May 21st, 2009
Since we were still technically homeschooling until the 22nd of May, I've been planning a bunch of educational field trips for the kids. Our second stop was the La Brea Tar Pits & museum. Perfect weather and a light crowd made for a great day. Soon after we got there we were able to join a walking tour of the grounds.
The kids were fascinated by the tar seepage right out of the ground and onto the grass. Luckily they resisted the urge to touch it and get it all over themselves. One of the cool parts was getting to see an active pit that's being excavated, Pit 91. It's the longest and most fruitful dig in history.
Right next to this area is a big shopping center under construction, and 2 years ago, while they were digging out the underground parking, they found remains. Turns out, it was an intact mammoth; the biggest and most complete they've ever found. They named him Zed.
There's a glass observation area in the paleontologist's lab so we got to see them actually working on his tusks, pelvis and femur. Wickedly cool, as Hayden would say.
The museum is on the smaller side, so the whole excursion probably only took us 2 hours. Still, I think that it's one of the more impactful trips we've been on lately because it sort of links the past with the present. Before when we've seen fossils in book or museums, it's kind of an abstract idea. But to come here and see the active tar pits, and the real bones of a mammoth that's been recently recovered, it made history really come alive for my kids.
So if you're ever in LA, try to make time for a trip to the Page Museum. It's not too far from the rest of the Hollywood attractions (depending on traffic) and worth the trip!