What to Expect When Taking a Toddler to the Museum of Ice Cream
I originally posted on Instagram that, based on my experience at the Museum of Ice Cream, I didn't recommend taking a young toddler there. However, knowing that all kids are extremely different, I decided to write this post from another angle. Instead of saying whether or not you should take your tot, I am going to lay out what you should expect should you choose to go. This way, everyone can decide for themselves and plan accordingly.
Keep in mind that my toddler is 20 months old, and he loves to run everywhere and touch everything. He doesn't just walk away from something if I say "don't touch." He weighs about 35 lbs. and is 1/3 my size.
Here's what you can expect:
1) You will need to carry your toddler or hold his or her hand. The museum does not allow strollers, and they don't have stroller parking, so you will need to carry or walk with your baby to the museum from the parking garage a few blocks away. There are not many places to sit or take breaks inside the museum.
2) Crowds! I went at the 1 p.m. slot on a Wednesday, and it was extremely crowded. They have you line up outside and then break you up into groups based on the time of your ticket. They let in one group at a time to control the crowd flow, but the day I went it was really backed up. We were basically waiting in line to get from one room to the next. This is what caused a lot of meltdowns with my son because waiting in line surrounded by lots of adults just sucks. I think if you went at the first time slot of the day it would be less crowded. I didn't take photos of the crowds but we got my son's general reaction to it.
3) Tasty treats and sugar-high kids. They serve ice cream in three rooms and cotton candy in another. It's all from local vendors and very tasty. Expect your kids to want the ice cream and cotton candy.
4) Don't expect to interact with every exhibit. Do not touch the cherries or clouds or gummy bears or lollipops. Also, do not climb on things and don't scratch the scratch and sniff wallpaper. This was the hardest part for us. The props are beautiful, and of course Atlas wanted to run up and touch them. But you are not allowed to in most spaces because they can break easily. He didn't understand this, and I had to constantly stop him from touching things. It was very frustrating. There are, however, some rooms where you can touch things, like in the magnet letter room and the sprinkle pool.
5) Lots of photo taking. This was the thing that I was most disappointed about. It felt like everyone was there to snap the perfect photo instead of to experience how cool each room was. Of course, we wanted good photos too, but we went through the whole place basically standing in line waiting for our turn to take our photo. Then we had to move so the next person could take theirs. There was no time to just play and explore the spaces. There were crowds of people waiting for the prime photo spots. A good example was the swings at the end of the museum. Atlas loved these, but we only had a few minutes on each one, and there were twenty people staring at us waiting for us to be done taking a picture so we could move. I feel like this took the fun out of the experience.
6) Pretty photos. You will get lots of colorful and pretty photos. All the rooms are designed for this so there are great walls, props, and backdrops for photo taking.
7) A quick dip in the sprinkle pool. The best exhibit in the museum was the sprinkle pool. It's fun for kids and adults. Who doesn't want to roll around in pretend sprinkles? However, they only give each group like three minutes to play in it. So everyone runs in trying to get a good photo spot, and before you know it the staff are telling you that you have to get out so the next group can jump in. This caused the biggest meltdown of the day.
Also, you have to take your shoes off to go in the pool so I suggest shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
Overall, I would say the Museum of Ice Cream is beautiful and it is a unique experience. But I would not go back with my toddler. I can't say it was fun for him because he cried most of the time. Although we got some great pics, it really wasn't a good experience for him because he didn't understand why he couldn't play in some rooms longer or why he couldn't touch stuff. We both ended up exhausted. If you have older kids or want to see it yourself, it's definitely worth checking out.
I believe they are sold out, but if you follow them on Instagram they will announce any extensions and ticket sales.
Hope this helps!