Chances are your kids are off from school this week and bored out of their minds. Instead of shoving Ice Age into the DVD player for the umpteenth time, tell them you're going to take them to see a saber-toothed tiger that would curl Diego's animated fur. Ice Age Encounters, at the Museum of Natural History, now features a life-sized saber-toothed tiger puppet weighing 73 pounds without the puppeteer inside. Smilodon fatalis is frighteningly ferocious thanks to his creators — the museum palentologists and Jim Henson's Creature Shop — who provided him with eye movement, facial expressions and realistic vocalizations. Excavators from the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits will be on hand to tell the kids about how giant cats with long teeth roamed and hunted in Southern California. Maybe near where they now live! Parents, be forewarned: Prep your little ones for what they're about to see, unless you want them to spend a decade on the shrink's couch complaining about how their trust in authority was stifled due to this wildlife encounter. In the North American Mammal Hall, Level 2.

Sun., Jan. 2, 1:30 & 3:30 p.m., 2011

LA Weekly