La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
4.5
Natural History MuseumsScience Museums
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:30 AM - 5:00 PM
About
Explore the world's only active, urban Ice Age excavation site. Inside the Page Museum is where we showcase the best fossils, animals, and plants that have been discovered here - mammoths, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and more. Experience the Ice Age come to life with our Ice Age Encounters show. Outside check out the La Brea Tar Pits where tar is still bubbling and our active fossil excavation sites to see what our excavators have uncovered today. Get the behind-the-scenes story and see scientists working on recently excavated fossils, walk around our famous Lake Pit, and visit our live dig site where scientists discover new Ice Age specimens every day. Free with museum admission.
Duration: 1-2 hours
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Admission tickets
from HK$144.05
All you need to step foot in the door.
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  • spiwakj
    Jacksonville, Florida261 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent place to visit while in LA.
    This was a terrific experience. You can actually view the tar pits in the outdoor area for no cost. It is very interesting. The fossil/fact tour by Reuben was wonderful and he answered many questions. The indoor museum has a few, and it is well laid out and worth the price. Park in the public lot if their lot is full. Lots of good places to eat within walking distance. It was an enjoyable experience.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 30 October 2023
  • Jim F
    Greensburg, Pennsylvania194 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Ice Age revisited
    The Ice Age revisited! Visiting the actual tar pits dating back centuries gave a whole new perspective of the development of our planet. The pits continue to not only bubble but also to provide fossils of mammoths, saber toothed cats and so many other animals and insects. After touring the tar pits, a visit to the museum is a must. The various discoveries from the pits are put together like an intricate puzzle forming completed skeletons of the centuries old mammals and insects. It is an exciting and eye opening experience. Both children and adults will be impressed with a visit here.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 November 2023
  • Brandon K
    Flagstaff, Arizona2,000 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great museum but very good overall experience
    I am not sure what I had in mind coming into this, but the experience was very good even if different than expected. We waited a day to come because it says online you need tickets on limited availability to go to the "museum". What we did not know is that 75 percent of what you see is outside in the free public park area with the last 25% being inside the museum that has limited access. The tar pits themselves are interesting areas. They are spots where oil comes up from faults and interacts with surface water. They sound far more visual than they are, but there is nothing wrong with that if you manage expectations. There are multiple fenced off "pits" that show where the oil and tar have come up through the ground, but only a couple of them really look interesting - the lake pit being one as you can see big bubbles coming up through the water. The funny and interesting part is that the tar pits pop up wherever they please. There are clearly smaller areas that were fenced as something bubbled up wherever it broke through the grass or dirt, which is really interesting to realize how "live" these pits still are in the middle of developed LA. The museum itself was worth the wait an the time as it has all sorts of fossils and great exhibits that the kids really got into, so I recommend that you make sure you have time for the actual museum if this is your first visit. I don't know if this place has much repeat value unless you come for a specific event.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 12 November 2023
  • Kevin B
    Mount Juliet, Tennessee3,754 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    So very interesting!
