Family Fun

La Brea Tar Pits Fêtes Its Fang-tastic Felines

Here, kitty kitty: The fossil-famous museum is padding into a purrfect "Saber-Toothed Summer."

  • La Brea Tar Pits Museum
  • A scavenger hunt, Excavator Tours, Saber-toothed Cat Chats, and more programming themed to the ancient animal
  • "Ice Age Encounters" features a life-sized saber-toothed cat puppet

Who was the P-22 of ancient Los Angeles?

Hiss not at our query, and please don't show your claws: We know there could never be another P-22, for the marvelous mountain lion is a singular superstar, a modern-day, on-the-move ambassador raising awareness about urban wildlife.

But before this Griffith Park-dwelling dazzler was first seen on camera just over a decade ago, there were other big cats where we ourselves now roam.

And when we say "before" we mean way, way, wayyyy before, as in thousands of years ago, before trail cams and fan sites and awesome social media accounts.

We're talking about the saber-toothed cats, the dentally impressive ancient animals that have received their due at the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum.

But there is always more due to give these incredible creatures, and the Miracle Mile museum is ready to prowl into a Saber-Toothed Summer, a purrfect happening for those who adore large cats, fossils, science, and, extremely realistic puppets.

For there is a sizable saber-toothed cat puppet at the center of the "Ice Age Encounters" show, one of the centerpieces on the museum's calendar.

This walking, stalking, and totally lifelike critter is a crowd-pleaser, for sure, but also crowd-pleasing?

The fact that this performance is filled with fascinating facts, all to give audience members a view into the long-ago world of these claw-rocking icons.

Other saber-toothed to-dos on the institution's upcoming calendar include Excavator Tours, chats themed to the cool cats, and a scavenger hunt inspired by Smilodon fatalis (yep, it's self-guided, so you and the family can pad along at your own pace).

Indeed, that's the scientific handle for the saber-toothed cat, two words that possess a clear (Smilodon has toothy roots) and chilling (fatalis says plenty) meaning.

But if you want to talk about our state fossil, you'll want to discuss the Smilodon californicus.

If you're a regular visitor to the world-famous Ice Age excavation site, you'll know that the "first confirmed fossil" at the La Brea Tar Pits was, yes, from this amazing beastie.

Our own cats? They totally rule our worlds, and we're forever trying to gain their furry favor, from toys to treats to anything they'd like.

But if you want to discuss a certain fearsome and furry figure that ruled during the Pleistocene Epoch, your best bet is to lay tracks for the La Brea Tar Pits & Museum during its Saber-toothed Summer.

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