So the last place I went to in my Great America Road trip was Los Angeles. I’d never been to California before, and also flights out of LAX were cheapest. I met up with my excellent friend Afton and we toddled off to the La Brea tar pits.
And they were the coolest! Hands down the best way I could have spent 2 of my 12 hours in LA. Very realistic – I love this tableau (especially because the baby is freaking out but the unstuck parent is all like, “let it go, kid. Everybody dies at some point.”)
Here is an actual tar pit! They bubble! Constantly!!!! (I loved it)
So besides the pits (which are actual dig sites) they have a museum full of skeletons from the pit. Here’s a bison.
And then the side view! I had no idea their humps were formed from …elongated vertebrae? A third set of ribs?…bones. (Also, I heavily edited these photos to emphasize what I found interesting.)
A mammoth! With long mammoth-y tusks. The mammoth skeleton was absolutely mammoth in size. This does not do the scale of it justice.
And the teeth! I was fascinated by the mammoth’s tooth structure – look at all the folds.
Sloth feet! This is an extinct ground sloth native to North America. They walked on their knuckles like an ape. (The black shiny coating on the skeletons is the tar, if that wasn’t obvious.)
Sabertooth cat! The wall behind her (him?) is full of wolf skulls. Over 400 of them. (Who’s counting? Probably some poor grad student, that’s who.)
And, finally, one of the tar pits where they’re doing the excavating. It’s hard to make out but you could actually see some half-buried fossils, which was excellent! The pits were on what was basically a large park and we walked around outside and inside.
I would totally recommend the tar pits to anyone who is passing through LA. The museum was excellent I loved the indoor/outdoor component. I think it’s fairly handicap accessible – the outdoor walkways are wide and paved and fairly flat and the museum is very open-concept and easy to navigate.