    The tar pits are a fascinating site and one that you would never imagine would be in the the center of LA. The tar pits are still active and there's still excavation going on and it was very interesting to see how they preserved so many animals. It's frankly easy to see how an animal can get trapped in here when you're walking around outside. The museum is very nice as well and they have numerous skeletons of animals that were excavated from the tar pits, including American mastodon, dire wolves, and saber-toothed cats amongst others. We really enjoyed these exhibits and it's always a pleasure to tour a museum that houses local specimens. It's definitely a worthwhile place to visit and it was one of our favorite things we saw in LA.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 12 December 2023
  • Bobby31225
    Bullhead City, Arizona1,898 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth seeing!
    My friend took me here while visiting him in the Loa Angels area. It's a place I have always wanted to see. It was very interesting to look and walk around then we went into the Museum. That was really good! Only thing I didn't like was you had to pay $18.00 just to park and then it was $15.00 to get into the Museum! I got in for $12.00 for senior rate. My friend being a Veteran got in for free. Having to pay to park just didn't sit well with me. In my book, that also should have covered the entrance fee to the Museum! Totally overpriced! Overall, it was worth seeing.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled with friends
    Written 3 March 2024
  • Michellescottrn
    Phoenix, Arizona135 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great educational museum and tons of local fossils
    Wonderful, educational museum about the LaBrea Tar Pits. Great exhibits/fossils all about the local area. The museum can be completed in about an hour, great for families. Then head outside to see the actual Tar Pits. Amazing to see these in the middle of LA.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 3 March 2024
  • Heather Johnson
    Sterling, Illinois50 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    La Brea is a MUST for history and geology lovers!
    This is a MUST-SEE experience in L.A. As sturdy midwesterners, our geology is familiar to us in a way that being at the tar pits was an absolutely WILD experience. We parked next to seeping tar, and none of us could get over its ability to just...exist...everywhere! The grounds are lovely for walking and stretching your legs, the parking is easy, and the museum is top notch. The kids loved the interactive portions of the exhibits, and the restroom facilities and gift shop were great too! If you are in L.A. at all, this feels like a no brainer! The history here is well-preserved, and watching geologists work behind the fences was fascinating. One had found a bone, and she was so excited, she came over to show my kids! This is fantastic experience for couples, adults, and multi-generational families as well.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 6 March 2024
  • Robin Ray Writer
    Stanton, California69 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Astounding Preservation!
    Wow! What a thrill! We went through the whole experience. Just knowing that the animals of the past entered thinking it was just water and they got stuck was sad. But the amount of animals that they pulled out of the tar pit is astounding! This is a great museum and worth the drive. If you like historic information this is the place for you.
    Visited February 2024
    Travelled with friends
    Written 7 March 2024
  • Lynn P
    Chanhassen, Minnesota31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Fossils in the heart of the city!
    Fossils and tar pits in the heart of the city! Such an amazing learning experience! Definitely recommend spending a few hours in the tar pits and the museum. The tar pits are outside and a free park. The museum has an entrance fee. The combined experience helps paint a picture of life at the end of the ice age in LA. There are windows to the scientists working on cleaning and preservation. The museum exhibits are well done to be fun, engaging, and educational.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 31 March 2024
  • Andrew Q
    394 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Go to the museum to put the tar pits into context
    The tar pits themselves are not much to see but they are free. They behind fenced off areas in the public park. You should go into the museum first to see what has been found in the tar pits and to put everything into context. There is a laboratory in the museum where you can watch workers chipping away at material found in the pits to reveal the fossils inside.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled solo
    Written 31 March 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles3,282 reviews
Excellent
1,710
Very good
1,190
Average
328
Poor
34
Terrible
21

