Here is the most comprehensive list I have ever put together of LA Museums To Explore With Kids! Most of the museums on this list are either within Los Angeles or right on the outskirts. Some of them are FREE. Some of them cost a few bucks. Either way, typically museum admittance is about the same price as going out to see a movie.
Now when I say these are “great museums to explore with kids”, only you can measure how much interest your children will have in visiting a specific museum. For example, taking a 5-year-old child to Zimmer Children’s Museum is much different then taking a 16-year-old to learn about World World II at the Los Angles Museum of the Holocaust.
Please make sure the museum is age appropriate for your children prior to taking them to visit.
All of the museums on this list also offer field trips for students, homeschoolers and scout groups. Please contact each individual museum for further details.
And now onto my list of 40 LA Museums To Explore With Kids! I hope it becomes a classic.
A+D Architecture and Design Museum offers ongoing and featured exhibits related to architecture and design.
The Autry features innovative exhibitions, a broad range of programs and extensive collection of art and artifacts, the Autry National Center explores the distinct stories and interactions of cultures and peoples, and their impact on the complex, evolving history of the American West.
Art and history exhibitions that are designed to enhance the public’s knowledge of past and present African American contributions to society. Includes modern and contemporary art, traditional African art, historical artifacts and photographs, plus over 4000 books on topics ranging from African American History, to music, art and culture.
The California Science Center provides an innovative model for science learning by combining exhibits with an on-site Science Center School and Amgen Center for Science Learning as well as a teacher professional development program. The Science Center is open to the public seven days a week, 362 days per year, with free general admission to its permanent exhibit galleries. The facility spans more than 400,000 sq. feet and includes four major exhibit areas. World of Life probes the commonalities of the living world, from the single-celled bacterium to the 100-trillion-celled human being; Creative World examines the ways people employ technology to meet their needs for transportation, communication and structures; and Ecosystems, features an unprecedented blend of nearly 400 species of live plants and animals, and hands-on exhibits in 11 immersive environments. Space Shuttle Endeavour where guests are able to see Endeavour up close and discover some of the science behind this amazing space vehicle.
7,200 square foot museum with exhibits featuring the history, rich cultural legacy and continuing contributions of Chinese Americans.
CAFAM is dedicated to international folk art and contemporary craft. They hosts a changing display of exhibitions, family programs, film screening and artists talks.
A collection of indoor and outdoor historic buildings, artifacts, museums and exhibits. The most famous parts of the Monument is Olvera Street. Other areas of interest are the Old Plaza Firehouse Museum, Avila Adobe and the Sepulveda House. Most of the exhibits are FREE.
The Fowler Museum at UCLA explores global arts and cultures with an emphasis on works from Africa, Asia, the Pacific, and the Americas—past and present. The Fowler enhances understanding and appreciation of the diverse peoples, cultures, and religions of the world through dynamic exhibitions, publications, and public programs, informed by interdisciplinary approaches and the perspectives of the cultures represented.
A 40,000 square feet extension of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), featuring contemporary abstract art exhibits. There are guided tours throughout the day. An admission ticket for MOCA is valid at both locations (Geffen and Grand Avenue) on the same day. There is a shuttle to transport ticket holders between the two downtown locations.
The Getty Center Museum is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts and the humanities that includes an art museum as well as programs for education, scholarship, and conservation.
Visit and learn about the ancient world of Greece and Rome.
Southern California’s gateway to the cosmos! Visitors can look through telescopes, explore exhibits, see live shows in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium, and enjoy spectacular views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign. Admission to the building, grounds, and parking is always FREE.
Occupying four stories, the museum contains 30,000 square-feet of music displays, interactive exhibits and video presentations. My daughter had a great time listening to all the music at the different listening stations.
The Guinness Museum features exhibits related to the famous World Book of Records.
This is home to approximately 14,000 square feet of exhibition space. Includes the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden, a five acre outdoor sculpture collection. Admission is FREE.
A collection of buildings and art objects located within a park on Hollywood Boulevard. Art displays throughout the park.
Features history, photos, posters, videos, and rock memorabilia from events at the Hollywood Bowl.
A museum dedicated to the early days of filmmaking in Hollywood The Museum features archival photographs from the silent movie days of motion picture production, movie props, historic documents and photos and postcards of the streets, buildings and residences of Hollywood during its heyday.
This museum contains four floors full of artifacts, movie props, costumes, memorabilia, dioramas, pictures, posters, old film equipment and other exhibits related to Hollywood movies and motion pictures.
