La Brea Tar Pits : Michelin's recommendations
Hancock Park, the public park embracing the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Page Museum, is the setting for the world's largest and most diverse cache of Ice Age plant and animal fossils.Some 38,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene era, now-extinct animals such as saber-toothed cats, imperial mammoths, ancient bison and giant sloths came to drink from pools here; they were trapped in the thick, tar-like asphalt (brea in Spanish) lurking at the surface. Though bones had long been found here, the property's owners assumed they belonged to nearby farm animals. Not until 1905 did scientists from the University of California confirm their true age. Excavations have since unearthed more than 100 tons of specimens.Today, asphalt still bubbles up through the water in the lake pit beside Wilshire Boulevard; near the pit's edges, life-size statues portray Ice Age mammals struggling for their lives. On hot days, tar frequently seeps through the pavement and lawns of the park and surrounding streets. Visitors may view a dig in progress during two months each summer at Pit 91, located behind LACMA.
Opening hours :
- [9.30am-5pm, no charge 1st Tue of every month]