck in the tar pit
I'm living in southern California this year, and decided to use my exploration of the area as my focus for the #AtoZChallenge. I'm concentrating on free to see places, though I will include locations that require a parking fee. This is the twelfth post in the series. 

Though the museum at La Brea Tar Pits typically charges an admission fee (there are some free days, so check their website if you are planning a visit), the outside area is free to visit and, depending on the age and interests of your children, the outside areas might be the favorite parts anyway. I recently went to La Brea Tar Pits (and Museum) with my grandchildren on a free admission day, and we ending up spending more time outside than in, and since the outside area is the only always-free area, that is what this post will focus on.

La Brea Tar Pits fascinates me. It's smack dab in Los Angeles, with high rise buildings all around. The tar pits take you back in time, well before the city existed. 

If you haven't made a reservation to park in the (paid) parking lot behind the museum, you can pay to park in a parking garage across the street.  

While the display featured in the above photo is certainly eye-catching, there are also other areas to the side of the museum that are interesting. 

A fence and signs surround Project 23, named for the 23 crates of artifacts recovered from the tar pits

For example, Project 23, named for the 23 crates of artifacts recovered from the tar pits, is seen behind a wire fence, and sometimes you will also see paleontologists at work.

Paleontologists dig through the mud

Other fenced-in areas cordon off tar that is coming up from the ground, and signs explain what has been found in that particular area. 

A sign in front of a fenced-off area explains how predators got trapped in the tar pits

In a case similar to a baby playing with the box instead of the gift inside, my grandchildren spent most of our time playing at the amphitheater. I'm OK with that, though. Children need time to explore at their own pace, and if what they want to focus on is climbing up and down stairs, with just a perfunctory glance at dead things in tar pits, that's fine with me. I do recommend a visit to the La Brea Tar Pits; they even have an amphitheater! 😉


  1. Kids love what they love. I'm glad you got to see the dead things in tar pits anyway.


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