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Musical Instrument Museum-Phoenix

I have been wanting to go to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix for the longest time. It is also known as MIM to many people. It is located at Tatum and the 101 (very near Desert Ridge Marketplace). The prices are a bit higher than other museums, so I was lucky enough to be part of a Homeschool group that was taking a tour (so we got a discount price!).

The Museum is HUGE! Let me just tell you, it is gigantic! I didn’t think it would be as big as it was. The Musical Instrument Museum also hosts classes for kids, concerts and events. There is a huge concert hall that we did not go into, but from the outside of the building and from the brochure pictures, it was very large.

The parking lot is large too, so if you are going with little ones-I suggest a carrier or stroller.

There was a nice outdoor patio area that was close to their large cafe, so you could sit a la fresca. There were also water features, which I had to remind my kids were NOT splash pads.

The front doors.

The inside guest entry was HUGE! To the left of the desk was another long hallway that would lead you to the auditorium. The Guest services desk is where you pay for entry and receive your blue tooth headphone set.

As cutely pictured here. That is quite a face Giggles has. Ah well. So the blue tooth head set kind of looks like an old school walkman without the tape.

OK, stop laughing if you are embarrassed that you know what a walkman is.

And if you don’t know what a walkman is

You used to have to put a tape in in. Many museums would have this a long time ago. I actually went to one in Washington DC when I was a kid. I think it was the Smithsonian and you could borrow a walkman. Anyhow, I digress.

The blue tooth head set knows what to play when you get close to a display. The headphone lines were quite long,so I suggest wrapping it around the device a few times and tucking it into the kids pockets. One thing I freaked out on  during a bathroom trip was “Oh gosh, I didn’t take them off of my kids before they went into the bathroom.” I could see them dropping the whole device into the toilet. Luckily they didn’t, but I suggest collecting them before the kids go into the bathroom.

The main area had a large couch and seating area where we received out devices. There was also a piano. We went hunting for a bathroom first. There was a family area for kids that had one bathroom stall. We didn’t go into the bathroom there, but found one next to the cafe.

The family room.

Cafe allegro. They had kid and adult friendly food, as well as Almond Milk for coffee (YAY) and adult beverages. The prices were a bit higher, but you are paying for the convenience. There is no food or drink (even water bottles) allowed in the rest of the museum. The bathroom we went into was next to the cafe. It was many stalls and had a changing table.



I always get the question “Is it appropriate for my kids?” Well, if you have energetic kids like mine, this may not be the museum for you unless you do one of the classes. We did the drum workshop, and it was truly amazing. There were about 40-50 people in our workshop, all with African drums. When you have that many people, the drums are noisy. Especially with little ones. We were all hammering away on the drums, and the teacher was able to get everyone quiet with just a look. He had presence that I wish I had. He put his hand up, and even the youngest of the group just stopped. It was pretty amazing!

The Drum workshop took place in the event rooms, which were behind the Experience Gallery, which is the only room where kids can touch everything. But, you still have to be gentle. And, they do have a “bouncer” at the door to make sure that there aren’t a crazy amount of people in the room.

Munchie was a bit grumpy because he had to have his thumb patched up.

The Experience Gallery is amazing. There are gongs and bells, and things to play, and strum and move. Honestly, if this was the museum-we would have been happy with it!

Don’t get my wrong, the rest of the museum is absolutely amazing. My kids did well in three rooms (and the rooms are big and full of stuff), but not touching all these sparkly different items was hard for them.

Each display was on a slight stage and had fencing around it, but the items were still reachable by little hands. There was also a little plaque that had information about what you were listening to or watching (some displays had video as well). Some of the displays had multiple tracks, and it would show on the corresponding screen which track you were listening to. The audio system was really amazing, because you could go in any direction and listen to different music, without bothering anyone else.


Europe section of Instruments of the world. Since my husband and I are both half polish, I had to take a picture of this. The displays and music for each country was really remarkable, especially the unique instruments for each country. My kids were doing ok, but started to dance and twirl….and then one tripped into a display. Sigh…Luckily I caught him before anything happened, but my momma juice was running low.


This amazing drum set. I forget who it was for, but I wish I had the talent to play all of this!

There were huge rooms on the second floor with musical instruments from around the world. Some huge long ones from Asia that I peeked in as we headed out.

Unfortunately, our day started early and we weren’t able to see the whole museum. I think it is absolutely an amazing museum, full of tons of items from artists (even Taylor Swift, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Gin Blossoms..just to name a few). However, I do feel like this museum is good for the little ones if you are just doing a class and stay in the experience gallery-and maybe do one of the around the world rooms. I do think kids 10+ who are into music or certain artists could love the experience. There is a LOT to see and listen too, and easily can be an all day tour.

The museum attracted an older crowd-retirees and adults, and some school groups. I would highly suggest going on a date night or a girls night out. If you have littles, check out a class. Food isn’t permitted in the galleries, but there are water fountains available, and the cafe.

The Basics

Musical Instrument Museum

4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix




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