Los Angeles is home to some of the best museums in the world. Many of which feature kid-driven experiences making them suitable for the whole family.
During our most recent visit to Los Angeles, we visited a number of these kid-friendly museums with our 18-month-old and had a wonderful time.
Table of Contents
- 1. Griffith Park
- 2. La Brea Tar Pits
- 3. California Science Center
- 4. Getty Center
- 5. Natural History Museum
- 6. Griffith Observatory
- 7. Exposition Park
- 8. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
- 9. Discovery Cube, Los Angeles
- 10. Boone Children’s Gallery
- 11. Hammer Museum
- 12. Petersen Automotive Museum
- 13. Aquarium Of The Pacific
- 14. Exposition Park Rose Garden
- 15. Kidspace Children’s Museum
- 16. Skirball Cultural Center
- 17. Los Angeles Zoo
- 18. Hancock Park
- 19. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
- 20. Autry Museum of the American West
- 21. Universal Studios Hollywood
- 22. Discovery Cube, Orange County
- 23. Battleship IOWA
- 24. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
- 25. GRAMMY Museum
- 26. Japanese American National Museum
- 27. Chinese American Museum
- 28. Getty Villa
- 29. Cayton Children’s Museum
- 30. California African American Museum
- 31. Heritage Square Museum
- 32. March Field Air Museum
- 33. La Plaza de Cultura y Artes
- 34. Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum
- 35. Travel Town Museum
- 36. USC Pacific Asia Museum
- 37. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
- 38. Pretend City Children’s Museum
- 39. Museum of Latin American Art
- 40. Los Angeles Fire Department Museum
- 41. Museum of Flying
- 42. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
- 43. Kidseum at the Bowers Museum
- 44. Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Garden
1. Griffith Park
With over 4,310 acres of land, Griffith Park is a nature escape within the hustle and bustle of LA.
Home to more than 200 species of birds, this park offers multiple attractions and activities for families including the Bronson Caves, The Ranger Station and the incredible merry-go-round ride which features 68 horses.
Views from Griffith Park include that of the world-famous Hollywood Sign and downtown Los Angeles.
2. La Brea Tar Pits
Transport back to the ice age with a trip to the La Brea Tar Pits.
This incredible palaeontology museum is filled with multiple old-age fossilized animals; from mighty mammoths to jaw-dropping saber-toothed cats.
This museum has a number of interactive exhibits suitable for children, the most popular of which is the dusting of fake fossils.
3. California Science Center
The California Science Center is a haven for science-loving kids and covers various topics including; ecosystems, aerospace technology, biology, and fire safety.
This highly educational museum presents information using a range of large installations, interactive displays and IMAX theatres which make understanding seemly difficult topics relatively easy.
4. Getty Center
The J. Paul Getty Museum (more commonly known as the Getty Center) is a free museum and garden located in Brentwood.
This is one of the most famous museums in Los Angeles and features a rich family-centred educational programme.
During select times of the year, the Getty Center also hosts a family festive which features local dance groups, story times, gallery activities and art-making workshops.
Alongside this, you’ll also find the Garden Concert which takes place in the beautiful Getty Gardens and features professional children’s musical artists.
5. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum is exceptionally versatile and engages children with several critical subjects including; oceans, gems, minerals, animals and perhaps, most popular, dinosaurs.
Tickets to the Natural History Museum cost $15 for adults (non-members), while children between the ages of 3 and 12 cost just $7.
Meanwhile, children under the age of 2 are welcome to visit the Natural History Museum for free with any paying adult.
6. Griffith Observatory
Situated on the slope of Mount Hollywood, Griffith Observatory is one of the most famous museums in Los Angeles and the perfect place to learn about the solar system.
The museum is best known for its iconic dome-topped building and features a variety of exhibits on astronomy and science, as well as the planetarium and telescope which are used for both scientific research and public education.
7. Exposition Park
Exposition Park is a large urban park in Los Angeles, California, located just south of downtown.
This park hosts a number of attractions and museums including; the California African American Museum, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and the Space Shuttle Endeavour.
8. Los Angeles County Museum of Art
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is an art museum located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile neighbourhood of Los Angeles, California.
This museum is home to a number of different styles and artist concepts including complex abstract paintings of modern Korean art and transcendental art of the late and early 30s and 40s.
Alongside this, the museum offers a variety of programs and activities for children of all ages including; family Sundays and art classes.
