Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC) | La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC)

La Brea Tar Pits (Hancock Park / Mid-Wilshire)

The asphalt seeps at La Brea Tar Pits are the only consistently-active and urban Ice Age excavation site in the world. This makes the site a unique, accessible window into science—where fossils are discovered, prepared, researched, and displayed in one place. Outside, visitors can watch as the remains of plants and animals living over the last 50,000 years are unearthed in real time. Inside the museum, scientists and volunteers clean, repair, and identify those very fossils. The best specimens are displayed and available for research: extraordinary saber-toothed cats, giant sloths, dire wolves, mammoths, and mastodons. But the small fossils are important too. Microscopic plants, insects, and reptiles tells us a lot about the changing ecosystems in which they lived, and we use those insights to investigate climate change today.

5801 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90036. Open seven days a week from 9:30 am to 5 pm; $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and $7 for children ages 3-12. Admission is free for California educators, children under three, and Museum members. Visit the La Brea Tar Pits Museum’s website at or call (323) 934-PAGE.

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Exposition Park)

The Natural History Museum (NHM) occupies a special place in Los Angeles: It is L.A.’s oldest museum building, and the present-day anchor of an emerging cultural, educational, and entertainment hub in Exposition Park. NHM visitors are awed by extraordinary specimens and the stories behind them in exhibitions such as Age of Mammals, the Dinosaur Hall, the Gem and Mineral Hall, and beloved dioramas. But in addition to sharing the history of the planet, NHM also explores a more local transformation: Becoming Los Angeles, the outdoor Nature Gardens, and the Nature Lab look at how environment and people, past and present, interact in L.A. The unifying theme in these indoor and outdoor experiences is the interplay of nature and culture, in Los Angeles and the world.    

900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90007. Open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and $7 for children ages 5-12. Admission is free for California educators, children under 5, and Museum members. Visit the Natural History Museum’s website at or call (213) 763-DINO.

William S. Hart Museum (Newhall, California)

A Hollywood legend. A cowboy. William S. Hart may have starred in 1920s silent films, but his lifestyle was anything but quiet—exemplified by his eclectic 22-room mansion and ranch on a 166-acre park. At the William S. Hart Museum, visitors are invited to step into Hart’s wild, wonderful world, exploring his home and belongings (dog bedroom included), greeting a herd of wild bison donated by Walt Disney, or hiking through the wildflowers of Hart Park.

24151 Newhall Avenue, Newhall, CA, 91321. From Labor Day to mid-June: open for guided tours Wednesday through Friday, 10 am. to 1 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm. In the summer: open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 am to 4 pm. Admission is free. Visit the Hart Museum's website at or call (661) 254-4584.


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Volunteer in the Fossil Lab

Learn how to prepare asphalt-preserved fossils and help excavate at Project 23.

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