Free Admission: 100 Years of Tar Pits Digging

The Wilshire-adjacent excavations mark a century.

By Alysia Gray Painter
|  Thursday, Oct 24, 2013  |  Updated 3:34 PM PDT
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Free Admission: 100 Years of Tar Pits Digging

Page Museum

100 Years of Digging: The Page Museum waives admission on Monday, Oct. 28 to mark a century of tar pit excavations.

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The hours of our days are elastic, they say, and they are indeed right. Waiting to take a driver's test feels rather longer, time-wise, than the happy few minutes it takes to eat an ice cream cone on the beach.

But there's really no better spot to meditate upon the fleeting nature of time and its epic epic-o-sity than plunk in the middle of the city, at the La Brea Tar Pits. Some of our city's oldest buildings may be from the 1800s and early 1900s, but the goopy, methane-y wonder off Wilshire Boulevard laughs at all that.

Well, maybe the tar pits aren't that mean. But they've been around for eons, harboring the bones of long-gone beasties, which means this: When a 100th anniversary rolls around for the La Brea Tar Pits, it can be a bit discombobulating.

Even a tad "say what?"-y. But, indeed, the tar pits are marking 100 Years of Digging, and they're doing so by giving back to mastodon mavens and those who dig dire wolves.

How? Free admission to the Page Museum on Monday, Oct. 28. The Page is packed with a whole mess o' bones from way, way, way back, plus a fishbowl lab where you can watch lab-coated smarties at work, brushing dried tar from old tusks.

You might see several renowned paleontologists and scientists in the house that day -- er, Hancock Park, rather -- because it is a biggie. The 100 Years of Digging Day is also, in part, a celebration of the Natural History Museum's centennial. NHM, the Page Museum, and the La Brea Tar Pits are all connected, of course, intra-museum-family-style.

And if you are wondering why no place in the city can lay claim to ruling the time scale like the La Brea Tar Pits, consider this: The pits are "one of the richest sources of Ice Age life," life that ruled the area "approximately 40,000 to 10,000 years ago."

Yeah, 40,000 years. No matter how long it took you to get home going over Highland Avenue that one night, it was not 40,000-years long. Our beloved pits have a way of putting it all into perspective.

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