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Saturday, May 6, 2017

Museum of Ice Cream :: Review and Experience

     If you live in SoCal and follow what's trending in the area, chances are you've heard of the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC).  The idea for this pop-up museum first began in New York City, and I heard from friends that it was coming to SoCal, and would be situated in the downtown LA arts district.  I started following their instagram account and once we secured our timed entry tickets, the excitement to see and photograph this place only grew from there.  After seeing all their photos leading up to the grand opening, and then the photos from other patrons who had already gone and posted their photos, I started plotting what I wanted to shoot here.  I'll showcase what you can expect out of the experience, and give a few tips that I think could make a difference in your visit to this quirky place.  

     First, I think there should be a disclaimer.  The word "museum" is used very loosely here.  If you're going expecting to learn about the history of ice cream or anything remotely like that, this is is NOT for you.  If you don't care about that and just want to take cute photos and sample some ice cream, then book your tickets now and GO.

     You'll know you've arrived once you see the pink building.  I really liked how this made it obvious, as I am not a fan of driving around DTLA looking for anything.  About a block from the MOIC, there is a $4 flat rate parking lot.  You can always opt to park on the street if there are spaces available, but I found $4 to be a steal for DTLA parking.  Another option is to use the $6 MOIC valet parking service.  


     Once you arrive, you may see a line of people, but they are only there because they're part of the next timed entry group.  If you're there more than 30 minutes early there is a cute (and very photogenic) courtyard area with some games you can play - and when I say games, I mean old school things like hula hoops, connect four, giant jenga, and throwing sacks into a hole.



     Twinning with my friend Patty (who scored a very cute purse charm that was perfect for this occasion!)  Clearly, I 'm not known for packing lightly. 

     Once they're ready for your group timed entry, you gather around one of the hosts that tells you more about what to expect.

     This was our host.  He was very friendly and animated.  I could never do his job LOL. 


     When you first enter, they give you a piece of Dove chocolate, and you can take some pictures against an art wall.  One thing they strongly stress before you go in is that you can only move FORWARD through the rooms.  You can take as long as you want in each room, but you can't go back to any room.

     My friend brought her sister and niece.  Her niece made the perfect cute model for this place!  I often think some photos are more fun when there are people in them.

Room #1 - Pink Phone Room
     Here, you can pick up any phone and hear from some celebrities about their favorite ice cream.  Don't quote me on that though, because I really didn't listen for very long.  I was too busy and consumed with the need to take photos of everything.

     E was very amused by the recordings. :)


     I didn't catch this until I took a look at the photos later.  If I had read this while there, I seriously would've screamed like bloody murder for ice cream and freak everyone out.  When asked what's wrong, I'd simply reply that I was following the directions on the phone. :)


Room #2 - Venice Cream 
     This room is like a play on Hollywood and the LA scene.  It used to have a small trampoline in it which made for some cool jump shots, but I'm gonna guess that someone hurt themselves while using it, and the MOIC decided to get rid of it.

     You know this made me happy. :)




     They give you a sample of McConnell's ice cream in here.  It was quite tasty, and just the right amount to make you want more.







Room #3 - Swing and Banana Split Room
     This is one of the points in the experience where a line can build up.  Since this is just a little area that you pass through to get to the next room, you have to wait til people are done for your turn on the two swings. If you scratch and sniff the walls, apparently it smells like banana splits??? I didn't think so, but maybe my sense of smell is off.

Room #4 - Banana Room
     After the swings, you go straight into this room with a bunch of yellow and pink bananas hanging from the ceiling.  That's pretty much it.





The walkway towards the next room is made to look like a waffle cone texture.

Room #5 - Mint Chocolate Chip Room
     The next room is the mint chocolate chip room.  There is a guy there that explains how they're growing the mint in "chocolate soil".  I wasn't really listening, because I found a freezer full of mint chocolate chip mochi ice cream.  After the host explains how they're growing the mint, he comes over to the freezer and hands everyone one of these.  I think it would've been a nice touch to give everyone a whole mochi instead of just half a piece.  It was quite tasty. 









Room #6 - Rainbow Sherbet and Mirrors
     I found this room kind of strange.  It had a mirrored section, a little rainbow art installation, cute lemon wallpaper, and one of those crane machines where you can try your luck at winning one of the prizes.



     By now, E has mastered the art of posing for my photos LOL.



Room #7 - White Room 
     I didn't know what to call this, but it's basically a walk through area with some art installations on the wall.  On one of the bare walls, there is this touch screen menu that allows you to make a little video of yourself, and send it to your email. Condiments that may be related to coffee and ice cream adorn the walls.

     And let's not forget the ice cream platforms!



