Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for the La Brea Tar Pits

Los Angeles was not always my favorite place. As a child, I hated going there because I was born before there were freeways. However, I never said no to a trip to the Tar Pits. They have always been called the La Brea Tar Pits but here's a little secret. There is no tar, it is actually asphalt. Click on the link to be taken to their website. They have a very good map of the park layout.

The Tar Pits can be a little tricky to find. It sits in the midst of trendy shop and gourmet eateries. This area of Wiltshire Blvd has come back to life after years of semi-decay and it is quite upscale. The Tar Pits are surrounded by trees and I actually missed it last year.

It seems that I am having problems finding current photos but I did find pictures taken with the statues that surrounded the pit in 1948, before I was born. Our family love affair with the Tar Pits goes way back.

Summer 1948. My parents, newly married.
My mom posing.

My dad and my grandpa
My all-time favorite. Grandpa's hat on the tail of the Saber-Tooth Tiger.
The landscape has changed. Many of these statures are gone. There is still one in the main pit in front of the museum.

Be careful where you walk here. The underground asphalt tends to come up where it wants. The last time we were there, one of the parking places was blocked off because the asphalt had oozed up through the space. It also appears in the grassy areas.

This is a fun place to go. The museum has several interactive exhibits that thrill and delight young and old. A film explains what is happening there. Not to be missed, the glassed off room called Fish Bowl where paleontologists painstakingly try to match bone fragments. It is fascinating.

Outside is the main pit of asphalt that is fenced off. You can smell the methane gas as it forms large bubbles in the pond. On the other side of the park, there is an open pit where archeologists and paleontologists are still digging for bones.

I did find a sort of current photo of my grandson taken in 2009. A skeleton of this bear was found there. 

We love it when family comes to visit. This is our go-to place to share. Then, we head back on Wiltshire Blvd towards downtown and eat at the Original Pantry on Figueroa and Ninth.  Best day trip ever!


  1. I remember going to the La Brea Tarpits when I was a kid. It was such an awesome place!

  2. Those pictures were so cool!! Your Mom is beautiful and handsome dad and granddad too!! Very nice. I grew up in Covina, and a couple of scheduled field trips from school...I never took to the pits. Was not interested, and I always wondered if it wasn't asphalt! Those were the days, and days no more. I bet if you ask kids today they would say "duh"? Ha Ha Sweet little grandson too!! Have a great day!!

  3. My hubby would love this place so it is on our list to do...hopefully we have the time for a day out soon!

  4. I have lived in the San Diego area for 32 years now and I still have not been to the La Brea Tar Pits. I need to make a trip up with the Grandkids. Thank you for the awesome photo's!!
    Peanut Butter and Whine

    1. Take the grandkids. They will love it!

  5. Those old photographs are lovely. That one of your mother and the bear statue suggests all kinds of stories, doesn't it?

    Ann, I just wanted to mention that the link attached to your user picture doesn't lead back here to your blog--it takes us to another site altogether, which makes it difficult for people to reciprocate with comments. I receive email updates for your blog, which is how I track you down, but the first time I had to find your blog via Google.

  6. I love the old photos you shared. Looks like a neat place!


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