Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

La Brea Tar Pits Museum Entertains in 3 Dimensions

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The Natural History Museum’s Page Museum has been rebranded finally to the name we all have been calling it for years: the La Brea Tar Pits Museum.

The newly polished museum is well worth a summertime visit, with or without kids in tow. There are newly polished concrete floors, expanded and updated text panels and exhibits, and best of all – a 3D theatre showing “Titans of the Ice Age.” The 22 minute film directed by David Clark and narrated by Christopher Plummer is a lifelike animation of some very impressive creatures, (including mastodons, dire wolves and sabre toothed cats)  in a 3D rendition that uses stunning real-world locations (Yellowstone, Alaska, the Rockies) as backdrops. The result is a really believable, very educational, and scary-good documentary that makes one proud to live so close to the famous tar pits.

Titans of the Ice Age has all the ingredients for a giant screen wildlife spectacle,” the film’s producer Andy Wood said. “Audiences will experience the world of these prehistoric animals with a realism that only this canvas can provide. The Pleistocene has been an incredibly popular subject in commercial films and pop culture over the past decade – kids love mammoths! But the historical accuracy has often been lacking. Titans of the Ice Age presents a veritable depiction of this fascinating epoch, and we are really proud to have worked with the team of scientists and curators at the Tar Pits to make sure that the film content, to the best of our knowledge today, matches what the scientists believe to be true.”

Outside, the mid-century Observation Pit designed by Henry Sims Bent (1952), the first museum in Hancock Park, has been reopened after several decades of closure. A trip inside the Observation Pit is part of the new “Excavator Tour,” free with museum admission. Simultaneously, excavations at Project 23 and inside Pit 91—one of the world’s longest running urban paleontological excavation sites—are underway, giving visitors an opportunity to see excavation work in real-time.

In truth, watching the movie makes one appreciate more fully the bubbling tar pits and the scientists who work right there – both inside in the “fish bowl” Fossil Lab or outdoors in the excavation pits. There is no place on earth quite like the tar pits – where paleontologists work recovering 10,000-40,000 year old fossils in the heart of a modern teeming city.

Stop in, you won’t be disappointed.

La Brea Tar Pits Museum
5801 Wilshire Blvd.
Open Daily 9:30 am – 5 pm (closed holidays)
Scientists and volunteers in the Fossil Lab, work during museum hours.
Scientists and volunteers in the Fossil Lab, work during museum hours.
The museum has recovered over 400 skulls of dire wolves.
The museum has recovered over 400 skulls of dire wolves.

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And check out this little movie, “Excavation 101” about how they dig.

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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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