Not To Be Missed

You won’t want to miss these iconic stops on your visit to La Brea Tar Pits. 


lake pit at la brea tar pits

Lake Pit

The iconic Lake Pit, located in front of the museum, is actually a pit left over from asphalt mining operations in the late 1800s. Rain and groundwater has collected above the bubbling asphalt, creating a small lake. The lake’s bubbles, sheet, and distinctive odor come from a deep underground oil field. Here you can see a recreation of a mammoth becoming trapped in “tar.”


join and give footer tar pits pit 91

Live Excavations 

Visit our two live excavation sites and watch as our scientists are making discoveries daily. In the park you can wander by Project 23 to see our excavators at work. Then go into the observation deck of Pit 91 and look down into an actual pit dig. 


kids interacting with tar pull

Tar Pull

Ever wonder what it was like for animals trying to escape from the “tar” in the park? You don’t have to get all gooey or become a part of our collections to experience this. Try your hand at our Tar Pull and see what it was like to be in the seeping asphalt’s deathly grip.


Onlookers watch scientists in the Fossil Lab

Fossil Lab

Peer into the Fossil Lab to watch as our scientists and volunteers are working on the fossils dug up right here from the Tar Pits.  See as they sort through micro fossils and clean up larger bones of animals of the past. Their work is piecing together the story of Ice Age L.A. (10,000 – 50,000 years ago). 


Saber-tooth cat

Saber-toothed Cat

On display in the museum are many amazing animals that once roamed Los Angeles during the Ice Age.  Get close up to the saber-tooth cat or the even larger American lion, an experience that would have been deadly for ancient man 11,000 years ago.


dire wolf wall at the tar pits

Dire Wolf Wall

What’s the most found animal at La Brea Tar Pits? Dire wolves. These pack hunters would come across easy prey stuck in the asphalt only to find themselves falling victim to entrapment. Stand in front of our Dire Wolf Wall that magnificently displays 400 skulls.

Want more? Check out our other suggested itineraries below!