Overall, I was very impressed by the Page Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. Before we visited the museum and tar pits, I didn't quite understand how these two sites are related; I'll describe each separately, touching on that point.
Page Museum: At $7.50 for adults, this museum doesn't have quite as steep an admission fee as the Natural History Museum, and the youth fee ($4.50) and child fee ($2.00) are a good deal as well. We spent about an hour in the museum and that seemed to be a good amount of time as it isn't a huge space. The video on the left shortly after you enter the museum is very good at giving an overall idea of the tar pits -- the age of some of the fossils that have been found, what kinds of fossils have been found, how the fossils ended up in the tar, etc. The video was about 10 minutes and helped us understand the rest of the museum and tar pits as we walked through. There is an atrium in the middle of the museum with some greenery and a small pond with turtles and fish. The aim of this atrium seemed to be to show how different life in L.A. was at the time compared to the L.A. that we know now. Also in the museum is a window into the Paleontology lab, where you can see several people at work sorting different fossils found in the tar pits. There was another video towards the end of the museum that was a behind-the-scenes at the museum and excavation sites that was neat as well. Overall, the museum was informative, and I would recommend it to any tourist who has not been there before and wants to get a better idea of what they're looking at in the tar pits. The museum is somewhat aged, however, and it's the kind of place that is worth one visit but not two or three.
Tar Pits: I didn't realize before our visit that the tar pits were open to the public -- the park in which the tar pits are located (on the same block as LACMA) is open to the public, and only the Page Museum charges an admission fee. The 'Lake Pit,' which is located along Wilshire Blvd., is very cool because the tar is actively bubbling, which is neat to see. In addition, while we were there, the Pit 91 Viewing Station was open, and that was a very important part of our visit. Pit 91 is a huge tar pit, described on the brochure as "the longest on-going urban paleontological excavation site in the world". The excavation has been going on since 1969 and has temporarily been put on pause for 5 - 10 years while staff work on another site that has recently been discovered. At the Pit 91 viewing station, you get a side view of the excavation, where fossils that are the next to be removed are marked with flags. Descriptions of the marked fossils are at the viewing station, along with an employee who can explain the scene and answer any questions.
My review got 4 stars instead of 5 because of 2 things: 1) The museum had good exhibits and movies, but there was a definite dated feeling. 2) Originally, when we walked out to the Pit 91 Viewing Station, the employee who was staffing the station was locking up despite the fact that the station was scheduled to be opened for another 45 minutes. He said that his coworker hadn't showed up and he had to return to the museum to find him. We asked if perhaps he could radio the coworker but he said that he'd forgotten his radio. We adjusted our plans so that we went back into the museum and explored there before checking out the viewing station, which turned out to be a good plan in the end, but it was a bit of a disappointment to walk out to the Pit 91 Viewing Station and find that the employee was closing it way ahead of schedule.
Overall, I'd say that the Page Museum and La Brea Tar Pits are worth a visit if you're interested in paleontology and science in general. I'd allow around an hour and a half for a visit.
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