Last Update: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Museums to Visit This Summer La Brea Tar Pits Reopens “Pit 91” Excavation Viewing This Week PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez, Editor of the San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 03:06

Alejandro Chavez for the SFVSun/El Sol.

Just in time for summer visitors, Pit 91 reopens this week at La Brea Tar Pits. The public can watch from an overhead glassed observation area as excavators trowel into the hot asphalt goo.

Don't miss a stop at the La Brea Tar Pits this summer. There is no other museum like the La Brea Tar Pits in the world, where you can watch palentologists at work.

From the observation decks kids can get an exciting view of digging into the ground of tar, and beginning June 28, the museum's Pit 91 will be reopened for excavation and public viewing.

Pit 91 has been closed for the last six years as the museum concentrated it's work on other sites, which included the discovery of “Zed” the nickname given to the huge fossil of a large male Columbian mammoth found during the parking lot construction at the nearby LACMA museum .The ongoing work on “Zed” can be seen in the fishbowl observation area inside the museum.

Alejandro Chavez for the SFVSun/El Sol.

Volunteers are trained to carefully brush the sediment from fossils. They work alongside La Brea Tar Pit staff members.

As the exciting work continues on “Zed”, the museum, now boosted with a larger staff, is back to working on the exciting Pit 91, uncovering new specimens. Beginning this week, the public will be able to get a closeup look at the excavators as they pull new finds out of the messy goo. Giving visitors a full experience, the strong smell of tar in the warm summer air seeps from the pit into the observation area.

First opened in the 60's Pit 91 has been a rich source for the museum.

Almost a million fossils have been found in Pit 91 alone. Luis Chiappe, Vice President of Research and Collections said it has contributed to doubling the number of species found at the tar pits..

“Close to a million specimens were collected from this very pit, and the number of species that were excavated from this pit which doubled the roster of species known from the tar pits from about 300 to about 600,”

The various pits, opened to the public, study not only the fossils found in the liquid asphalt, but a wealth of plants,insects and microfossils found in the sediment that are around the bones. All of these finds help to literally put the pieces together to understand the environment and climate change at various periods of prehistoric time..

The La Brea Tar Pits also uniquely welcomes volunteers not only to greet visitors but to literally get your hands in and will train you in the painstaken but exciting job that carefully brushes the sediment away from those priceless finds. The La Brea Tar Pits is the most exciting classroom you'll find. Open daily. To learn more go to: www.

The San Fernando Museum of Art and History

Many are still unaware, that the city of San Fernando has a small but interesting museum. It is an ecclectic homespun mixture of donated exhibit items that represent the people art and history of the city of San Fernando and the surrounding Northeast San Fernando Valley area. Located in what was once an old fire station on 510 South Brand Blvd. San Fernando, it has an old fire engine from the 1920's, medals donated by area veterans, artwork from area artists and various historic items. The museum is free and open from Wednesday- Sunday 11:00-3:00 p.m. For more information call: (818) 838- 6360.

Kidspace Museum Offers A Nature Exchange

Kidspace is always a fun spot for families and is especially geared toward younger children but offers an interesting experience for the whole family. There is much to see inside the museum and throughout the surrounding grounds located at 480 N. Arroyo Blvd.,in the city of Pasadena

One unique new program offered by the museum is a “Nature Exchange,” where kids are encourged to bring rocks, shells, leaves or other items they have found to share them with a Kidspace educator. Kids can earn points that they can exchange for another nature item at the museum or save them up with each visit to the museum. What makes Kidspace unique is it's concentration on interactive play that encourages learning. From the large bottle rocket that encourages kids to launch a plastic bottle into the air with water pressure to a fun tennis ball launcher and sun spotter, there are activities to touch, teach and ignite children’s love of science. Kidspace also has two acres of garden and a wildlife pound and a bee and butterfly garden. To learn more call: (626) 449-9144 or go to:www.

Throughout the summer months, the San Fernando Valley Sun will feature various museums and places to visit in the San Fernando Valley and areas throughout the greater Los Angeles area. If you have an interesting location to recommend for a summer visit, please send your information to: editor@

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 June 2014 03:21