LA is a wonderful place to find Kid-Friendly Museums that offer fun, interactive experiences. Whether your child is curious about fossils, music, science, or art you can find a museum that caters to his/her interests.
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Discovery Cube Los Angeles
11800 Foothill Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 91342
Kids won’t run out of things to do at the Discovery Cube. Whether kids are exploring the “Science of Hockey,” having fun in the “Discovery Market,” or learning about California’s natural resources, everything at the Discovery Cube is designed to be touched and played with, and serves as a way for kids to learn about science. One of the newest exhibits is “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer” which gives kids the chance to navigate mazes and obstacles as they learn teamwork, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. (An online admission price of $12.95 applies to both children and adults).
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum
5801 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
Wander through the Museum and feel like you’re walking back in time. On display you’ll find thousands of different fossils from 650 different species, including dire wolves, ancient horses, the Columbian mammoth, coyotes, and more. Additionally, at the Fossil Lab, families are given the chance to see paleontologists at work right in front of your eyes! Basic admission prices are $12 for adults, $9 for students ages 13-17, and children 3-12 are $5. However, if you opt to participate in an extra activity (such as viewing “Titans of the Ice Age 3D”) there are additional fees. Outside the Museum building, be sure to wander through the Tar Pits — “the world’s most famous Ice Age excavation site.” You’ll find excavators at work sorting through fossils at Project 23 as well as sculptures and large grassy areas perfect for picnics.
Los Angeles Fire Department Museum
1335 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
Kids who love learning about firefighters will love visiting the L.A. Fire Department Museum in Hollywood. Families will view classic LAFD vehicles and equipment, memorabilia, and there’s also a special kids education center. The Museum is housed in Old Fire Station 27, is open each Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and offers free admission.
Pretend City Children’s Museum
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618
At Pretend City, kids have the chance to be actively engaged and learn how the real world works. Pretend city describes itself as “the world in a nut-shell.” 17 interactive exhibits and activities allow kids to practice problem solving, critical thinking, math skills, and more. Exhibits include an art studio, a cafe, a post office, a marina, and more. Admission is $12.50 for each visitor; infants one year old and younger are free. The Museum is a nut-free facility.
Petersen Automative Museum
6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Petersen Automative Museum has more than 25 exhibits showcasing more than 300 cars, including famous Hollywood cars, vintage cars, Hot Rods, and Pixar Cars. The Museum’s design includes three floors (the History floor, the Industry floor, and the Artistry floor). Kids will most likely deem their favorite part the Disney/Pixar Cars-themed Mechanical Institute Discovery Center — a fully interactive experience that allows kids to create their own virtual car. Admission is $15 for adults, $7 for children 3-12, children 13-17 are $12, and children under 3 are free.
Kidspace Children’s Museum
480 N. Arroyo Blvd., Pasadena, CA 91103
Geared for kids ten and under, Kidspace Children’s Museum will have your kids completely engaged and entertained. The Museum’s mission is “nurturing the potential of all children through kid-driven experiences inspiring them to become joyful, active learners.” Through hands-on learning activities, children are learning about physics, play in a special outdoor play area, create and invent in the Imagination Workshop, and much more. Some exhibits utilize water, so make sure you come prepared with towels and a change of clothes and shoes. You’ll also find an on-site cafe, the Kidspace Cafe. Admission is $13 for adults and children (children under 1 are free).
Travel Town Museum
5200 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Located in Griffith Park, Travel Town is a perfect spot to visit for kids who love trains! Learn about railroad history in Los Angeles, walk among a variety of railroad passenger cars, and take a ride on a miniature train (tickets for rides are $2.75 each). On the 2nd Saturday of each month, docent-guided tours are offered as well. They’re open 364 days of the year (except for Christmas) and there is no admission fee.
Zimmer Children’s Museum
6505 Wilshire Blvd. #100, Los Angeles, CA 90048
The Zimmer Children’s Museum is the only children’s museum located within the city of Los Angeles. The Zimmer is designed for children 8 and younger. There are more than “10,000 square-feet of discovery-based exhibits” as well as classes and special programs. Click here for a description of the exhibits. Parents of little ones will appreciate the special time designated for those under 2 years of age (each Wednesday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am). The Museum is open six days a week (closed on Saturdays). Admission is $7.50 for all who visit (children under 1 are free. Grandparents are free on Thursdays when accompanied with a grandchild).
