L.A. Underwater

The Prehistoric Sea Beneath Us

L.A. Underwater Exhibition

General Info

Now Open
Free with Museum Admission
Free for Members

See the Exhibition

Before it was the vibrant city we know, Los Angeles was underwater for over 90 million years. Explore the underwater realm of ancient Los Angeles when much of the L.A. area was submerged beneath the waves of the prehistoric Pacific Ocean.

Dive into our newest multimedia-rich, immersive exhibition L.A. Underwater. Discover L.A.’s prehistoric past through the stories of nearly 40 fossils that are uncovering the secrets of our submerged prehistory. Many of these fossils were found by everyday Angelenos–from construction workers unearthing over 2,000 fish fossils while working on the Metro line to Museum neighbors discovering a whale skull while digging an irrigation ditch in Lincoln Heights. These locally-discovered fossils are helping scientists understand the topography of the city's past and present.

What lies beneath the surface of Los Angeles? A hidden ocean waiting to be explored . . . by you!

L.A. Underwater Entrance
L.A. Underwater Dolphin on Screen
L.A. Underwater Ammonoid and Fossil Wall
L.A. Underwater Giant walrus, Pontolis barroni.
L.A. Underwater Entrance Spanish

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  • View nearly 40 fossils that were formed during the 90 million years when L.A. was underwater.
  • Experience life-sized prehistoric animals like a shark bigger than a city bus.
  • Use an interactive map to find fossils discovered near your neighborhood.
  • Explore the many habitats of L.A.’s prehistoric ocean.
  • See a hologram of an extinct squid-like animal that swam the seas when dinosaurs still roamed California.
  • Find out how our prehistoric ocean left a legacy of fossil fuels.

Fossil Finds

Take a sneak peek at some of the rare fossils from across the L.A. region that you will discover in this exhibition. 

Dive in Deeper

Explore the terrain of L.A. Underwater with the narrative map series: Ancient L.A. Stories.

Dive into L.A. Underwater and experience an ancient world filled with prehistoric marine life. Open Snapchat and scan each Snapcode with your Snapchat camera to unlock the Anglerfish and Whale Sky AR experiences. Tag us on social media to share: @NHMLA

Snapchat Lens LAU

Sponsored by Nickelodeon and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power with additional support from Robert Segal. In kind support was provided by ESRI.

LADWP black logo
Nickelodeon in lowercase in front of an amoeba-like, organic shape