Ice Age is more fun and closer than ever

| December 28, 2023 | 0 Comments

MOBILE TRAILER offers colorful and interactive displays, inside and out.

The Ice Age has never been closer, or more fun, since the La Brea Tar Pits Mobile Museum made its debut in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The trailer brings the La Brea Tar Pits’ gooey past to children in TK to second grade classes.

Already, five schools have been visited by the new vehicle, which on the one side of the exterior shows leafy Hancock Park and the surrounding tar pits as they look today and, on the other side, a giant sloth and other megafauna from 10,000 years ago when the area was a very different landscape.

Designed for learning through play, the 50-foot trailer has been in the design stage since 2018. The pandemic put the project on hold. During the pilot semester last fall, the kinks were worked out, and now the project is “ready for the full rollout,” said Molly Porter, director of education for the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.

INSIDE THE MUSEUM’S MOBILE TRAILER, extended to double-wide size, La Brea Tar Pits exhibits welcome visitors.

Inside, children play as paleontologists working at a simulated excavation and puzzling together toy skeletons of giant sloths.
They also howl like a dire wolf, pounce like a saber-tooth cat and act out other animals that once roamed the area where Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue are today.

“It’s experiential. Especially for this age group, they learn by doing,” said Porter. With up to 25 young kids in the trailer at one time, it can get a bit wild. “It’s a lot of fun and controlled chaos.”

The mobile unit is free for the schools and the students, and a welcome sight at a time when field trips are down and school bus costs are up.

The La Brea Tar Pits unit is the third and largest Mobile Museum in the Natural History Museum’s fleet. An archaeology-themed trailer travels to third to fifth grade classes, and a marine biology trailer visits sixth to 12th graders.

Two drivers and a staff of eight manage the three units, which are staggered at different campuses, where they park on school grounds for multiple days at a time.

Community events and open houses are also scheduled, and parents are encouraged to visit. “These mobile units generate a lot of excitement, so we want to welcome the community,” said Porter.

Signups for the spring semester are underway. Registration for fall 2024 semester open March 15. Visit

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Category: Entertainment

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