9. Discovery Cube, Los Angeles
The Discovery Cube is a dedicated children’s museum that offers an extensive range of hands-on exhibits that focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of subjects, including space science, environmental science, health and human biology, and engineering and technology.
Alongside this, visitors will also find a number of travelling exhibits that change periodically, as well as a large IMAX theatre.
10. Boone Children’s Gallery
Situated inside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art you’ll find the Boone Children’s Gallery.
This gallery has been specifically designed for children and displays a number of architectural structures, paintings, and other art installations.
Unsurprisingly, this museum hosts an extensive range of kid-friendly activities and workshops throughout the year that is sure to engage the creative minds of young children.
11. Hammer Museum
Sadly (for some), the Hammer Museum is not a museum about hammers.
Instead, this museum is home to collections of the sixteenth to twentieth-century artwork which are derivative of a French background with famed artists such as Claude Monet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
As a parent, I understand that this may sound out of reach for most young children.
However, the museum also offers some family-friendly exhibits and other educational and interactive opportunities which are designed to be accessible and engaging for children.
12. Petersen Automotive Museum
The Peterson Automotive Museum is the perfect museum for toddlers with a love of all things wheels.
Here children (and adults) can witness the inner makings of Tesla and Hypercars 2 as well as see a number of race cars and famous cars featured in films and TV shows.
13. Aquarium Of The Pacific
The Aquarium of the Pacific is a public aquarium which features a variety of exhibits showcasing marine life from the Pacific Ocean and its surrounding regions, including Southern California and Baja, the Northern Pacific, and the Tropical Pacific.
The aquarium has over 11,000 animals from over 500 species in various exhibits such as the shark lagoon, jellies exhibit, and the Lorikeet Forest.
Alongside this, the aquarium also has interactive exhibits, such as the sea otter, and the shark touch pools, where both children and adults are able to touch the animals.
14. Exposition Park Rose Garden
Exposition Park Rose Garden is a free public garden located in Exposition Park which features a collection of over 2,500 rose plants representing over 200 varieties of roses.
This garden is well known for its wide variety of rose colours, including red, pink, yellow, and white alongside picturesque paths, shaded seating areas, picnic benches and a large outdoor playground.
15. Kidspace Children’s Museum
The Kidspace Children’s Museum is unsurprisingly a dedicated children’s museum located in Pasadena, northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
This incredible museum features interactive exhibits and hands-on activities that focus on science, art, and nature, and are designed to inspire curiosity, creativity, and learning in children.
Alongside this, you’ll a variety of programs such as science workshops, art classes, and special events throughout the year.
16. Skirball Cultural Center
The Skirball Cultural Center is a nonprofit museum and cultural organisation which is dedicated to preserving and exploring the Jewish heritage and American democratic ideals.
The centre features a variety of exhibits and programs that explore Jewish history, culture, and art, as well as American society and culture.
Alongside this, the centre also offers classes, workshops and lectures, and other educational programs for visitors of all ages.
17. Los Angeles Zoo
Exposing your toddler to animals is critical when fostering a sense of caring and empathy. What better way to do so than visit the Los Angeles Zoo?
During your time here you’ll meet lots of exotic creatures from Cambodian elephants to koalas and wombats.
The zoo also provides animal feeding, where your toddler can extend a hand to a giraffe or flamingo.
We recommend hopping on a safari shuttle that can make your visit less tough on your toddler’s feet.
18. Hancock Park
Hancock Park is a refined space filled with monuments dating back to the 1920s. The park’s picturesque mise-en-scene is home to various old celebrities like Howard Hughes and Mae West.
As you walk or drive through the park, you can’t miss the signature Los Angeles palm trees lining the median strips.
Aside from that, the main attractions involve architectural works. One of these includes the El Royale building designed by William Douglas Lee.
The park’s prestigious appearance may appeal to your toddler. Otherwise, you can lay a blanket and have an Instagram-worthy picnic scene instead.
19. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
Sparking an interest in filmmaking for your child is best done at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
While you can walk along the exhibitions detailing historic film collections such as Casablanca, children might be more interested in the family program.
This program explores the rich history of cinematography and filmmaking. It delves deep into how movies are created and allows your toddler to explore moviemaking tools.
After getting a general brief, they can begin to experiment with these tools to create their very own film piece.
20. Autry Museum of the American West
The Autry Museum of the American West is the perfect place to immerse your toddler in all things American West related.
During your time here you’ll hear stories, watch films, and catch fun festivals as well as see more than 500,000 art installations – a large portion of which belongs to the reputable Southwest Museum of the American Indian Collection.
