When it comes to finding a new museum to take the little ones to, you may feel like you’ve exhausted your old list of standbys. LACMA: been there. Getty: done that. Zimmer: your mail is delivered there, you visit so often. How about checking out some of the “secret” museums around town that may have managed to fly under your radar—until now.
photo credit: The Bunny Museum via facebook
The Bunny Museum
Located in the private home of Candace Frazee and Steve Lubanski, a carefully curated collection of over 30,000 adorable bunny items awaits your viewing pleasure. Started by their love of rabbits (duh), Steve and Candace began giving each other bunny themed gifts every day for a year. Their collection multiplied faster than a you-know-what and soon they were opening their doors to the public so everyone could partake in the fun. Kiddos will love seeing the overwhelming number of stuffed animals, figurines, pictures, and well, basically anything else you can imagine putting a bunny on. Tikes also have an opportunity to draw bunnies in the backyard using 3D chalk, as well as pet and feed the live house bunnies if they wish. Just make sure to bring a bag of your own veggies and fruits for the rabbits to snack on.
Cost: A suggested donation of $5/person. Tots under 4 are free.
Hostess Gifts: Candace and Steve happily accept bunny items and gifts, wine, flowers and postage stamps for having you in their home. No real bunnies though, please!
Hours: Open 365 days a year. Because this is a private residence, please call to make an appointment for the time you’d like to hop by. However, no appointment is necessary on holidays.
1933 Jefferson Dr., Pasadena
photo credit: The Bunny Museum via facebook
Time Travel Mart
Okay, it’s not exactly an official museum, per say, it’s more of a super cool convenience store for time travelers. Anything visitors most likely want or need, they have it. The Echo Park location is set up as a retro convenience store from the 70s, while the Mar Vista shop is an 1800s mercantile store. Both contain hilarious items that one would need to navigate the past and future. Kiddos will be wide-eyed as they step into a mini world filled with fun and imagination – checking out crazy items like mad scientist goggles, fresh dinosaur eggs, robot toupees and barbarian repellant. Each store also features interactive elements which tiny time travelers (and their pooped parents) will appreciate. Almost every item in store can be purchased (hello, fab birthday gifts!), with all proceeds going back to support the free programs at 826LA, the incredible non-profit writing and tutoring center for kids and the creative genius behind all this madness.
Hours: Both the Echo Park and Mar Vista locations are open from noon-6pm, Mon.-Sun.
1714 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park
12515 Venice Blvd., Mar Vista
photo credit: Time Travel Mart
Los Angeles Police Museum
What tiny tike doesn’t think police officers are the total bomb-diggity? If your future law enforcers are looking for a rich history lesson about the LAPD, there’s no better place to go than the Los Angeles Police Museum. Housed in the original Highland Park police station built in 1925, pint-sized deputies will especially love trying on a real police helmet, seeing the jail (hopefully the only one they’ll ever visit), hopping on a retired police motorcycle, as well as climbing aboard a police helicopter while pretending to soar high over the City of Angels. Mom and Dad, feel free to chime in with embarrassing siren sounds, if you so desire.
Cost: General admission is $9/adult. Kids 12 and under are free.
Parking: Free parking is available on east and west side of museum.
Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Mon.-Fri. and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., third Sat. of every month
6045 York Blvd., Eagle Rock
photo credit: Meghan Rose
Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn
Griffith Park is full of endless treasures, but one of the best is Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn. Disney built the barn in 1950 as the centerpiece of an elaborate backyard railroad at his Holmby Hills home. For three years, he entertained friends and their kiddos with rides on the 3/4 inch scale steam railway, the Carolwood Pacific. The joy he witnessed helped inspire him to create Disneyland in 1955, where all families could have fun together. Walt’s barn was preserved as a tribute to his love of trains and the hard work he put into Disneyland. When little Mouseketeers visit the barn, they get to see Los Angeles Live Steamer trains up and running, play with a model train set they can operate, honk the monorail horn button, and a work a telegraph with Morse code, supplied so they can tap out their names.
Cost: Admission and parking are free.
Hours: Open the third Sunday of every month from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
5202 Zoo Dr., Griffith Park
photo credit: Walt Disney’s Carolwood Barn
Martial Arts History Museum
If you’ve got an aspiring karate kid on your hands, we’ve uncovered quite a hidden gem in the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank. Designed by artists from Walt Disney, Dreamworks and The Simpsons, the museum is filled with imagination. Colorful exhibitions offer a thrilling educational, cultural and artistic experience where families can learn about different Asian countries and how martial arts has significantly impacted America for generations. Mini Miyagis will flip over the chance to see artifacts from the Japanese Samurai, Ralph Macchio’s headband from Karate Kid, the shield from Mortal Kombat, as well as animation displays from Hong Kong Phooey, Kung Fu Panda and Ninja Turtles, among others.
Cost: $10/adults and $5/kids aged 6-15 years old
Hours: Thurs.-Sun., 11a.m.-6 p.m.
2319 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank
Any unusual museums you feel we left off our list? Give us the skinny on your faves in the comments below.