Visit the only Ice Age fossil site in the world that's being actively excavated in the middle of a city!
What are the Tar Pits?
The Tar Pits have fascinated scientists and visitors for over a century, and today, this area is the only actively excavated Ice Age fossil site found in an urban location in the world! Over the last 50,000 years, Ice Age animals, plants, and insects were trapped in sticky asphalt, which preserved them for us to find today. More than 100 excavations have been made at the Tar Pits since the early 1900s, and most of the fossils discovered here are housed in the museum at La Brea Tar Pits, at the center of the Tar Pits! The discoveries range in size from huge, extinct mammoths and sloths to "microfossils," or tiny remains of plants and animals that give us clues about how ancient ecosystems and climates changed.
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.”
Enjoying Hancock Park
Hancock Park is nestled among the museum and the Tar Pits. It's a fun community resource where boot camp participants meet and train, kids play next to super-sized Ice Age mammals, and Angelenos and tourists stroll and picnic. Walk through the paths that wind around active excavation sites, the iconic Lake Pit with its mammoth and mastodon models, the playground, and the Pleistocene Garden!
Inside the Museum at La Brea Tar Pits
What lies beneath the surface at the world famous La Brea Tar Pits? Step inside the museum to see massive ground sloths, towering mammoths, and snarling saber-toothed cats—some of the most spectacular fossils ever found at the Tar Pits. Watch scientists prepare specimens in the Fossil Lab, and then see these incredible fossils on display in the surrounding galleries.
Titans of the Ice Age 3D Theatre
Journey to a world lost in time, buried in ice, and ruled by giants. In this exciting 3D adventure, narrated by Christopher Plummer, discover an icy world on the brink of extinction, where humans share the frozen tundra with majestic beasts. Encounter some of the Earth’s most awe-inspiring mammals, from saber-toothed cats and dire wolves to giant sloths and the iconic mammoths that lived 10,000 years before modern civilization.
A trip to La Brea Tar Pits is not complete without seeing this 3D movie. Discover how these magnificent creatures lived 10,000–50,000 years before us, became trapped in tar, preserved in time, and are being unearthed today right here at the Tar Pits.
Ice Age Encounters Show
Encounter the Ice Age as 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. Experience this dynamic, 15-minute show featuring a life-size adult saber-toothed cat puppet, a live performance, and film projections that bring the distant past to life. Don't miss this one-of-a-kind, multimedia performance that transports you back in time to come nearly face-to-face with a moving, roaring extinct saber-toothed cat. Performed in an intimate theater setting, this show is great for the whole family and children of all ages.
Educator Package: Includes educational resources, interactive project ideas, trip organization, direct experiential opportunities to help better connect the experience with your students and complimentary chaperone ticket. Does not include student ticket.
Student Package: Includes engaging pre and post educational visit activities, trip organization and student ticket.
La Brea Tar Pits
Once you submit an order for tickets with your charter school, they will reach out to us with your request. You will be receiving your e-tickets and educational materials in an email within 1-2 days after we receive that request. Please make sure to check your email spam folder if you don't see your tickets in your inbox by that time. Submitting your order at least 7-14 days prior to your trip date is generally best unless you are trying to book a venue that requires more advanced planning.