21. Universal Studios Hollywood
Los Angeles is home to a number of different theme parks, and while Universal Studios Hollywood isn’t labelled as a museum, the theme park still has plenty of learning opportunities for young children as well as older kids.
Themed lands including The Wizarding World of Harry Potter are sure to bring the famous J.K Rowling books to life, while The Studio Tour is sure to delight budding film enthusiasts.
22. Discovery Cube, Orange County
While the Los Angeles Discovery Cube focuses more on transportation, the Orange County Discovery Cube is all about science.
Exhibits and displays here include; the physics lab and Bed of Nails as well as the organics waste lab which helps to introduce the importance of sustainable practices.
For dino-loving kiddos be sure to check out the Dino Quest and Planetary Research Station – this was our little one’s favourite area. As well as the Vault exhibition which allows little ones to become secret agents.
23. Battleship IOWA
The Battleship USS Iowa was commissioned in 1943 and served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War before being decommissioned in 1990.
Today it resides in the Port of Los Angeles, California and acts as a floating museum offering a range of exhibits and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages.
The ship’s exhibits include interactive displays, historical artefacts, and photographs that detail the ship’s history and the role it played in various conflicts.
Visitors can also explore the ship’s various decks and compartments, including the bridge, the engine room, and the crew’s quarters.
The museum’s hands-on activities include the chance to fire a replica of a 16-inch gun, a virtual reality tour of the ship and a Battle Stations interactive exhibit.
24. Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is a walk-through attraction located next to Cabrillo Beach.
The aquarium is dedicated to educating visitors about the marine life that inhabits the Southern Los Angeles region and features a variety of exhibits that showcase the diverse marine life of the region, including fish, invertebrates, and mammals.
Visitors can see different species of fish such as the grunion, leopard sharks, and sea horses, as well as different types of sea stars, sea urchins, and other invertebrates.
The aquarium offers visitors a range of interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, including touch tanks where visitors can learn about and touch different marine animals, and a tide pool exhibit which allows visitors to observe marine life in a natural setting.
25. GRAMMY Museum
The GRAMMY Museum is a museum located in downtown Los Angeles, California, that is dedicated to the history and cultural significance of music and the recording industry.
The museum features a variety of exhibits and interactive displays that explore the creative process of music-making and the impact of music on society.
The exhibits highlight the achievements and contributions of notable musicians and industry professionals and showcase a wide range of musical genres and eras.
The museum’s exhibits include artefacts, photographs, interactive displays, and listening stations that allow visitors to hear and learn about music from different time periods and genres.
Some of the exhibits focus on specific artists, such as Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift, and Fleetwood Mac, and others explore different aspects of the music industry such as the history of the Grammy Awards, and the role of technology in music production.
26. Japanese American National Museum
The Japanese American National Museum (JANM) t is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of Japanese Americans.
The museum was founded in 1985 and is the largest museum in the United States dedicated to the history and culture of Japanese Americans.
The museum features a variety of exhibits and interactive displays that explore the experiences of Japanese Americans, including their immigration, internment during World War II, and contributions to American society.
The museum’s exhibits include artefacts, photographs, documents, and interactive displays that provide a comprehensive look at the history and culture of Japanese Americans.
The exhibits explore the history of Japanese immigration to the United States, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the contributions of Japanese Americans to American society.
The exhibits also feature the works of Japanese American artists, and the museum’s collection includes over 130,000 objects, photographs, documents and art.
27. Chinese American Museum
The Chinese American Museum (CAM) was founded in 2003 and is dedicated to preserving and sharing the history and culture of Chinese Americans.
Situated inside the historic Garnier Building, this museum feature artefacts, photographs, documents, and interactive displays that provide a comprehensive look at the history and culture of Chinese Americans.
The exhibits explore the history of Chinese immigration to the United States, the contributions of Chinese Americans to American society and the challenges that Chinese Americans have faced.
The exhibits also feature the works of Chinese American artists, and the museum’s collection includes over 20,000 objects, photographs, documents, and art.
28. Getty Villa
The Getty Villa is a museum located in the Pacific Palisades neighbourhood of Los Angeles, California and is the second location of the J. Paul Getty Museum (the other being the Getty Center in Brentwood).
This villa is a replica of an ancient Roman country house, and it features a collection of more than 44,000 pieces of work dating from 6,500 BC. This includes Roman antiquities as well as Greek and Etruscan art to name just a few.
