La Brea Tar Pits museum will remain closed until further notice. The park at La Brea Tar Pits is currently open and visitors can currently see paleontologists working at our excavation site weekly.  See NHMLAC's response to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Giants of the Ice Age

Discover some of the magnificent beasts that we’ve excavated right here at La Brea Tar Pits. Long before the 405, sky scrapers, and the Hollywood sign, mammoths, saber-tooth cats, dire wolves, giant sloths, and more roamed Ice Age Los Angeles. 

 

adventures in nature kids in front of giant ground sloth exhibit la brea tar pits

Giant Ground Sloths

Giant ground sloths roamed Ice Age L.A. from nearly 100,000 to 11,000 years ago. Three different types of sloths have been found right here at the Tar Pits, one of which is Harlan’s Ground Sloth. Weighing up to 3,000 pounds, it is the largest and most common one.

Check out our sloth statues in the park to see what these creatures might have looked like roaming around during the Ice Age. Then go inside the museum to see skeletons of the different types of giant ground sloths and even touch a sloth bone. 

 

Tar Pits Experience

Mammoth Discoveries 

The largest mammals discovered here were the enormous Columbian mammoths. They are very distinctive by their size and their signature curved, long tusks. One of our major finds has been “Zed” a near-complete adult Columbian mammoth. 

Visit our excavation site, Project 23, where “Zed” was found, and see what our excavators are digging up today. See statues of Columbian Mammoths getting stuck in “tar” out in our Lake Pit. Inside the museum you can find “Zed’s” fossils in different places. The museum is experiencing a takeover of Mammoths and Mastodons, where throughout you can learn more about these magnificent beasts through interactives, skeletons, and reconstructions.

 

smilodon skeleton inside tar pits interior

Ferocious Feline 

Saber-toothed cats were nimble hunters with their signature extra-long fangs. See skeletons of saber-tooth cats in the museum and fossils in the Fossil Lab. Experience our Ice Age Encounters show with a life-sized saber-toothed cat puppet. 

 

dire wolf wall at the tar pits

Dire Wolves

These infamous pack hunters actually existed during the Ice Age. They are actually the most commonly found mammal dug up at the Tar Pits. Inside the museum get up close to skeletons of a wolf pack. You won’t want to miss standing in front of our Dire Wolf Wall that magnificently displays 400 skulls.

Want more? Check out our other suggested itineraries below!