Room #8 - Popsicle Room
     This room used to be open, but I noticed that it had a rope that prevented you from wandering around.  Again, I'll assume that some human who didn't know how to follow rules ruined it for the rest of us.  You can take photos from behind the chain rope, but other than that, it's only a walk through.



Room #9 - The Gummy Bear Room
     Giant gummy bears on display in a rainbow room pretty much sums it up.  There is a guy that makes some small talk about where gummy bears come from in the corner.  After you fail at guessing, he'll give you a scoop of gummy bears.  I found it strange that this was part of the MOIC because I don't associate gummy bears with ice cream at all.  Also, after getting McConnell's and mint chocolate chip mochi, I expected somethign special from these gummy bears.  Turns out that they were just your regular run of the mill gummy bears. 


#notthesamesize


Room #10 - The Charcoal Ice Cream
     Aside from the art installation you see below, there is a guy upon entering the room that is serving up some charcoal chocolate chip "ice cream".  It isn't frozen and is technically not ice cream, but more of a cookie dough.  If you've ever been to Brookstone and played with the sand they sell in a container, that is pretty much what it felt like to eat this charcoal chocolate "ice cream" in a mini cone.  It has actual charcoal in it, and tasted okay.  The texture was tough to get used to.  It has the texture of sandy Playdoh.


     Oh, and it does this to your teeth after you eat it.



Room #11 - The Sprinkle Pool
     Many of the heavily instagrammed photos of the MOIC come from the sprinkle pool.  Of all the rooms, this is the only one that is timed.  You have three minutes.  THREE MINUTES!  They make you take your shoes off and put your shoes and belongings in a nearby locker.  Then you are allowed to walk up to the pool and have your way with it for about three minutes.  They're not kidding either.  I felt the clock ticking once my feet touched the millions of fake plastic sprinkles.
     Make sure you read these rules.  It says no diving.  I found out later why it says that (aside from the fact that it's just not a smart idea).  One of the ladies in our timed group decided to jump into the pool.  All around the pool, it says 4 ft. (the way most pools show how deep the water is).  I think there are people who mistakenly think that the sprinkle pool is 4 ft. deep.  Well, she jumped in, and I think that it didn't end well for her. I think there needs to be a sign that says the sprinkles are only about 1 foot deep.  You have been warned! 


     Patty really wanted a picture of her throwing some sprinkles in the air LOL.


     All of a sudden I hear the lady yell that our time was almost up.  I wanted this picture of E in the pool, but it felt so rushed that it's kind of blurry.  They really should extend the time to 4 or 5 minutes.

Room #12 - The End and Gift Shop
     The last room is basically an open space with this swinging ice cream sandwich, a ping pong table, and another one of those screens where you can create a little video of yourself.  Off to the side, there is an art installation of pink pans.  This lady came up to us and asked us if we wanted ice cream for breakfast.  She served us some ice cream sandwiched between two pieces of pink pancakes.  I didn't care for the texture of the pancakes.  They were too thick, and smelled a little bit like Playdoh.  The ice cream was okay though.



     And finally... the gift shop!  I thought for sure I would get ice cream-itis here, but there was really nothing that I needed.  The exorbitant prices pretty much kept me at bay, but I'll admit these key chains were cute.


     I really liked this sprinkle pool pin.  I just didn't $10 like it.  

     I don't even want to know how much this water was.




     This whole experience was exactly just that - it's like a little treat for yourself.  Don't expect to learn too much about ice cream.  Don't expect to actually do anything in there, aside from taking some cute photos, and see quirky displays of ice cream and other things of the sugary variety.  My main goal was just go get some photos and see what all the fuss was about.  Overall, I'd say if you want to go, make sure you're prepared (and now you are after reading this!) and go just ONCE.  It's $29 per ticket, and to me, that's a hefty price to pay to go and take photos.  The samples are not very big, so I'd hate to think that they factored the cost of the samples into the ticket price.  If anything, you'll receive about $5 in samples (if that).  
     Since it is a walk through experience, I highly recommend that you take your time.  Remember, you can't go backwards and the only timed room is the sprinkle pool.  They also make you eat all your samples before you can go to the next room.  My best tip of all to get the most of this experience is to hang back from the group you're with.  While none of the rooms ever felt super crowded, you will see waves of people constantly going through the rooms.  I suggest letting a group leave the room and enjoy your 2-3 minutes for the photos you want (without the photobombs).  Despite doing exactly what I just said, I STILL felt rushed.  I think it was just the nature of the experience.  When you see people constantly coming through the rooms, you start to feel some anxiety about either being left behind, or wanting to see what's next.  
     Overall, we were there for about 1.5 hours.  The valet parking is good for 2 hours, and I think they planned that well.  I couldn't imagine being there for more than 2 hours.  Even after you've finished, you can always go back to the courtyard and enjoy some of the lawn games they have.  I even learned that I can still hula hoop. ;)