The original wax museum on Hollywood Boulevard features hundreds of wax figures depicting famous people and celebrities.
The Japanese American National Museum commemorates the culture and contribution of the Japanese American community during the last century. The museum was formed in the early 1980s with Japanese American military veterans and area businessmen looking for a way to preserve Japanese American heritage.
Kidspace Museum’s believes that “when learning becomes fun, the learner does so willingly.” They offer an expansive outdoor play area that features hands-on arts & science exhibits. The first Tuesday of every month is FREE Family Night.
The mission of the Korean American Museum is to interpret and preserve its history, culture, and achievements of the Korean American community; to examine and discuss issues currently facing the community; and to explore new and innovative ways to communicate the Korean American experience to other American communities.
The Natural History Museum protects over 35 million specimens, dating back 4.5 billion years and is an authority on the “big picture” of the planet, the natural and the cultural world. They also track the Earth’s biodiversity, because knowing what is out there is the first step to conservation. It is a great resource for Southern California teachers and wonderful for families.
Preserving and sharing the rich history of the LAFD by remembering, memorializing and honoring fallen firefighters and educating the public on fire and safety tips. Dedicated to keeping the people of Los Angeles safe, and believe life safety begins with education, especially those most at risk: children & seniors. Fun to visit with kids!
Hosts a memorial to World War II Holocaust victims that presents the history of the Holocaust as objectively as possible. For this reason its exhibits presents as many original artifacts as possible and displays them in a way that allows them to tell the individual stories they contain.
LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
LACMA is the largest art museum in the western United States, with a collection that includes over 120,000 objects dating from antiquity to the present, encompassing the geographic world and nearly the entire history of art. Award-winning Arts for NexGen LACMA is the nation’s only FREE youth membership program. NexGen offers free general admission to anyone 17 and under as well as one accompanying adult. The privileges include permanent collection galleries and selected special exhibitions. To join, visit the LACMA Ticket Office or print the enrollment form and mail it in.
Guests at Madame Tussauds interact with lifelike celebrity figures without ropes or barriers between them. You can walk up and see stars like Johnny Depp, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman and Jennifer Lopez.
Founded in 1979, MOCA is the only museum in Los Angeles devoted exclusively to contemporary art. It is committed to the collection, presentation, and interpretation of work produced since 1940 in all media, and to preserving that work for future generations. They have a total 6,800 works of art. Today the museum is housed in three unique facilities: MOCA Grand Avenue, The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, and MOCA Pacific Design Center.
This small museum features exhibits that are related to old technology.
This museum focuses on two central themes through uniqe exhibits: the dynamics of racism and prejudice in America and the history of the Holocaust – the ultimate example of man’s inhumanity to man.
Noah’s Ark is a special space within The Skirball Museum dedicated especially to children. The space features a floor-to-ceiling wooden ark filled with a variety of animals, where children can play, build, climb, explore, make music and more. Admission is FREE.
Page Museum is the world’s only active, urban Ice Age excavation site. Inside they showcase fossils, animals, and plants that have been discovered here – mammoths, saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, and more. Outside check out the La Brea Tar Pits where tar is still bubbling, and the active fossil excavation sites to see what excavators have uncovered today.
Petersen’s features hot rods, celebrity automobiles, land-speed record cars, motorcycles, artwork and sculptures.
Ripley’s Museum showcases odd trivia from the Ripley’s Believe It or Not book.
Travel Town, the Los Angeles City Recreation and Park Department’s unique display of vehicles representing many modes and eras of conveyances, is visited each week by hundreds of youngsters and adults who are interested in the development of transportation. Located on a 9-acre site at 5200 Hollingsworth Drive in Griffith Park, Travel Town is open to the public daily from 10a.m. to 5 p.m. There is no admission charge. Displaying everything from a 104-ton locomotive to a one-horse shay, Travel Town offers its visitors what for most of them is the only opportunity they ever have to see and examine at close hand many different types of vehicles.
A museum on the campus of The University of Southern California that features contemporary and old master exhibitions, as well as tours, lectures, music and other events. Admission is FREE.
Paintings, artifacts and other exhibits related to California stagecoach and mining history. Admission is FREE. They also do a great little field trip for kids.
The Zimmer Children’s Museum’s mission is to make a better society through interactive learning, creative self-expression and art experiences for children and families. They serve children specifically ages 0-8. In addition to their regular hours, the museum will be open every Monday in July and August.
Happy Field Tripping!
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. All points of view are my own. Information for this post was derived from LA Tourist.com and each individual museum’s website.