You’ve take the kiddos to LACMA, the Broad and the Petersen more times than you can count, and even though they’re amazing, you might be craving something a more unusual and unique museum experience. We’ve rounded up some of the quirkiest, most whimsical, curious and downright fascinating museums around LA that are off-the-beaten-path but oh so worth the visit. Check out the list below and get ready to experience only-in-LA museum exhibits and collections that should definitely be on your radar (especially when you’re looking for something to do on those rainy days!).

Unique Museums in LA: Museum of Neon Art

LA's quirkiest museums
Ed U. via Yelp

The Museum of Neon Art (MONA) in downtown Glendale is the only museum in the world exclusively dedicated to art in electric media, exhibiting electric and kinetic fine art and eye-popping examples of historic neon signs. Kids will beam with excitement over all the vibrant colors and insane creativity on display. And with constant rotating exhibitions, there’s always something new to see. Guests 18 and older can even take classes in neon bending and create some groovy artwork of their very own.

Cost: General admission is $10, while kiddos 12 and under are free.
Hours: Fri. – Sat., 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. and Sun., 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Museum of Neon Art
216 S. Brand Blvd.

Unique Museums in LA: Martial Arts History Museum

quirky museums in LA
Yen D. via Yelp

Located in Burbank, the Martial Arts History Museum is an Asian education, cultural and artistic experience that encourages young people to learn about each of the Asian countries and how martial arts has played a pivotal role in their culture, history and traditions. Additionally, it also features a look at American history with sections on the History of Anime, Martial Arts in America, and Media arts including Hollywood films, TV and magazines. The museum also hosts some interesting events for families throughout the year like sushi seminars, martial arts demonstrations, Asian musical performances, movie screenings and their annual Dragonfest Expo.

Cost: Admission for adults is $10 and kids aged 6-17 are $5.
Hours: Thur. - Sun., 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Martial Arts History Museum
2319 W. Magnolia Blvd.


Unique Museums in LA: Heritage Square Museum

quirky museums in LA
Gigi A. via Yelp

The Heritage Square Museum is an immersive living history and open-air architecture museum that explores the settlement and development of Southern California during its first 100 years of statehood. Located on period appropriate landscaped grounds, the museum features eight historically significant buildings from different Los Angeles neighborhoods constructed during the Victorian Era. Structures on display include a church from Pasadena, a railroad station from Century City and numerous private residences from around the city. Guided interior tours are available on Sat. and Sun. with advanced tickets available through Eventbrite.

Cost: Admission is $10 for adults, children aged 6-12 are $5, and children under 6 are free.
Hours: Sat. and Sun., 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Heritage Square Museum
3800 Homer St.
Los Angeles

Unique Museums in LA: Museum of Jurassic Technology

quirky museums in LA
Mike D. via Yelp

One of America’s most unusual museums, the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City refers to itself as, “An education institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and public appreciation of the Lower Jurassic” – the geologic period that ended 145 million years ago, before the appearance of any "technology" as we know it. Uh…okay? This dimly lit labyrinth of a museum is difficult to define. It’s sort of a cabinet of curiosities filled with bizarre exhibits that may or may not be based in reality—like "Garden on Wheels: Selected Collections from Los Angeles Area Mobile Home and Trailer Parks," and "Lives of Perfect Creatures: Dogs of the Soviet Space Program," and of course, "Rotten Luck: The Decaying Dice of Ricky Jay" (a collection of decomposing antique dice once owned by magician Ricky Jay). It’s anything but boring and well worth an afternoon of odd exploration and questioning.

Cost: Advanced timed tickets are required. Adults are $12 and kids ages 12 and under are free.
Hours: Thur. - Fri., 2 p.m. - 8 p.m. and Sat. - Sun., 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Museum of Jurassic Technology
9341 Venice Blvd.
Culver City

RELATED: This Is Why Culver City is Such a Hot Spot for Families

Unique Museums in LA: International Printing Museum

quirky museums in LA
Chiante M. via Yelp

The International Printing Museum in Carson is dedicated to bringing the history of printing and books to the masses. Home to one of the world’s largest and most extensive collections of antique printing machinery and graphic arts equipment, the museum’s mission is to interpret and present the collection for a contemporary audience through demonstrations of working machinery, historic re-enactments, and hands-on workshops. Guided tours last approximately one hour.

Cost: Adult admission is $12 and students are $10.
Hours: Sat., 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Tue. – Fri. by appointment only.

International Printing Museum
315 W. Torrance Blvd.

Unique Museums in LA: Ballona Discovery Park

quirky museums in LA
H. H. via Yelp

Described as a “museum without walls,” Ballona Discovery Park encourages visitors to learn about the natural and cultural history of the Ballona Wetlands. This secret gem encourages kids to romp and explore the two-acre native garden and wildlife habitat replete with native plant demonstration gardens, including a pollinator and medicinal garden. Or littles might dig a peaceful stroll along the riparian corridor where coots and other birds can often be spotted in the waters below. There’s also an interpretive Watershed Walk that follows the movement of water through every habitat from the mountains to the ocean.

Cost: Free.
Hours: Open every day from dawn until dusk.

Ballona Discovery Park
13110 Bluff Creek Dr.
Playa Vista

Unique Museums in LA: Time Travel Mart

quirky museums in LA
Carolyn G. via Yelp

With the cheeky slogan, “Whenever You Are, We’re Already Then,” the Time Travel Mart is time travel themed retail storefront that funds 826LA, a non-profit dedicated to supporting LA students with their creative and writing skills. With locations in Echo Park and Mar Vista, Time Travel Mart is LA’s only purveyor of goods from the past, present and future and features hilariously curated items for sale like Wooly Mammoth Chunks, Barbarian Repellant, Pastports, Robot Toupees and Evolution Laser Fingers—and who doesn’t need those? This store is pure fun from start to finish and is well worth the trip.

Cost: Free to enter.
Hours: Mar Vista location: Fri.-Sun. 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.; Echo Park location: Mon.-Sun. noon - 6:00 p.m.

Time Travel Mart
Echo Park & Mar Vista 

Unique Museums in LA: Valley Relics Museum

Stephen Z. via Yelp

Located in two airplane hangars at the Van Nuys Airport, the Valley Relics Museum is a fun-filled journey through the San Fernando Valley and surrounding area's past. The museum combines pop-culture and historical artifacts with over 25,000 items ranging from neon signs, classic cars and yearbooks to restaurant menus, vintage BMX bikes and a playable retro arcade. For anyone who like grew up in the Valley, like this will be a totally treasured trip down memory lane—like totally.

Cost: Admission is $15 for adults and kids 10 and under are free.
Hours: Sat., 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Valley Relics Museum
7900 Balboa Blvd. (Hangar C 3 & 4)
Van Nuys

Unique Museums in LA: FIDM Museum

Chris I. via Yelp

Have a pint-sized fashionista at home? The FIDM Museum and Library collects, preserves, and interprets fashion objects and support materials with outstanding design merit. Their incredible rotating exhibitions throughout the year are a great way educate kids about the creative process and self-expression. The latest exhibit, "Art of Costume Design and Film" just launched and will be on display at FIDM from now until Jun. 4.

Cost: Admission is free.
Hours: Open during exhibitions only, Tues. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

FIDM Museum
919 Grand Ave.

—Jennifer O’Brien


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