The Getty Villa’s collection is divided into several galleries, each devoted to a different theme or time period. The galleries feature sculptures, vases, pottery, jewellery, coins, and other artefacts which are sure to delight budding creatives.
29. Cayton Children’s Museum
The Cayton Children’s Museum is a dedicated children’s centre that provides hands-on programmes designed to enrich children with an understanding of roles and responsibilities.
Programmes here include; “To the Rescue!” which sees children act as first responders and “In Tune with Nature” sees kids technologically immersed in a natural habitat.
30. California African American Museum
The California African American Museum aims to enrich the public with knowledge of African American history and hosts a variety of exhibitions and historic pieces.
The museum interprets these artistic expressions using multiple mediums such as photography and art.
Alongside permanent exhibits, the museum also hosts a number of special events such as King’s Day.
This event pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. It follows a performance hosted by the Inner Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.
31. Heritage Square Museum
The Heritage Square Museum is designed to educate guests on the growth of Southern California from the Civil War to the early twentieth century and features a collection of historic buildings which have been especially moved to this site, including Victorian homes, a church, a school, and a train depot.
These buildings have been restored to their original condition and are open to visitors, who can explore the interiors and learn about the history and architecture of each building.
The museum’s exhibits and programs are designed to be interactive and engaging for visitors of all ages, including toddlers.
The museum offers guided tours of the historic buildings, and docents dressed in period clothing, which provide visitors with an immersive experience of what life was like in Southern California during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Meanwhile, children are also able to participate in hands-on activities such as churning butter, playing with 19th-century toys and trying on Victorian clothing.
32. March Field Air Museum
The March Field Air Museum is home to more than 30,000 artefacts and 107 aircraft which are used to educate visitors on the developments of military aviation over the last century.
The museum’s exhibits cover the history of military aviation from World War I to the present day and include a wide range of aircraft, engines, weapons, uniforms, and other artefacts.
The museum’s aircraft collection includes a diverse range of planes from different eras and conflicts, such as WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and more recent conflicts.
Some of the highlights of the collection include a B-24 Liberator, a B-25 Mitchell, a P-51 Mustang, an F-86 Sabre and a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird.
Visitors can walk through the exhibits, see the planes up close and learn about the history, technology, and development of the aircraft.
33. La Plaza de Cultura y Artes
La Plaza de Cultura y Artes is a multicultural museum exploring the backgrounds of American Mexicans and Latinos.
Alongside permanent exhibitions here you’ll find a number of special exhibits including “The Legacy of Cacao at La Plaza Cocina” which unveils the historic connotation of chocolate and its significance in old civilizations.
The exhibit is presented through professional photographs and various artefacts that are sure to pique your child’s interest.
34. Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum
The Zimmerman Automobile Driving Museum is the perfect museum for kids who love cars – or, let’s face it anything with wheels!
This museum features a collection of classic cars, trucks and motorcycles from different eras, makes and models which visitors can see up close.
Exhibits allow guests to learn about the history, technology and development of the automobile industry and features a range of different family-friendly programs and activities that are designed to be interactive and engaging for visitors of all ages.
This includes; scavenger hunts, where visitors can search for answers to car-related questions, a mechanic tent, where visitors can learn about how cars work and get hands-on experience with tools and parts, and costumes, where kids can dress up as car mechanics, drivers and other car-related characters.
35. Travel Town Museum
Situated inside Griggth Park, the Travel Town Museum is a railway museum which is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of railroad transportation in the Western United States.
The museum features a collection of over 30 historic locomotives and railcars, as well as a variety of artefacts, photographs, and interactive exhibits that tell the story of railroad transportation in the region.
Exhibits at the museum include a wide range of railway equipment, from steam engines and passenger cars to freight cars and cabooses which provide visitors with a chance to learn bout the history, technology, and development of railway transportation.
Toddlers and young children are sure to particularly enjoy a ride on the miniature railway which operates on weekends and holidays.
36. USC Pacific Asia Museum
The USC Pacific Asia Museum (PAM) aspires to preserve and showcase the art and culture of Pacific Asia.
The museum’s collection includes over 15,000 works of art from across Pacific Asia, including ceramics, textiles, sculptures, paintings, and more.
The collection is especially strong in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and South and Southeast Asian art.
The museum’s exhibits and educational programs are designed to educate visitors about the cultural habits unique to Pacific Asia.
Exhibitions are curated to reflect the cultural heritage and contemporary art of the Pacific Asian region, showcasing the works of emerging and established artists.
