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).

Touring the Tar Pits From Home

Take a field trip through evolving Ice Age history at La Brea Tar Pits.

La Brea Tar Pits and Hancock Park

Get Stuck In the Tar Pits

Make no bones about it, La Brea Tar Pits is integral to the history of Los Angeles. Asphalt mined from the Tar Pits was used to pave L.A.’s streets, and excavations have been underway for more than one hundred years. Researchers are still uncovering L.A.’s ancient history, and bringing that exciting past better into focus with each new discovery. Now you can visit this world famous historic research site without worrying about L.A.’s historic traffic with our first-ever virtual field trip.

volunteer tar pits man holding skull
The Tar Pits bring the Ice Age to life.

Megafauna and Microfossils

Researchers at the Tar Pits continue to unearth natural history, and our virtual tour will take you to three of its excavation sites: the Lake Pit, Pit 91 and Project 23. Each site helps tell the evolving story of paleontology. Awe inspiring skeletons of mammoths, giant sloths and saber tooth cats leap to mind when we think of the Tar Pits, and naturally so. Few other museums are able to bring these incredible ‘locals’ to life. But what about the dirt inside and around the bones?

Harlans Ground Sloth
Harlans Ground Sloth, one of the megafauna the Tar Pits are famous for

 

an assortment of microfossils and debris from la brea tar pits
Microfossils offer a different view of the Ice Age.

Tar Pits researchers discovered it was filled with microfossils like insect legs, fish scales, and tiny pieces of extinct plants. Studying these microfossils helps tell the broader story of L.A.’s Ice Age environment, helping scientists better understand things like climate change now. Over the course of its history, paleontologists at the Tar Pits have adapted their practices and learned new techniques. With this new virtual field trip, we’re inviting everyone to join in the innovation and explore our evolving La Brea Tar Pits.