Michael K
Fort Lee, NJ65 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
We found this place a bit boring. The small museum onsite has some pretty cool exhibits including some bears and tigers and dinosaurs, and even a lab that shows how they process fossils. That was the best part. The tar pits themselves are just pools of mud and tar surrounded by fences, some with fake, plastic mammoths and animals in them. There are several tar pits and background info for each one explains what they found and such, but again, not much to look at. We regretted paying to come here, but if you are really interested in history, geology, and science in general, maybe you will find it more interesting than we did...
Written 3 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Melissa P
Melbourne, Australia94 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
I found this museum to be so fascinating. You can see the tar (asphalt) bubbling up around the grounds - which are free to walk around. You do have to pay to go into the museum, but the outside is also very interesting - did you know to date, they have found 5 million fossils in the tar pits?
Written 27 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

irsh21
Los Angeles, CA139 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
The museum is worth a few hours of wandering and learning about the history of the tar pits and of the local area that used to be a rancho through a land grant. There are a few interactive exhibits that kids and adults enjoyed and the volunteers were amazing! I love how they were stationed around the place to show bones and give interesting facts about the animals that have been pulled out of the pits. I also enjoyed watching them clean bones that have been found. We spent about 2 hours here before walking over to the Farmers Market for lunch.
Written 7 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Watsson
Annapolis, MD466 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
A great place to take your kids. Including the video — don’t miss it — very educational — it’ll take about 2 hours to see the museum and the grounds. More if you want to watch the volunteers laboriously sorting and cleaning the shards and micro fossils they dug out of the pits.
Written 12 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Brandon K
Flagstaff, AZ2,000 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2023 • Family
I am not sure what I had in mind coming into this, but the experience was very good even if different than expected. We waited a day to come because it says online you need tickets on limited availability to go to the "museum". What we did not know is that 75 percent of what you see is outside in the free public park area with the last 25% being inside the museum that has limited access. The tar pits themselves are interesting areas. They are spots where oil comes up from faults and interacts with surface water. They sound far more visual than they are, but there is nothing wrong with that if you manage expectations. There are multiple fenced off "pits" that show where the oil and tar have come up through the ground, but only a couple of them really look interesting - the lake pit being one as you can see big bubbles coming up through the water. The funny and interesting part is that the tar pits pop up wherever they please. There are clearly smaller areas that were fenced as something bubbled up wherever it broke through the grass or dirt, which is really interesting to realize how "live" these pits still are in the middle of developed LA. The museum itself was worth the wait an the time as it has all sorts of fossils and great exhibits that the kids really got into, so I recommend that you make sure you have time for the actual museum if this is your first visit. I don't know if this place has much repeat value unless you come for a specific event.
Written 13 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Vic S
Greenville, SC414 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
It's like a visit to Jurassic Park, we were supposed to go to academy award museum but they wouldnt let my son in (really) two years after covid while no masks are required in public places in CA...so we headed out of the parking lot and followed our noses to the Pits. It is so cool, after 4/430 pm its half price and you can do the museum in thirty minutes without the show. The last show was 4 so we missed it, but this place is out of this world.. Oil is still bubbling to the surface in the lagoons, and over 1 M (yes million) fossils have been pulled from the pits. So lumber on over, La Brea tar pits is great fun for young raptors to old geezersaurus
Written 16 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Racer70
Lithopolis, OH215 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2022
We visited the La Brea Tar Pits on July 3, 2022. We didn't pay admission to visit the museum, but did pay the $15 flat fee to park in the gated parking lot. The tar pits are in a public park and and are free to the public to walk around and see.

The tar pits in general are very small, with the exception of the large pond/lake which is mostly water. They are all surrounded by large fences, so you cannot get up close to them or get into any danger of falling in. If you look closely, you can see some of the pits bubbling up or blowing small bubbles of tar and exhailing methane gas. You can smell the pits and it smells like tar or asphalt.

The signage and history of the tar pits is interesting, but this is defintiely a venue with only takes an hour or less if you don't visit the museum. This is one of those "bucket list" items in LA to say that you did.
Written 9 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EagleFlyer
Reykjavik, Iceland434 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019
Went to La Brea Tar Pits with the family while on vacation, and we all really enjoyed spending a long time in the museum and in the surrounding area, learning about animals, natural history, changes and preservation. Great experience!
The original tar pits have preserved a large number of animals and are a great source for understanding of evolution, environmental changes and more. The La Brea Tar Pits museum and surrounding area provide a fantastic insight into the animals and what we can learn from this. The inside exhibits are of interest for young kids, teenagers and adults. The surrounding area gives really interesting insight into the real tar pits, quite close up. This is then all linked nicely together with the very successful design of the museum building.
Very much worth a visit.
Written 7 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MWB2011
Sanford, NC195 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2019
We visited the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, CA. We did not do the admission part of the visit due to time constraints but we did pay for parking. The part that you can see without a ticket is plentiful and we spent several hours visiting. The bubbling tar pits are amazing and we enjoyed the photo-ops. We also spent a great deal of time in the museum gift shop finding nice trinkets and reading information about the tar pits.
Written 19 June 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

mrk4th
Burr Ridge, IL324 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 • Couples
I’ve been fascinated with the tar pits since I was a little kid and had a plastic model of a woolly rhino sinking while a condor tears out a chunk of its flesh, but this was my first visit in person. The museum was pretty much as I expected, with what seemed to be about a million bones on display. The 3D movie was not worth it, I’ve seen better documentaries on Discovery. Outside, the pleasant park, smelling of tar, is very interesting, especially the Lake Pit where the tar is still bubbling to the surface. Unfortunately, the other smaller pits are just filled with boxes (of more bones) for future study; not much to see. I’m sure every school kid in SoCal has come here on a field trip, but if that’s not you, it’s worth it for a glimpse back in time.
Written 4 August 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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La Brea Tar Pits and Museum - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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