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

Live Theater Shows

ice age encounters show tar pits

The team behind the Performing Arts Department at the Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County creates live theatrical performances based on our exhibits, research, and events.

You may know their Dinosaur and Ice Age Encounters shows, but at special museum events you might also catch them singing bug songs, hear a story with squirrel puppets, meet giant jumping flea or butterfly characters in the garden, watch a miniature puppet theater show, or get stopped in your tracks by a saber-toothed cat marionette puppet! 

Museum Theater

Museum theater is the use of theater and theatrical techniques by a museum for educational, informative, and entertainment purposes. It can also be used in a zoo, an aquarium, an art gallery, and at historic sites. It is generally performed by professional actors. Varieties of museum theater include historical characters, puppetry, movement, and music.

The International Museum Theatre Alliance (IMTAL) is the professional association for Museum Theater. 

Nibbles the small Saber-Toothed Cat puppet during Tar Pits Ice Age Encounters Show

Ice Age Encounters

Experience a multimedia performance where we dig into the past to uncover the mysteries of some of the extinct creatures who roamed Ice Age Los Angeles over 10,000 years ago. This dynamic, 15-minute show features a life-size adult Saber-toothed Cat puppet, a live performance and film projections that bring the distant past to life.

sabertooth cat puppet in ice age encounters show tar pits

See an Ice Age Encounter Stage Show!

Fridays , Saturdays, and Sundays

Times and dates subject to change. Please check the calendar or at the admissions desk upon arrival.

Learn more about what to expect at a live Ice Age Encounters show!

Ticket Information

At the door: $6 per person (adults, seniors, students, children ages 3-12)
Online discount: $5 per person (adults, seniors, students, children ages 3-12)
Free for children 2 years and younger
Free for Members

Presentations depict a realistic, prehistoric animal and may be frightening for very young children.  

Please buy tickets in advance; seating is limited.

How the Cat Came to Life

More than 2,500 saber-toothed cats have been excavated from La Brea Tar Pits and studied at its museum. To bring the cat to life, NHM and La Brea Tar Pits staff collaborated with the innovators at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, whose film and TV credits include the Muppets and Where the Wild Things Are. Tar Pits Chief Curator Emeritus Dr. John M. Harris, Collections Manager Emeritus Chris Shaw, and Assistant Lab Supervisor Trevor Valle, as well as NHM Curator of Terrestrial Mammals, Dr. Xiaoming Wang, consulted on the project.


Meet the cool Performing Arts team as they explain how they operate the puppet!