Super Bowl Sunday is an awesome day to get out and do ANYTHING that isn't related to the game. I'm not a fan of the football, but this isn't a post to knock it. It's a post to thank all of the football fans from staying off the streets. They can enjoy their day and I can enjoy mine and everyone (except those having to work) is happy. I'm sure fans wish that every Sunday was Super Bowl Sunday too!
I live in Los Angeles and although I love my city, I don't love the crowds and traffic. Super Bowl Sunday is pretty much the only day of the year that the streets are empty. Sure, you can't go to a sports bar, but you can go everywhere else and experience clear freeways and zero crowds.
Dan and I woke up early and took full advantage of the day.
First stop, Hancock Park and the George C. Page Museum (aka The La Brea Tar Pits). Dan had never been and I had not visited the museum since I was a kid. The Page Museum really is a must see for locals and visitors alike. It's unique.
We arrived just in time to join the eleven o'clock docent guided tour. This really is the hidden gem of the museum. The tour is free, lasts about forty minutes, goes to off-limit places and contains a wealth of information. Visitors should make sure to take advantage of the tour. It may be a bit dull for families with small children, but you should still give it a shot because if your kid gets fussy, it's easy to leave the tour early. Our guide, Gustavo, was great with the older kids.
We started the tour at the main tar pit, the one with the mammoth family.
Next, Gustavo walked us over the an active excavation area, Pit 91. The excavations in Pit 91 take place during the summer months, but the viewing area is open year round. This is the only site that is currently being excavated and they only go about six inches deep a year. They have so many larger bones, that they are leaving them alone and focusing on microfossils. We learned that during the Paleolithic Era (Ice Age) the weather in Southern California was very similar to the current weather in Northern California. Interesting, right?
I love going places that are ordinarily off-limits and our next stop on the tour required Gustavo to unlock the building. Prior to the current Page Museum having been built in 1977, tourist would pay to enter the original museum site. This area contained a single pit, that was somewhat manufactured, as they brought bones already excavated to recreated the look of an excavation site.
The last stop on the tour, was project 23, named for the twenty-three crates of fossils discovered when the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, a next door neighbor to the Page, broke ground to construct a new parking structure. In efforts to preserve the fossils and minimize the impact to the construction, the fossils were packed in crates with the earth and are now slowly being sorted. The biggest find was a nearly intact mammoth fossil that has been given the nickname, Zed.
Admittedly, the tour was so good, that we breezed on through the museum, as a lot of the info was repetitive. The museum is on the small side and we did the whole thing in about 30-45 minutes. We would have taken longer, had we not taken the tour and if we had stopped to watch the short movie that is shown midway through the exhibits. The museum is well done and has a lot of interactive exhibits and things to keep both kids and adults entertained. They do a wonderful job of mixing education with fun.
My only question (that I should have asked) is what happened to the bones of the woman who fell into the tar pits? I so vividly remember this exhibit as a child, they would project an image of what they thought she would have looked like over her bones. Does anyone else remember this?
After the museum, we headed out of Hancock Park and walked across the street to The Counter for a burger. It was absolutely dead for the "Lunch Rush". This was our first time at the restaurant and they made two new fans.
The real test of the power of Super Bowl Sunday was to head to the Burbank AMC Sixteen, which is always packed on the weekends. We headed to the primary parking lot, which is usually too full, even on week nights and we found a spot immediately. There was no one ahead of us in line to buy tickets and the theater (one of the big ones) had about thirty people for the afternoon showing of Zero Dark Thirty.
It was awesome!
I believe in the miracle that is Super Bowl Sunday and if it brings the guarantee of one slow Sunday a year, I will be a football fan who never needs to watch a game! It's my new favorite holiday.