On Wednesday, December 11, La Brea Tar Pits will be closing at 3pm for a special event. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Through the Looking Glass

We are preparing right now to plant sturdy contraptions around La Brea Tar Pits, and soon they will blossom into portals to the Ice Age.

Kid looking through AR viewing tool
ar image of mammoth
AR image of mammoth

We are preparing right now to plant sturdy contraptions around La Brea Tar Pits, and soon they will blossom into portals to the Ice Age. With the support of a highly competitive grant from the National Science Foundation, the museum has partnered with Perceptoscope founder Ben Sax, whose new type of augmented reality viewing kiosks (they may remind visitors of the coin-operated binocular viewers found in national parks) offer interactive, immersive media experiences to visitors of all ages.

We’re just starting to imagine what wonders visitors will experience. They could possibly see 3D video animations of mammoths or optical illusions of saber-toothed cats that planted their paws in the L.A. region more than 10,000 years ago. They may get an up-close view of recent discoveries by museum scientists. The technology allows Sax to combine the digital scans of important fossil finds and use the device’s prisms and lenses to bring them to life, so you can peer into the Perceptoscope and marvel at a fossil uncovered recently from a pit just a few yards away. The Ice Age journey then continues inside the museum where visitors can learn more about the research happening in the Fossil Lab. “The Tar Pits are one of the most beloved public spaces in all of the city,” says Sax. “They also have a real story to tell.”

Keep your eye out for AR at La Brea Tar Pits!