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Friday, January 20, 2012

La Brea Tar Pits: the Happiest Place on Earth!

It may be hard to believe, but I was a rather odd child growing up. Instead of going to amusement parks and vapid moving-picture shows, I was taken by my father to museums. One of my favorites was the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. I still love that place and look fondly back on those wondrous and mystical outings. I remember the shine of the sun reflecting off of the tar, the plucky bubbles constantly forming on the black surface water, the fiberglass mammoth sinking to its artistically-rendered death as its mate and baby watch from the shore. Ah, the fond memories of childhood! I used to wish that all of Los Angeles could be a vast Pleistocene plane dotted with gleaming pits of tar. Actually, that is still my wish.

For those of you wishing to experience joy and excitement for yourselves, I suggest you pay Rancho de la Brea a visit. The park is nice, but the tar pits are nicer! Pit 91 is especially interesting as it is the only one being actively excavated. It’s basically a treasure trove of awesome. Occasionally, new bubbles of tar will emerge from under the parking lot or lawn. They are usually marked off with an orange cone. If you see one, be sure to point at it and giggle.  

The Page Museum is the (mostly underground) building where the fossils are sorted, cleaned, mounted and displayed. It is a small but abundant museum complete with extinct bison, smilodon, camel, prehistoric horses, a colombian mammoth, and a TON of dire wolf skulls. Seriously, if dire wolf skulls were currency, the Page Museum would never have to ask for donations.

So now that you know this place exists, drop everything you are doing and go visit it! I assure you, it is magical. 


  1. Unfortunately I don't make it to California very often, but I'll keep this in mind. One question: is it stinky?

  2. Stinky? Not really, considering you are in downtown Los Angeles (LA smells like urine and broken dreams). The tar itself smells a like wet asphalt but it isn't overpowering.