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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The La Brea Tar Pits

It is hilarious to me that the La Brea Tar Pits are right downtown Los Angeles, near Hollywood, on Wilshire Boulevard!

It reminds me of that Jeff Foxworthy joke - "It makes you wonder why the dinosaurs wanted to live that close to downtown?"
Which is why I thought there were dinosaur remains at the La Brea Tar Pits.  When David heard me say this, he shook his head in exasperation (as he often does when he realizes I know very little about typical boy things) and slowly explained that they're not dinosaurs at La Brea.

I stand corrected.

Anyway, going to La Brea was the main way I sold David on the whole California trip.  You should have seen his face light up when I mentioned it being on the potential itinerary.

I kind of consider this trip of a lifetime to California as Thomas's Trip.  So many of our stops were places he was especially interested in - La Brea, Legoland, and a number of the 101 Places list.  Maybe we'll let Brennan pick a trip-of-a-lifetime when he turns 10.  Hmm, we'll see.

Beautiful relief on the roof of the La Brea museum

A real tar pit right in front of the museum (not real animals).  It's not actually tar, but asphalt and water.





Inside the museum we watched two really good videos.  Dinosaurs died out tens of millions of years ago.  The animals discovered at La Brea (Spanish for "tar") were from 10,000-40,000 years ago - a saber-toothed cat, dire wolves, bison, horses, giant ground sloths, fish, gophers, and lions.

These skulls are less than one-fourth of the dire wolf skulls discovered so far at La Brea.

Thomas has said since he was 4 that he wants to be a paleontologist - a scientist who studies/discovers prehistoric animals.  After seeing a lot of the hard work they do in the sun and tar, he is thinking more and more about paleontology being a hobby and maybe architecture as a career.

In the museum there is the Fishbowl area.  Volunteers and paleontologists work here, encourage you to take photos and send them to them, which we have dutifully done.

After going through the museum we went to the active Pit where the scientists are uncovering more bones.

Not a surprise, when Thomas saw this "office" he took paleontology off his career list.

I learned a lot at La Brea and am so glad we went!  We all really enjoyed it - a highlight of the visit!

4 comments:

Paula said...

I didn't know a thing about this place until I started teaching science. I have always wanted to go there! After looking at your pictures, I realize that it really isn't what I thought it was going to be. I had no idea that it was in the middle of the city!

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

My daughter wants to be a paleontologist. She would love to go there. I wonder if she would cross the career off her list after seeing it.

All American Family said...

How interesting. I've learned something today I didn't know I didn't know. ;)

Marice said...

wonderful photos! the place looks really great!

u may view mine here