On Friday, we made a trip to the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco. Located inside an old bank building in the middle of downtown, the pink banners and neon lights are a sight for sore eyes!
This pop-up museum is new to the city and has been open for a little over a month now. Previously, the museum was open in Los Angeles and before that, New York City. The attraction has gained so much popularity thanks to Instagram and other social media platforms. No one can resist bright pink walls, gummy bears, and ice cream cones! The museum is so popular that all the tickets sale announcements are made in advance sell out within an hour or two. We purchased our tickets about six weeks in advance, just to ensure we would get a weekend date, even though earlier dates were available.
Now, I’m going to detail our experience going through the whole museum. If you plan on visiting the museum beware of SPOILERS.
Even before entering the museum, we lined up alongside the building with a glitter pink velvet rope blocking our line from the rest of the foot traffic on the sidewalk. The security guard kindly offered us Dove chocolate to eat while we waited, which wasn’t a very long wait anyway.
Soon, we entered the museum but were told to wait at the top of the stairs. They like to send in groups of about 10-12 people at a time. As the rules we explained to us, we were told to come up with a team name and name a team captain. We ended up with the team name “Ice Cream Hippo” and our captain was “Captain Chocolate”.
We all went down the stairs and went into the first room which was bright pink and had a timeline of the history of ice cream on the wall. I learned that it was Tom Carvel (yeah, THAT Carvel) who created soft serve ice cream by accident, that ice cream bars on a stick became a thing in the 20s, and that Ronald Reagan is the dude who came up with National Ice Cream Month (July) and National Ice Cream Day (the third Sunday of every July).
After answering some trivia questions on the history of ice cream, a guide explained a few more rules to us and pumped our group before sending us off into the ice cream vault.
Everyone in our group played a game of ring toss where we had to try to get at least 3 rings to land on top of whipped cream canisters. I totally lost two of my rings (they’re much lighter than you think), but my other three at least landed in between the whipped cream canisters. I’m not sure if there is even a prize for winning but hey, it was fun.
Next, we ventured to the next room which looked like a 50s diner. We were each served a scoop of ice cream from Salt & Straw, which is an ice creamery new to the city (locations in Portland and Los Angeles though!). Their salted caramel is some of the best ice cream I’ve had in a long time. I couldn’t stop talking about it! We enjoyed our ice cream while watching some kids trying to change the songs on the jukebox. On the walls are silver vinyls with ice cream puns. A favorite was “Scoops I Did It Again…” by “Britney Pears”.
After we finished our ice cream, we went into the magnet room with all the plastic pink letters. The whole room is a little chaotic with everyone scrambling to come up with a message and take a selfie with it, but still pretty fun. I felt like a kid again, playing with letter magnets on the fridge. We also basically split from our original group/team at this point. Everyone proceeds through the museum at their own pace at this point. In the magnet room, we were served a half serving of mochi, picking between three flavors–Double Chocolate, Cookies, and Cream, and Strawberry.
Right after eating our mochi, we went to a small room where we got to have pink cotton candy. YUM.
Then we walked into a room full of cherries! There were clouds hanging high and low throughout the room and the walls were wallpapered with a shiny reflective pink print with cherries. In one corner of the room was a huge cherry display. Lots of people were taking photos with them.
Next to the cherry room was the gummy bear room. This room made me feel like I was in Disneyland or something–there were large gummy bears, lollipops, gumballs, and other candies on display everywhere. Everyone loved taking photos in this room and just taking in everything.
Right after this room, we went into a room with popsicles sticking out of the wall but with the coolest wallpaper. Seriously, I would want this wallpaper in my house in a bathroom or something. It was a bunch of ice creams you can get from an ice cream truck and their old school prices. 18 cents, 20 cents, etc. I really liked the way it looked.
We walked down a cool rainbow hallway and had some soft serve ice cream. We took some photos of a white unicorn in the room and waiting to go into the “freezer” which was a small, short room, where you have to crawl in. It’s is filled with shiny mirrors and bright light, making it a really cool spot to take photos. There is a wait for this one and people tend to like opening the doors while people are in there, so be prepared to get out there quickly. Also, that room is HOT so you might break a sweat.
Then we walked into a room with a mini rock climbing wall (which we skipped), and went into a room with a rock candy display. We got some PopRocks for doing a few dance moves, then moved on to wait in line for the Sprinkle Pool.
We quickly took our shoes off and put our coats away in the lockers, then went toward the Sprinkle Pool! It’s pretty small, so be ready to share your space with everyone else, too. It’s a bit tough to take photos without anyone else in them, and you may not get to use all the props you want. Still, it’s really fun! It’s like playing in a rainbow sandbox.
You don’t get much time in the Sprinkle Pool, so make the most of your time when you’re in there. The plastic sprinkles get everywhere so be careful to not drag plastic sprinkles around the rest of the museum.
Right after the Sprinkle Pool, there’s a hallway with swings. There’s the swing with the bananas on the roof, the double swing, and the swing with the whipped cream cans. All are fun but there will be a bit of a wait for the swings. You can also purchase more ice cream to eat in this area if you’d like, or you can walk to the gift shop and look at some of the MOIC goodies available.
As we all know, the gift shop is almost always the last stop! So as soon as we finished browsing the gift shop, we headed on out of the museum.
For $38/ticket, we had a really fun experience. I thought it was worthwhile and we actually spent more time in the museum than we anticipated. We thought we would be there for about 45 min, but we were there for at least an hour an a half.
If you’ve already got tickets and are planning to go, be sure to note there is NOT a coat check and the museum runs pretty hot, so dress appropriately. And wear pink because it’s fun!
As far as I know, the Museum of Ice Cream in San Francisco has sold out tickets through early 2018 but might extend their run! If you’re interested in tickets, I recommend following them on Instagram so you’ll be the first to know when tickets are on sale. Their ticket sales page is also pretty fair. There’s a waiting system that keeps your place in line based on when you get to the site, and when it’s your turn to order tickets, you’ll be taken to the right page automatically. No refreshing. I thought it worked well, though I did wait a long time (close to an hour).
Museum of Ice Cream might also go to other cities so be on the lookout! If you’re not in the Bay Area or planning to visit, they might be the ones to come to you.