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is home to more than 120,000 objects from around the globe and dating back to ancient times all the way to the present. You’ll find Asian art, Latin American art, Islamic art, European art, and modern art. And even if you don’t consider your child highly interested in visiting an art museum, LACMA offers a great deal — NexGen, which provides free youth membership to children 17 and under (admission is also free for one accompanying adult). With such a great deal on admission, you can come quite often, stay as long as your child can handle, and tailor each visit to your child’s interests. The Boone Children’s Gallery allows kids and adults to pick up a paint brush and make some art of their own. Story time is also offered twice a week. And be sure to visit “Metropolis II,” the ongoing kinetic sculpture that represents the pace and noise of living in a busy city. Kids will love watching the miniature cars zooming around the roadways. Admission is $15 for adults and free for children seventeen and under. There are also on-site dining options available, including the LACMA cafe (a cafeteria-style, family-friendly eatery).
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90007
There’s really something for everyone at the Natural History Museum. Their exhibits include Dinosaur Hall (where you can see a trio of different aged/different sized T. Rex fossils), the Gem and Mineral Hall (including more than 2,000 specimens of gems and minerals from around the world), the Becoming Los Angeles exhibit (which tells the 500-year history of our city), the outside Nature Gardens, the Animal Habitat Halls (featuring impressive dioramas), and much more. And while many parts of the museum are hands-off, there are also sections that are entirely interactive and very kid-friendly. Be sure to visit the Hall of Birds (featuring interactive exhibits), the Discovery Center (complete with microscopes, touchable fossils and furs, and a polar bear collected in Norway back in 1964), and the Nature Lab (giving kids a hands-on sense of the nature surrounding us on a daily basis).
California Science Center
700 Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037
The California Science Center has it all. Plenty of things for kids to do, touch, and experience first-hand. All the exhibits encourage kids to ask questions and find out answers about “how” and “why” things are the way they are. Kids can learn about ecosystems, the Creative World, and the World of Life. The Science Center is also home to the space shuttle Endeavour, the planet’s only External Tank, an IMAX Theater, and much more. Be sure to check out their newest exhibit, The Science Behind Pixar Exhibition which takes a look at the science and technology involved in making some of our favorite films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and more. (The exhibit will be at the Science Center through April 16th). And for parents, there’s the price. General admission to the Science Center is free though there is a slight charge to see the space shuttle and an admissions fee to the Pixar exhibit.
GRAMMY Museum at L.A. Live
800 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90015
If your kids love music, then the GRAMMY Museum should definitely be on your must-visit list. In addition to exhibits showing how the actual Grammy award has evolved over time, the Museum has several permanent exhibits about different aspects of the music-making process. Kids will enjoy seeing a variety of memorabilia including hand-written lyrics, photos, costumes, and more. Be sure to spend some time in the “Roland LIVE” section where families can play electronic musical instruments.
Skirball Cultural Center
2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049
Since it opened in 1996, the Skirball Cultural Center has been inviting visitors to come to its campus to “participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope.” In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Skirball hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including sing-alongs, musical performances, and film screenings. Kids will especially enjoy the “Archaeological Dig Site and Discovery Center” (where children can try to find artifacts buried in sand) and the Family Art Studio (where children and their parents can create their own art projects). One of the definite must-sees at the Skirball is Noah’s Ark. In this special place, children can build, climb, explore, and play while marveling at the floor-to-ceiling wooden ark filled with unique animals. The Skirball is closed on Mondays, and advance-tickets to Noah’s Ark are recommended. (Admission is $12 for adults, $9 for children over 12, and $7 for children 2-12. Children under two are free).
Kidseum at Bowers Museum
1802 N. Main St., Santa Ana, CA 92706
Kidseum gives kids the opportunity to learn about cultures and art from around the world. Kids will find many ways to be actively engaged here including creating art, being an archaeologist for a day, traveling through time (through the magic of the Green Screen Time Machine), and more. At Kidseum, it’s all about “igniting imagination through exploration.” Daily activities also include face painting, a drop-in art studio, and story times. Kidseum is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Admission is $8 for visitors 2 years old and older.