Travel Tuesday: Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

If you have seen my Instagram posts, you know I’m still a little giddy from my visit to the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco with my mom (who normally lives in in hometown of Chicago) and my sister who lives in San Rafael. Both my sisters and my mom had also visited the Museum of Ice Cream in Los Angeles, but I hadn’t been able to join in, so I was happy to hear that they were opening up a second location of this pop up museum in San Fran.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy
The tickets sold out in a flash but I was super lucky in not only getting into the website but getting the perfect weekend when my mom would be in town and one of a few weekends my sister didn’t already have booked until 2018 (seriously, her schedule…). And, we got tickets for the first entrance at 11 AM (they are timed tickets) which incredibly let our group of the first 12 ticket holders in line be the first into every room and almost felt like a private visit since other groups didn’t catch up to us.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Franciso

If you haven’t heard of the Museum of Ice Cream (or MOIC) before, it started out its initial incarnation in New York, and then closed and opened up in Los Angeles. While the Los Angeles run is still going on in LA after several extensions, a second location in San Francisco also opened, and is the newest incarnation. Each location is a little different, though the theme always includes lots of samples of ice creams and a sprinkle pool. When it comes to each individual room themes and how they are set up and what sweet artwork they feature though, they may vary.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

Here’s a look at the rooms in the San Francisco version. Be aware that if you come, you must already have purchased tickets ahead of time (none are available at the door). There is only one restroom area and it’s in the middle of the museum, and when you go through the museums you can only go forward, not back to any rooms you have previously left.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

The Only Learning Part

I should disclose now that the usage of the word “museum” for the Museum of Ice Cream is a pretty loose – this is not an educational museum besides a brief section at the very beginning after descending the stairs from the street where there are some facts printed on the wall and the group is quizzed on a few of the facts, but that’s about it. Some things we learned include

  • The origins of ice cream can be traced to the Tang Dynasty in China, 1,500 years ago
  • In the 1770s, during his presidency George Washington spent $200 (~$5k) on ice cream in one summer
  • Waffle cones were invented in the 1904 at the St. Louis World’s Fair
  • The ice cream bar was invented in 1920 when Harry Burt saw people struggling to hold their Eskimo Pies and inserted a stick as a handle – he eventually created his own company, Good Humor
  • Soft serve ice cream was invented in the 1930s by accident when  Tom Carver’s ice cream truck had a flat tire and he chose to serve his ice cream treats at a higher temperature
  • In the 1945 during WWII, the Navy spends $1MM converting a concrete barge into a floating ice cream factory

But, then you see a pink velvet rope and glimpse the Ice Cream Vault and you get excited and don’t want to read! Welcome to your transformation into being excited (partially absorbing the enthusiastic positive energy from all the staff members in every room) and back into being a kid.

Think of this more as a mashup of a pop art exhibit combined with a fun house that you interact with.

The Ice Cream Vault

This vault is original to this historical landmark building, which used to be a bank 100 years ago before it turned into an Armani store and then this temporary Museum of Ice Cream.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco
This is pretty much what the rooms well now be like – more art and experience installations that more often then not, serve as visual eye candy celebrating actual sweets and which make for fun photos.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

Bubble Gum Pink Room

In the first bubble gum pink room, you’ll be greeted by pink toy soldiers wall (first selfie op!) and a ring toss game, as well as a 4 second video camera that you can share.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, selfie with bubble gum pink toy soldier wall Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco ring toss game

I am slightly excited.

Dance with your Sundae

Then in the next room, sidle up to an old fashioned ice cream bar and get a little sundae cup! Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, sundae from Salt and Straw with magic chocolate shell

Pick a tune on the jukebox to dance it out as you eat your sundae.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, jukebox Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, jukebox

Magnetic Letters and Mochi

You’ve barely finished your last spoonful, which you toss in bins in the beginning of the next room, which boasts lots of magnetic letters to write messages or create shapes while sampling multiple mochi flavors (sorry, I forgot to take photos of the mochi I was busy playing with letters). They had multiple mochi flavors and you could go back for as many as you’d like.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

