Homeschool Day at the Page Museum

 I will start this by saying I really don’t like driving into Los Angeles.  I always seem to end up driving through neighborhoods with bars on the windows, peeling paint on the houses, chain link fences, and the most horrible street traffic that makes me thankful I got us there without some type of car accident.  There’s only a few things I’m willing to make the drive to L.A. for and they all have to do with museums.

Today was the first Homeschool Day of the school year at the Page Musuem at the La Brea Tar Pits.  It has been years since I’ve been to the La Brea Tar Pits.  In fact, it was probably a field trip that I went on with my school back in the day and certainly not as an adult.  Last year the homeschool days for the Page Museum were the same day at the Natural History Museum and we always ended up picking the History Museum to go to so my littles have never got to experience the wonderful aroma of the tar pits.

We had so much fun though.  I even managed to get a rare group photo of all three.  Poor Megatron gets left out of a lot of photos still because I’m usually babywearing him when I’m taking photos.  The second part of our trip I did in fact bust out the Ergo and he was able to nap and both the olders got to rock our double stroller.  Green Bubbles loves getting the chance to ride on the back of the stroller and he rarely gets a chance to do so anymore.

The kids really enjoyed wandering the page museum.  We talked about the different types of animals that lived back then.  Green Bubbles loved the short faced bear the best and everytime Little Miss saw a Saber-toothed cat she screamed out lion and was proud to tell everyone that her learning take away from our trip was that they lived a long time ago.

We got to see so many completed skeletons of animals they found in the tar pits.  There are actually a lot more carnivores then herbivores in the collection.  Once a herbivore got stuck in the tar pit, it would cry out for help.  I imagine it sounded very much like a dinner bell to those hungry, oblivious carnivores who didn’t see their demise coming. 

They had a cool touch thing for the kids to play with.  Long metal poles were put into a bucket of the tar and you were able to pull them up to see how easy it was for the animals to become trapped.  Green Bubbles worked and worked until he got his up all the way.  He put a lot of force into it!

There had a great little atrium in the middle of the museum which was great for the kids to get some wiggles out as well.  They were able to climb some rocks, view the waterfall, and marvel at the large Koi fish swimming around. 

We managed to go on the tour as well.  Tickets were free, but limited, so unfortunately our friends weren’t  able to join us for this part.  Our tour guide took us to the observation pit and explained to us much of the how the animals got stuck, how they were found and excavated, and why the scientists care about what they find in the pits.  Interesting fact:  Scientists actually call the black stuff asphalt. Tar is a man-made material but due to simplicity they call it tar because that’s the name most people are familiar with. 

It was interesting to see how the bones look while still in the ground before they are dug out, separated, cleaned up and polished.  I like to think Green Bubbles and Little Miss might have gotten something out of it as well.

We even got to see what a tar pit would have looked like when left alone and why so many animals fell into the sticky trap (although not as many as you would expect!  Only one animal grouping every decade or so).  The leaves cover the tar pit making it very difficult to see.

My favorite part was getting to see the volunteers working on cleaning and sorting the fossils int he museum.  I was so interested in the process I didn’t get any pictures of it!  But they accept volunteer workers from 18 years old and up.  There were all ages from young adults to seniors working in the area when we were there.  They were all very friendly and waved to the kids and some held up the fossils they were working on to show it off a little better .

If you ever get a chance to go to the Page Museum, for Homeschool Day or not, you won’t regret it.

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