The La Brea Tar Pits is one of the rare natural wonders you can see on your California vacation. California is filled with attractions big and small, natural and manmade.
The Tar Pits are located on Ranch La Brea, in downtown Los Angeles. Over a million fossils have been recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits. Animals that have long been extinct such as the wooly Mammoth used to roam the Los Angeles Basin. You can see the fossils of ice age animals from 10,000 to 40,000 years old, such as a saber tooth Tiger.
The first documentation about the Tar Pits is from 1769, when an expedition was passing through the area that is now called Hancock Park and observed large pools filled with a dark, bubbling liquid.
The staff from the Page Museum, where many of the fossils from the La Brea Tar Pits are housed are still excavating in the area, and document the recovery of hundreds of species of plants and animals from insects to rodents. This helps them to understand and collect evidence about the climate of Los Angeles during the end of the last Ice Age.
There pools, filled with asphalt and oil rise from the earth and trapped countless animals that unknowingly walked or ran into one of the dark pools of the La Brea Tar Pits. The oldest plant and animal specimens found here are 40,000 years old, so that is how long scientists estimate the Tar Pits have been here.
Animals like the Giant Mastadon with enormous tusks typical of a woolly Mammoth are on display in the museum. These are well preserved due to the methane gas and old that have prettified the animals, keeping many of them intact.
What is most interesting is that the La Brea Tar Pits are located right in Downtown Los Angeles. Its amazing to think that before the Movie Studios and Hollywood were built, the Tar Pits had been here, and they continue to bubble and seep gas as they have for thousands of years. This is certainly one of the most unique California attractions.
A far cry from the movie studios, theme parks, and beaches of Southern California, the La Brea Tar Pits is a feature of Los Angeles that has been here longer than any other.