The much anticipated Museum of Ice Cream, MOIC for short, has finally opened in Los Angeles, California. Washed in a fabulous pink hue, an industrial warehouse on the periphery of the Arts District neighborhood of DTLA has transformed into a fun and imaginative space that’s worthy of social media adulation. Think Willy Wonka meets Jeff Koons and the result is MOIC LA – a vibrant, playful, whimsical, quirky, tasty pop-up that’s a multisensory experience.
Scratch and sniff on banana themed wallpaper, sample a mini ice cream cone of charcoal cookie dough, swing on a giant Neapolitan ice cream sandwich, wade in a pool of rainbow sprinkles (sorry folks, they’re not real edible sprinkles), and of course, feast your eyes on all the eye-popping modern art. From suspended bananas to giant melted popsicles to life-size gummy bears, you’re the Alice in this wonderland and you won’t ever want to leave.
The brainchild of partners Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora, the Museum of Ice Cream originally debuted in New York City last summer, selling out within days. However, the East Coast original was smaller in scope and scale, whereas MOIC LA is bigger and touted as more ambitious. While the intended target audience are millennials and young consumers eager to shell out $29.00 a pop just to capture the perfect selfie, the museum’s appeal is universal.
As a Gen-X’er myself, I can honestly say I had a blast at MOIC LA and my three year old did too. And while not all the curated tastings were to our personal liking (it’s all subjective anyway) the engaging exhibits left me giddy with delight and both of us certainly captivated. If my tyke had his way we would’ve rotated between eating gummy bears by the handful, playing ping pong (yes, there’s that too), and bathing in a pool of sprinkles. Bathing. In. Sprinkles. Now really, if that doesn’t pique your interest then I don’t know what will.
The Museum of Ice Cream Los Angeles is located at 2018 East 7th Place and runs from April 22 to May 29, but due to popular demand additional dates have been added until August 2017. Operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and closed on Tuesdays. Tickets are $29 for adults (age 13+), $18 for seniors (60+) and children (3-12). Kids under three are free. Tickets can only be purchased online and tickets sold by third parties won’t be accepted. Valet parking is available for $6, but there is street parking, as well as lots nearby. Just be wary of your surroundings, especially at night since this is one of the grittier sides of downtown. Be sure to arrive within 20 minutes of your scheduled time slot or you forfeit your admission. Just to reiterate and to be perfectly clear, this is not a museum in the traditional sense of the word, and don’t expect to be doled out ice cream by the gallon nor will any of the cold sweet stuff actually be sold. For more information and ticket sales, click here.
Pink Telephone Room
After you’ve made your entrance, grab a handful of Dove chocolates from inside an ice cream cart (just don’t peek) and cross your fingers that you’ve scooped up the golden wrapped nugget that wins you a mystery prize. Afterwards, enter the room of pink old school rotary phones and listen to a voice recording of a mystery celeb. Thereafter, officially begin your self-paced tour of the museum.
The California Room
The Cali themed room will reveal the first free sampling of the day by California based ice cream purveyors, which rotate on a weekly basis. On the day of our visit we were treated to a cup of McConnell’s fine ice cream.
Scratch & Sniff and then Swing!
After the California Room it’s time to go bananas (cue Gwen Stefani’s, Hollaback Girl – “B-A-N-A-N-A-S…”)! Scratch and sniff on bananafied wallpaper, swing on a pair of swings, and admire the installation at the Banana Split Room.
Mint Chip Room
Take a whiff of mint leaves planted in cocoa husks at the Mint Chip Room. Also experience your second sampling here, a mint chocolate chip mochi from My/Mo. I’d have to say this was my fave of all the freebies.
Of all the rooms, this felt more like an afterthought in my opinion and served no real purpose. Nevertheless, it still provided a colorful backdrop for picture taking.
Photo Booth #1
There are two photo booths at the museum, this one being the first. You’ll find the second one at the end of the tour. Here’s a tip for shorties like myself: stand as far back from the screen or the brief video clip captured of you will only show three fourths of your head. Totally not cool.
This room is dedicated to giant melted popsicles by artist Baker’s Son. So fun and Instagram gold. Miniature versions of these sculptures are also sold at the gift shop for $65 a pop(sicle).
The Gummy Room
Snag a scoop of gummy bears while posing with giant gummy bear statues in this room.
Black Ice Cream Room
At the Black Ice Cream Room you’re greeted with an installation by Abel Benton titled Chaos and Corruption on Something Innocent. Yeah, ok. Enjoy your sample of charcoal cookie dough here while trying to make sense of the art. For me, the flavor and texture of the black cookie dough was reminiscent of sweet Filipino ube paste, so I genuinely liked it.
Rainbow Sprinkles Pool
Of the over the top installations at the Museum of Ice Cream LA, the pièces de résistance would definitely have to be the Sprinkles Pool, which contains gazillions of rainbow colored sprinkles (aka, jimmies in other parts of the country). Run your fingers and toes through the antimicrobial plastic sprinkles, shower yourself with them, and just have fun. Fun, fun, fun. That’s the key to this unconventional museum anyway. Just be aware that you’re only allotted a limited amount of time at this installation, so make the most of it.
I Scream for Breakfast Installation
The last installation of the museum also provides for the final tasting of the day, a strawberry pancake ice cream sandwich distributed through a wall adorned with pink frying pans.
The Lounge & Museum Shop
Your tour of the Museum of Ice Cream ends in this multipurpose space that includes the above mentioned installation and sample, a photo booth, a ping pong table, and the museum gift shop.
Outside of MOIC LA is an outdoor space available for museum patrons to play or just hang out in.