La Brea Tar Pits considering major makeover, unveil designs to the public

MIRACLE MILE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The La Brea Tar Pits are a window into Southern California's prehistoric past, and the archaeological attraction may soon get a major makeover.

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County is considering designs for what's being called the re-imagining of the La Brea Tar Pits.

The location is the only place in the world where visitors can see an urban Ice Age fossil excavation site. The sticky asphalt has yielded fossils dating back 50,000 years.

"They're the best collection of Ice Age fossils in the world, and it is the place truly where you can see excavation all the way through to preparation, study and research to presentation," said Lori Bettison-Varga, president and director of Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County.

The museum offered the public a look at new designs for the tar pits from three architectural firms.

Officials say the museum hasn't been renovated in more than 40 years, and it's time to make some changes.

"We want to find a way to share our discoveries with the public in a way that encapsulates more modern museum learning," said Bettison-Varga.

Officials say they plan to choose a design team by the end of the year.

"We're looking for innovation," said Bettison-Varga. "But, we are certainly wanting to make sure that we capture some of the things that make this location iconic for Angelenos."

Officials say they plan to start the planning process in the spring, but no date has been set for completion of the project.
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