Mud building time 2018

Participants learn to make adobe brick homes last year at the Los Cerritos Mud Mania Celebration of Adobe event.

It's a dirty job, but the folks at Rancho Los Cerritos are ready to get their hands messy and teach guests how to work with adobe mud this Sunday.

"By letting kids play in the mud, they are learning about history in a tactile way; they can see it, feel it, smell it," Christa Weston, rancho marketing manager, said. "History is getting between their toes."

That's because the rancho was built using adobe bricks, which are made from a mixture of soil, sand, water and straw, and then sun-dried into its sturdy shape. Guests will be able to recreate miniature versions of adobe structures, much like the rancho itself.

Built in 1844, Rancho Los Cerritos consists of more than 20,000 bricks, which at the time, were more easily available to work with than wood and other materials. And it wasn't uncommon to use adobe bricks for building back then. Rancho Los Alamitos's home, as well as Compton's Dominguez Rancho's Adobe, was constructed using the adobe material.

Getting hands-on with the learning process brings the history lessons to life, Weston said, and Mud Mania has been a favorite annual activity amongst staff and guests for years since the rancho first launched the event in 1994. 

But it isn't all about playing in the mud.

Other activities include observing local insects, throwing clay pots, digging through adobe soil in the archaeology lab and plenty of mud-related games. Other items include Mud Mania trivia, fossil-making and paper crafts. 

For anyone who doesn't want to get dirty, there will be mud free fossil making, trivia and a paper crafts station. Bluegrass band Grasslands will be providing the tunes.

"By learning what goes into making just one brick, you gain a real appreciation for how the home was built by hand back in 1844 as well as an appreciation for modern day architecture," Weston said.
Tickets are $7 for adults and children 13 and older, and $5 for children 12 and younger. Parking is available for free onsite.
Organizers suggest wearing clothes with the expectation of getting muddy.
Rancho Los Cerritos's annual event Mud Mania: A Celebration of Adobe is happening from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 14, at 4600 Virginia Rd.
For more information, go to
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at
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