Los Angeles’ Museum of Ice Cream is an exercise in selfies—not science. Which is good because the whole point of the dessert is its childlike simplicity. (And its sweetness, a point perfectly made by Melissa Kravitz’s anti-savory screed) Why complicate it? Of course, I probably should have guessed the exhibit/museum/visual playground’s bent at the beginning of my ice cream journey when I picked up a hot pink rotary phone and a well-known stoner/actor (cough Seth Rogen cough) instructed me to jump up and down and scream for ice cream.
I did. Obviously.
Having made its sold-out debut run last summer in New York City, the Museum of Ice Cream has now found a second life in a large warehouse on Seventh Place in the downtown Los Angeles Arts District. (Which warehouse? The pink one, naturally.) Four times bigger than its predecessor, the newly revamped version boasts 10 rooms featuring ice cream and ice cream-adjacent sugary delights, all featuring a riot of over-saturated colors and dad-friendly puns. (See: the California room and its cameos from Scoop Dog, Brad Pittstachio and Jimmies Fallon.) It should come as no surprise that designer/mastermind Maryellis Bunn once worked for Instagram. From the banana split room (Featuring 10,000 bananas … no doubt fuel for the 100 monkeys on 100 typewriters that will one day put me out of a job.), to the oversized maze of melting popsicles, to the parade of glowing gummy bears, saturated colors and photogenic whimsicality abound. Two words: sprinkle pool. The joy that comes from swimming Scrooge McDuck-style through 100 million sprinkles far outweighs the danger of social media fatigue which will surely hit when I discover hundreds of my best friends have done the same.
Photo by Katie Gibbs
Employees add to this world of pure imagination, speaking like Willy Wonka’s minions without ever breaking character. “Mint grows thanks to water, soil and positive affirmations,” one told me in the Mint and Coco grow-room before handing me mochi from My/Mo Mochi to sample. “So be sure to send our plants some good vibes.” Did I care that the science doesn’t check out? (No.) I did what any adult with sugar already coursing through her veins would do—grabbed a bottle of “Mint Chip H20” and whispered a few sweet-nothings to the plants while I spritzed.
Samples of both ice cream and candy were abundant in nearly every room—starting with a scoop of salted-caramel banana ice cream from Santa Barbara creamery McConnells (other sponsors’ include Salt & Straw, Coolhaus and Cream—so this could vary with your visit) and ending up with a guessing game tribute to breakfast so ingeniously flavored I’m going to decline from running the surprise. (Confession: I had to be told what I was eating.) By the time my hour was up I had successfully consumed the kind of lunch 6-year-old me always dreamed of. Maybe it was just the sugar talking, but despite a schedule that left me running to the next stop on my never ending oh-so-adult to-do list, the Museum of Ice Cream left me grinning and feeling like a little kid again, if only for a moment.
And that’s sweet.
Photo by Katie Gibbs
Laura Studarus is a Los Angeles-based writer. Please don’t stand between her and any hazelnut flavored dessert.