In this super quick and easy edible excavation tutorial, we are going to make Awesome Tar Pit Edible Excavations for your young Excavating Adventurer to dig in and enjoy. This tasty treat is inexpensive, super easy to make, and a lot of fun.


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: This edible excavation activity is a great activity to use to create some excitement around discussions or lessons about dinosaurs, fossils, and paleontology.



Gummy dinosaurs

Box of Jell-o – any color will work

Black food coloring

9 oz clear plastic cups

Plastic spoons, forks, and knives. These will be the excavation tools.



  1. Make the blue Jell-o per the directions on the box. Add several drops of black food coloring.
  2. Place five or six gummy dinosaurs in each cup.
  3. Fill each cup about ¾ of the way full of Jell-o and put in the refrigerator for the recommended amount of time.
  4. Once the Jell-o has fully set, distribute the “excavation tools” and encourage the Excavating Adventurers to dig in and recover the gummy dinosaurs.


Sticky Adventures: Fascinating Facts about Tar Pits!

Fun Facts about Tar Pits:

  1. Tar pits, also known as asphalt pits or natural asphalt deposits, are areas where thick, sticky tar has seeped to the surface over thousands of years.

  2. The tar in tar pits is composed of a mixture of heavy hydrocarbons and is often sticky and viscous, making it difficult for animals and objects to escape once they get trapped.

  3. One of the most famous tar pit sites is the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, California, which has yielded an incredible number of well-preserved fossils from the Ice Age.

  4. Tar pits can preserve not only the bones of animals but also their fur, feathers, and even soft tissues, providing a unique glimpse into the ancient ecosystems and the animals that lived there.

  5. The tar in tar pits can be formed from underground oil deposits that have been pushed to the surface by geological processes, or it can be created from the decay of organic matter over time.

  6. Animals that become trapped in tar pits are often called "tar seeps." Some of the most common tar seep victims include mammoths, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and birds.

  7. Tar pits can act like time capsules, preserving the remains of animals and plants from thousands or even millions of years ago, allowing scientists to study the Earth's history and the evolution of species.

  8. Excavations at tar pit sites have provided valuable information about the biodiversity of ancient ecosystems, as well as the behaviors and interactions of different species.

  9. Tar pits can also trap and preserve insects, providing insights into the ancient insect populations and their role in prehistoric ecosystems.

  10. The study of tar pits and the fossils found within them has greatly contributed to our understanding of extinct species and the process of evolution.

  11. Tar pits can be found in various locations around the world, including Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, and various states in the United States.

  12. Tar pits continue to be active geological features, slowly trapping and preserving the remains of animals and offering ongoing opportunities for scientific research and discovery.

Remember, tar pits hold secrets from the past, offering a sticky but fascinating window into prehistoric life!


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Planning a dinosaur themed birthday party? These Awesome Tar Pit Edible Excavations are always a huge hit. Your birthday party guests will love digging into these delicious treats and discovering the gummy dinosaurs hidden inside. You may also want to consider including our Fossil Birthday Digs in your celebration. Each no-prep kit is designed to excite and entertain birthday guest and is filled with fossils and even real dinosaur bones for your guest to discover and collect! Our Excavating Adventures blog also has tons of DIY blog posts if you wanting to make your own excavation activities. Check them out and Happy Excavating!



Question 1: What is a tar pit? A) A natural deposit of sticky tar used for construction B) A pool of water with oil floating on the surface C) An area where thick, sticky tar has seeped to the surface D) A volcanic crater filled with black sand

Correct answer: C) An area where thick, sticky tar has seeped to the surface

Question 2: Which famous tar pit site has yielded well-preserved fossils from the Ice Age? A) Yellowstone Tar Pits B) Gobi Desert Tar Pits C) La Brea Tar Pits D) Amazon Rainforest Tar Pits

Correct answer: C) La Brea Tar Pits

Question 3: What can tar pits preserve besides animal bones? A) Ancient artifacts B) Fossilized plants C) Metal objects D) Lost treasure

Correct answer: B) Fossilized plants