La Brea Tar Pits

Henry spends many of his afternoons with his nose buried in books about all things prehistoric, and he has basically memorized every species that has ever been found in North America, so we knew had to carve out time for the La Brea Tar Pits while we were in LA recently. We spent time exploring the tar pits and then visited the Page Museum. Violet just loved the "stinky tar" and was convinced the mammoths were big elephants and she was quite worried about them. Then, in the museum, Henry was so excited when he spotted the dire wolf exhibit with hundreds of skulls he said "I've been waiting to see this my entire life!!" to which Akemi responded "Henry's been waiting for TEN YEARS to come here" ha ha. (he is 7)It was pretty incredible standing next to the mammoths and imagining they were walking around the exact same spot 10,000 years ago. Can you imagine?! They are massive! We also enjoyed learning more about the Smilodon and the kids were telling the employees we have our own sabertooth at home, I think they thought it was a joke, but no, Sabertooth is real! And her name fits her quite well, because as far as housecats go, she really is an incredibly good hunter.We had signed up for the tour while we were there but ended up ducking out after only 10 minutes because Henry was so bored, which was a little upsetting at the time because the rest of us really wanted to stay for it. But I had to laugh about it later, as he is exactly like I was as a child. In fact, I skipped out on class so many times in my life because it was such a bore waiting for everyone to ask their questions about things I already knew. And while sometimes it is important to be able to sit through a class, I get that its not always the best use of time (especially with five kids!). Henry had been learning all the Latin names of the species and he was frustrated that they just said it was a mouse from the Pleistocene period, he was like "which one? what family does it belong to?" I could just see him itching to jump in and classify everything. And I definitely feel that as homeschoolers, a big part of what we can do is honor the way our kids learn. So heading off and exploring the tar pits on our own ended up being a better pace for our kids (and I was able to pull up some pages with more scientific info for us to read on my iPhone) and we ended our time walking around the pleistocene gardens and having a little picnic. In fact I still have tar on the bottom of my sandals because there was tar bubbling up on the grass near where we sat, so crazy! I suppose it's my little souvenir.
 the cutest little babe at the tar pits!

 Akemi was so excited every time she'd see a bubble pop in the tar!

△ going through life with these guys is just so much fun!

△ also, how is it possible my kids are getting so tall already?!

 the dire wolf display

 over 3 million ice age fossils!

  inside one of the excavation sites

△ this picture. I think it may have been a highlight of Henry's life, being hugged by a giant ground sloth.

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