Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

It has become a pretty regular thing for my husband and I to take our little dog, Bad Girl, to the park on Sundays. We live two blocks from the The LaBrea Tar Pits and Page Museum and if you haven't been over there in awhile you need to stop by because there is some really amazing stuff going on. Besides the fact that it is a beautiful park and barely ever crowded, it is such a special place due to the tar earth that was able to preserve millions fossils and animal skeletons from the last Ice Age. Paleontologists have learned tons from my little neighborhood.

This picture didn't come out too good, but there are actual size sculptures of the animals that lived on these grounds within the park. These are two Ground Sloths, the size of a modern day Rhinoceros.

Baddy is eager to take off. She likes to run around but never leaves our side. She has earned the nickname of "Jet Fuel" among others.

The Page Museum has a beautiful terrarium located at the top of a hill that Jet Fuel loves to run up to.

Once she's at the top, she takes a victory lap as she has conquered something grand.
A view from the top of the Page Museum onto the Tar Pits. You can see one of the Sabertoothed Cat sculptures that greet you at the museum entrance.

The Mastedon's are a fantastic moving sculpture and kids love them. The mother and baby mammoth are off to the side as the father Mastedon is trapped in the tar sediment. The smell can be strong on a really hot day but otherwise it's okay. The tar continues to bubble at the top even after 40,000 years.

Here's the cool part, Pit 91. Since the remodel of the new LACMA wing and the demolition of the former parking garage, thousands of new carcasses have been found including the largest Mastedon ever discovered in North America once weighing twenty tons with both tusks completely intact which the staff has named Zed. There are a few tents with actual excavation areas working where you can walk in and see the animal bones being discovered. Above is a list of some of the animals found currently including the Sabertoothed Cat, Ground Sloth, American Lion, Short Faced Bear, Camel, Horse, Bison, Mastedon, Rabbit, Birds, Kangaroo Rat, Turtles, and the most common animal, the Dire Wolf. The security man on Sundays is so knowledable and he has a really cool voice. We like talking to him as he has something new to report almost every week. He explained to us about the recent and extremely rare find of Zed the Mastedon and how they were able to excavate his tusks by digging around them and casting them in plaster. He also tells our dog that she is a direct descendent of the Dire Wolf and we couldn't agree more.

The Page Museum currently has parts of the Mastedon on exhibit now, along with other cool things they have excavated like the LaBrea Woman and the only known Sabertooth Cat to die with its mouth closed. The marker flags above are the current excavation in progress of a Sabertoothed Cat and a Dire Wolf. A common misconception is that the Tar Pits were home to Dinosaurs when in fact the Dinosaurs inhabited my neighborhood 65 million years before the Tar Pits even formed. Pit 91 is comprised of two paid employees and the rest are volunteers. You can sign up to volunteer here. How cool would that be?

So after an exciting day in the park, Miss Baddy is ready for a bath and a treat and frankly so are we. Please take advantage of the LaBrea Tar Pits, it is so worth it. To learn more about their hours of operation and admissions, click here.