MomsLA is your source for Things to do in Los Angeles With Kids
The Autry Museum of the American West
4700 Western Heritage Way, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm (Tuesday through Friday)
10:00 am to 5:00 pm (Saturday and Sunday)
closed on Mondays
The Autry Museum celebrates the history, art, and culture of the American West. The Museum is home to a number of permanent exhibits that help visitors get a sense of how things have changed (and remained the same) over the years. The Autry is considered to be the only museum of its kind that combines Western history and cultures with Native American perspectives.
The Autry also offers a number of family-friendly and interactive activities. Kids will have fun learning how movie sound effects are made, panning for “gold,” sitting on top of a mock-up of a horse (in front of a screen) and pretending to ride along in a western film!
Throughout the year, the Autry also hosts a number of special events including the annual American Indian Arts Marketplace, lectures and workshops, screenings of Gene Autry films, guided scavenger hunts throughout the museum, and more.
Play! is the newest exhibit at The Autry and will be on display until January 7th, 2018. Play! “explores the role of toys and games across cultures and over time.” Wander through exhibits showcasing stuffed animals and dolls (including the largest stuffed bear my son and I have ever seen!), classic board games, video games, outdoor games, and more. These toys and games also serve as a reflection of the values and customs of the times. It was interesting to watch commercials from years past for toys that my nine-year-old son plays with now, including Hot Wheels, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Slinky, and Transformers.
In addition, families will appreciate the opportunity to play many games while at the museum. Tables are set up with classic games (Jacks, Checkers, Clue); dress-up stations are available for some super cute photos; participate in story time sessions; and have some fun with outdoor games (my son and I played Tetherball!).
The Autry offers free admission on the second Tuesday of each month.
General admission is $14 for adults, $6 for children ages 3-12, $10 for students with current ID and seniors (60 and older), and free for children younger than 3. AAA members receive 10% off adult admission and membership to the Autry.
Membership to the Autry includes many benefits including unlimited museum admission; free admission to select programs and events; invitations to members-only special events; discounts in the Autry Store and Crossroads West Cafe; and discounted prices for special events and performances. Family Memberships begin at $75 a year.
Parking: Parking at the Autry is free!
Families will find a large dining selection at the on-site Crossroads West Cafe. The Cafe “honors the diverse cultural traditions and stories of the American West,” as it “weaves a connection between the past and present.” Menu offerings include salads (Pacific Salmon Salad), burgers (Buffalo Burger), sandwiches (Pulled Pork BBQ), Kids Selections (chicken tenders or cheese quesadillas), and more. Breakfast is served on the weekends from 9:00 am to 11:00 am. The Cafe is open from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Tuesdays through Fridays and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
The Autry is located within Griffith Park which means there’s no shortage of things to do nearby. If your kids are in a cowboy mood, you might want to take a short drive over to the Griffith Park Pony Rides. Kids can ride a slow, medium, or fast pony; or go for a wagon ride. If your kids are interested in trains, then stop by nearby Travel Town. Families can also go for a spin on the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, a Griffith Park family favorite since 1937. And while the Los Angeles Zoo is located directly across the street from the Autry, it’s best saved for a different day.