Fun Museums in Los Angeles for Kids

Museums don’t easily come to mind when considering things to do in Los Angeles with kids. However, like many major cities, Los Angeles has a collection of renowned museums with varied and unique exhibits. The museums in Los Angeles are fun, educational and worthwhile alternatives to the beach and amusement parks. Who says you can’t learn while on vacation?

Petersen Automotive Museum
The Petersen Automotive Museum is car lover’s paradise. My daughter and I were hesitant about coming here but actually enjoyed it. The galleries are well laid out and informative for self-guided tours. There are a variety of cars and motorcycles including a Hot Wheels gallery. We loved the film and TV cars including the Batmobile and Speedracer. For an extra $20, guests over 12 years old can go on a 90-minute, guided tour through the Vault to see over 100 pieces of unique and priceless car memorabilia.

The Discovery Center is for kids to learn the science behind cars and is filled with interactive activities. They can race matchbox cars, do experiments, draw or even ride a motorcycle and dress up to ride a vintage car. My kids love this area.

Petersen Automotive Museum
Going back in time in a vintage car at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Located in one of the most beautiful modern buildings and location, The Getty Center in Los Angeles features a stunning garden and world-class art museum. At the J. Paul Getty Museum, kids are immersed in various interactive activities like art treasure hunting or mask making inside the Family Room. Free tours and talks are available including one for families. They also offer Scavenger Hunt cards for kids to take while exploring the museum.

Our favorite part here is the gorgeous central garden with a floating azalea maze. There’s a small creek for the kids to play in and plenty of spaces for picnics and running around. The Getty is a mixture of art, nature and architecture. Admission is free with a fun ride up on the tram.

Museums in Los Angeles - Getty Museum azalea maze
The Getty Museum azalea maze.

Page Museum at La Brea Tar Pits
Want to see Ice Age mammals that lived in Los Angeles thousands of years ago? The Page Museum at La Brea Tar Pits is filled with well-preserved specimens and fossil exhibits including saber-toothed cats and mammoths. They have over a million fossils from 650 species that were found trapped for years in the asphalt outside. Visitors can gawk at paleontologists, inside the Fishbowl Lab, cleaning and preparing fossils. Interactive exhibits and guided tours are available or get a scavenger hunt for the kids.

My kids love seeing the tar pits outside with the woolly mammoth statues and the bubbling asphalt showing what preserved many of the bones found in the museum. Don’t miss the active excavation pits to see embedded fossils. There are also mammal statues to climb and a nice hill for rolling down at neighboring Hancock Park.

The Beverly Hilton is centrally-located to all of the above museums in Los Angeles.

The GRAMMY Museum is laid out well and showcases exhibits, films, memorabilia, educational programs and interactive activities to foster creativity and celebrate music. Kids learn America’s recorded music history, the evolution of music and technology, and the music-making process in a fun environment.

We loved In the Studio where there were eight individual pods simulating studios with interactive experiences. Music producers, engineers and artists guide visitors through various portions of the music recording process with high-tech gadgets. Many kids also enjoy playing with the various musical instruments available at the museum. We loved recording Yellow Submarine in a singing booth with virtual Beatle, Ringo Starr. Don’t miss this museum in Los Angeles if your family loves and appreciates music.

California Science Center
It’s hard to believe that the West Coast’s largest interactive science center is free. We love the various educational programs, shows and exhibits at the California Science Center. Kids under 7 years old have a Discovery Room. The Discovery Carts throughout the center always teach us something new. The tide pool containers and kelp forest are always popular areas.

Our favorite part is the newly added Space Shuttle Endeavor exhibit with a $2 per person fee. It’s incredible to see the space shuttle up close and learn about the astronauts’ life inside the shuttle. Science Saturday programs are made for families to try various interactive activities and attend 30-minute lab classes. Science can be fun!

Museums in Los Angeles - California Science Center Endeavor
At one of the museums in Los Angeles, you can see the Space Shuttle Endeavor!

Natural History Museum
With over 35 million specimens, there are plenty of educational opportunities at the Natural History Museum. Dinosaur Hall has 300 fossils and 20 complete dinosaur and ancient sea creatures and is always a big hit with kids. The Discovery Center has many hands-on activities including several stations with microscopes and magnifying glasses for budding scientists to use.

The Nature Lab has many interactive activities with great exhibits on plants and animals native to California. Don’t miss the live animal presentations! We also love the Gem and Mineral Hall with over 2,000 stunning objects including meteorites and some specimens for kids to touch.

Stay at Hilton Checkers Los Angeles to be close to these three museums in Los Angeles.

Do you have any favorite museums in Los Angeles?

You may also enjoy:

Hilton Mom Voyage writers receive free night certificates to use at Hilton Hotels & Resorts worldwide. To learn more, visit our About Us page.

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Mary S. Are you interested in traveling to Los Angeles? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

More posts from Mary S.