One of my favorite museum experiences on the planet can be found at the Page Museum’s La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. The whole museum is about all the different species (many now extinct) that they have excavated out of the tar pits found on the grounds of Rancho La Brea. In fact, to enter the museum, you walk right past a still-bubbling tar pit! Who knows what they will find in it some day but, for now, they still have plenty other tar pits being explored and excavated to keep the paleontologists busy and the museum displays ever-evolving.
Once inside the museum, there are the skeletons of Columbian mammoths, bison, condors and the California State fossil – the saber-toothed cat – to name but a few. The entire rear wall is covered with the skulls of hundreds of dire wolves who met their fate in the tar pits. It is really quite impressive!
I have been to the La Brea Tar Pits at least four times in my life but still find it fresh and fun and a required couple of hours out of any visit to Los Angeles. When people ask me what to do in LA, it is the first thing that comes to mind!
Venturing north to San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is high on the repeat visit and recommendation list too. The first time I ventured in was to see a temporary exhibit entitled ‘Skulls’ and I have now returned many times since. These days though, a visit to the CAS is for all things living. From a magnificent multi-level rain forest to an aquarium housing nearly 40,000 animals to an exhibit in which you can feel what it is like to be in an earthquake to the living roof teaming with California native plants that provide habitat and food for native bees, birds and butterflies, this is a museum that is so diverse and interactive you could easily spend a couple of days taking it all in. Perhaps that’s why they offer after-hours nightclub experiences as well as sleepovers to extend your museum experience?!
No matter how long you have to spend, these are two California landmark museums worth the price of admission time and time again. Come. See. Enjoy. Return.