LA’s Coolest Trend: The Museum of Ice Cream

By Camila Dadabhoy

From the popular bubble teas to rolled ice cream tacos, Southern California lives up to its glamorous, hip reputation that I, clearly an unbiased resident, have come to love. This year, L.A.’s coolest summer trend revealed itself : the famous “Museum of Ice Cream,” drawing people from the A-list celebrities of Hollywood Hills to the hipster Orange County students of UCI.

This museum originally debuted in New York City, gathering a massive fan base within its opening week. Founder and creator Maryellis Bunn decided to bring the pop-up museum to her home state after her successful opening in New York, hoping for a positive reaction on the west coast. What she received was so much more.

“I was having all these conversations about how to connect with millennial audiences in an experiential space. I thought, there’s nothing new to do here…and I love ice cream. Any day of the week it brings me so much joy,” the 25-year-old Laguna Beach native said in an interview with Forbes staffer Susan Adams this May.

With famous stars visiting the museum including Gwyneth Paltrow, Chris Martin, Beyoncé, and the Kardashians, social media has helped Bunn’s delicious creation rise to fame in a mere couple of months.

Naturally, the summer would be incomplete without a pop-up museum dedicated to ice cream. So my best friend and I booked the first opening we could find despite its high popularity, in an attempt to drown ourselves in the legendary sprinkles that Beyoncé had once touched.

In the heart of Downtown L.A., we located the older building where the museum was housed and stood in line down a dark alley at 9 p.m. amongst several other excited ice cream fans. But, the interactive exhibits and colorful props were worth the wait.

With a strict 30-minute policy per group, we were met with an enthusiastic guide through the brightly lit pop-up rooms complete with a variety of ice cream-themed art and frozen treats. Local California-based ice cream makers including Salt & Straw and Coolhaus sponsored a few exhibits by sampling their own specialty flavors throughout the museum.

A walkthrough of the rooms included the first Hollywood-themed section in the museum’s history, perfect for Instagram-worthy pictures with art walls covered in the stars from the Walk of Fame and a bubblegum-pink Hollywood sign. Following this was the popular banana room, filled with hundreds of hanging pink and yellow bananas to run through and swing on. For those who liked mint, the light green room sampled the mintiest mochi ice cream treats with a chance to check out the museum’s very own mint leaf garden.

Next were the art exhibits that displayed all things big, because who wouldn’t want their gummy bears and popsicles life-size? Mini edible charcoal cookie dough cones, fluffy pink ice cream pancake sandwiches, and bite-sized chocolates were all pre-game treats to the star of the museum: the legendary sprinkle pool. This life-size pool was filled to the brim with colorful, large, plastic sprinkles for people to ‘swim’ in. It’s messy and wonderful, and sprinkles will be spilling off your clothes for days. Overall, this social media craze proved to be a fun, Instagrammable experience priced decently at $29 for adults and $18 for kids aged 3-12.

Although the L.A. location is just a pop-up, Bunn recently revealed her plans to expand.

“I’m hoping to open in San Francisco and Miami by the end of the year and I’m looking to build a permanent flagship in New York with a restaurant and spa. I want to build a Las Vegas hotel with a museum inside too,” said the young, ambitious businesswoman to Forbes in May.

The pop-up art installation is here until December 2017 before it’s off for its next venture, so check it out while you have the chance. It’s the only museum I’d ever go bananas for.