Cherry Cotton Candy Room

But hold yourself back because in the next room you will be presented with a cherry flavored sparkly cotton candy wand and a cherry room with clouds and silver shiny wall paper as a nod to the sparkles in the cotton candy.!
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, cotton candy

Gummi Bear Room

Eat up that sugar, because you’ll have to finish your cotton candy before you can enter the world of gummi bears in the next room. Do you call them gummy or gummi – I go with gummi because gummy to me means like sticky like with bubblegum.
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One of the great things about being in a group (we were asked to name our team, and we came up with “Team Hot Fudge Sundae”) is that it kept us together mostly and we helped each other take photos of our groups, although museum employees were also happy to help work the camera phone as well.

Ode to Push Pop Ice Cream

The next room was a more simple modern art installtion and reflection of the push pops of our past, and included another video selfie camera.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Push Pop Ice Cream room Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Push Pop Ice Cream room Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Push Pop Ice Cream room

Unicorn Milk Ice Cream

The next room started out with a white photobooth like area with rainbows – another selfie opportunity.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Unicorn Milk Ice Cream room Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Unicorn Milk Ice Cream room
Then, walk up to a little booth for the adorable wee cones of Unicorn Milk Ice Cream dipped in magic (which was a lot like strawberry).
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Unicorn Milk Ice Cream room Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Unicorn Milk Ice Cream room Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Unicorn Milk Ice Cream room Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Unicorn Milk Ice Cream room

Don’t miss the little doors which lead to the unicorn stable below…
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Unicorn Milk Ice Cream room

Pop Rock Room

A little hallway with some rock climbing leads then to a Pop Rock Room where you are able to enjoy the larger then life pop rock surroundings and are also handed a bag of pop rock candy. It is after this room that the restrooms are available, and then stairs up (or take the elevator).
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Pop Rock Room Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Pop Rock Room Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Pop Rock Room

Sprinkle Pool

Finally, you come to the centerpiece of the entire Museum of Ice Cream, whatever location you visit – the Sprinkle Pool. You remove your shoes and leave your bags behind in lockers, and jump into the sprinkles. The sprinkles are plastic and not edible, but still super fun.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool
The sprinkle pool makes this museum – so worth it.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool

They have an area called the “Sprinkle Shower” to air blow as many sprinkles as you can from you that you haven’t already shaken off, but you will notice outside the museum you may seem some sprinkles outside that must have still gotten caught – for the rest of the day I myself still found sprinkles coming out as well from who knows where. The museum is currently working on creating more eco-friendly sprinkles to use.

Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Sprinkle Pool

Swing Stations

Finally at the end there are 3 swing stations for photos, as well as an area to purchase MOIC created ice cream (Pinata or Sprinkle flavors, though they were out of Pinata during our visit).
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Swing Stations Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Swing Stations Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Swing Stations Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Swing Stations Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Swing Stations Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco, Swing Stations

After the swing booths is a pool table and the gift store, and then that’s the end. The most interesting things to me were postcards that you could write there on the spot and they would mail them for you (I’m still waiting for mine to arrive in the mail), and I got a phone charger to hang on my purse that is a pink banana.
Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco

This was not the only place I took my mom that involved sweets – while my sister was working, I drove my mom to Fairfield, CA about an hor or so north, to the Jelly Belly Factory and went on the free factory tour. That post is coming up next week for Travel Tuesday.

What do you think of the Museum of Ice Cream – would you go, what would be your favorite room?

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Comments

  1. This place looks amazing. I can’t believe I lived in LA for years and didn’t know there was an ice cream museum. Maybe I’ll get to that one or the one in San Francisco one day. I loved the story about how soft ice cream (my favorite) was invented by accident. Who knew?

  2. Erin @ Platings and Pairings says:

    Best pictures EVER! This place looks so amazing and you are too cute!

  3. What a visual FEAST! I adore all of these photos, Pech! I wish they would do a pop up museum in Portland for this. And thanks for sharing the ice cream facts – those were so interesting!

  4. I’ve seen photos on social media before, I want to go! I wonder if Portland will get a pop up. George Washington must have really loved ice cream..

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