Visitors can learn about the traditional techniques, materials, and styles used in the artworks on display, as well as the cultural, social, and historical contexts in which they were created.
37. Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library honours the life of the 40th president of the United States and features hundreds of artefacts and interactive replicas that provide visitors with an in-depth look at Reagan’s life, his presidency, and his impact on American history.
The museum’s exhibits include a wide range of artefacts and interactive displays that tell the story of Reagan’s life, from his early years in Illinois to his time as a Hollywood actor, to his presidency.
Visitors can see original artefacts such as Reagan’s Air Force One, a replica of the Oval Office, the president’s personal diaries, and other personal items.
The museum also has a replica of the Berlin Wall and an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to experience Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall” speech.
38. Pretend City Children’s Museum
The Pretend City Children’s Museum is a dedicated children’s museum which has been designed to provide children with hands-on, interactive experiences that allow them to pretend to be adults in the real world.
The museum is built to scale and replicates a small city, complete with streets, buildings, and various real-world environments such as a grocery store, post office, doctor’s office, and more.
The museum’s exhibits and activities are designed to encourage children to use their imaginations and learn through play.
Little ones can participate in interactive activities such as cooking in a pretend kitchen, putting out fires in a pretend fire station and taking care of patients in a pretend hospital.
Each of the exhibits and activities is designed to be both fun and educational, and they cover a wide range of subjects, including science, math, art, and social studies.
39. Museum of Latin American Art
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the contemporary art of Latin America.
The museum’s exhibitions cover over 2,000 works of art in a wide range of subjects and styles which are curated to reflect the cultural heritage and contemporary art of the Latin American region.
Visitors to the museum are able to learn about the traditional techniques, materials, and styles used in the artworks on display, as well as the cultural, social, and historical contexts in which they were created.
Alongside this, the museum has a number of fixed and special events for families and young children which take place multiple times a year including the “Plein Air Workshop” which sees you paint using watercolours in the museum’s Corner Garden.
40. Los Angeles Fire Department Museum
The Los Angeles Fire Department Museum displays a range of interactive exhibits which are designed to showcase the history of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and the evolution of firefighting technology over the years.
Artefacts featured at the museum include firefighting equipment, uniforms, helmets, and other personal items used by LAFD firefighters.
However, the highlight for most young children visiting the museum is the opportunity to slide down a fire pole.
41. Museum of Flying
The Museum of Flying features a collection of historic aircraft, artefacts, photographs, and interactive exhibits that provide visitors with an in-depth look at the history of aviation and the evolution of aircraft technology over the years.
The museum’s exhibits include a wide range of aircraft, from early biplanes to modern jets, as well as engines, propellers, and other aviation-related artefacts.
Meanwhile, visitors can see original aircraft such as a Douglas DC-3, a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a North American P-51 Mustang, a Boeing 747, and many more.
Interactive exhibits at the museum include the chance to experience what it’s like to fly an aircraft using motion simulation technology.
42. Lucas Museum of Narrative Art
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art showcases the art of storytelling through a wide range of mediums including illustration, painting, photography, film, and digital art.
The museum was founded by filmmaker George Lucas, best known for creating the Star Wars franchise and includes over 300,000 works of art, including paintings, illustrations, comics, and other narrative art forms from around the world.
The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of subjects and styles and include works by well-known artists such as Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth, as well as contemporary artists.
Visitors can see original artworks such as illustrations, concept art, storyboards, and other items related to the filmmaking process and the Star Wars franchise.
Alongside this, the museum also has interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience the creative process behind some of the most iconic films and stories of the past century.
43. Kidseum at the Bowers Museum
The Kidseum at the Bowers Museum is an interactive and hands-on educational facility that focuses on the art, culture, and history of ancient civilizations, specifically those of the Americas.
The museum’s exhibits and activities are designed to be both fun and educational and cover a wide range of subjects, including art, history, and anthropology.
44. Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Garden
The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens is a cultural institution located in San Marino, California, that comprises several museums and gardens, including a library, art gallery, and botanical gardens.
The institution is known for its vast collection of over 11 million rare books, manuscripts, and other items, including works by Shakespeare, Chaucer, Milton, and many other literary figures.
Meanwhile, the adjoining art museum hosts a collection of British and French 18th-century portraits, as well as American art from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Finally, the botanical gardens at The Huntington include a Japanese Garden, Desert Garden, Jungle Garden, and Rose Garden which are used for plant research and in conservation efforts.