Welcome to the Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) – This is a place which adult minds have been trained to reject – vivid colours, randomly dispersed giant plastic ice cream-themed art installations, overly enthusiastic staff (aptly called the “Pink army”) and frankly, no immediately apparent “raison d’être”.
Having said that, it is also a place where the quintessential millennials feel right at home – every corner of the 4-story Miami Beach space is designed to be social media friendly – Instagram heaven.
MOIC was co-founded by Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora who were inspired to connect millennials with experiential art. The first Museum of Ice Cream opened in July 2016 in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
With nothing more than a single press release, it sold out in three days (leaving over 200,000 people waitlisted), further proving that Instagram-centric art experiences are now a legitimate industry. A pop up in Los Angeles and Miami followed, with the most recent one just opening in San Francisco.
I was lucky to be there in the final week of the Miami Beach pop up, and of course, couldn’t resist the temptation to take some pink-flavoured snaps and sample some delicious artisanal ice cream. I got my hands on one of the $38 tickets and filled with excitement waited dutifully in line under the blistering Florida sun.
It all starts with being put in a “team” with other fellow visitors. You have to choose an ice cream name for yourself based on your flavour and toppings preferences and you also have to brainstorm a team name before you can enter the museum. I was asked what my favourite animal was, while another member of our group was asked his favourite flavour of ice cream – and so, The Vanilla Tigers were born 🙂
The sprinkle pool – a visitor favourite in both the NYC and LA locations – is the first room you enter. It is filled with over 100 million plastic custom-designed multicoloured “sprinkles”. I know I will probably run against what everyone else has said, but it wasn’t really that much fun – 15 people in a tiny 4-foot deep pool filled with sprinkles vying for the “perfect” Instagram shot… not as awesome as you might imagine.
The Instagram-friendly play spaces are what defines this experience. I do have to say that they still need to work on figuring out the appropriate lighting because it’s not well positioned – and as we know, light is everything when it comes to a good photo!
I was the biggest fan of the banana swing! And of course, I wasn’t alone – there was a line of people politely waiting their turn. Some were quick and efficient and offered to take photos of each other, while others had decided to bring along a stylist and a professional photographer to take photos of their children 😲
I have to say that the word “museum” is very loosely used – the experience revolves predominantly around vividly coloured rooms and confection-themed exhibits.
I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to tell what the experience is designed to entail, but the fact that everything is pink and glittery made me oh, so happy! 🙂
For something which was originally only meant to exist for 30 days, I would say MOIC has definitely made its mark onto the social media scene. To further prove the point of her accomplishment, Maryellis Bunn was named as one of Forbes 30 Under 30 for 2018.
This is a place where imagination and creativity reign supreme. But more than that – it’s just plain fun! An interactive, picture-friendly space where the selfie opportunities are abundant.
Walking through all the themed rooms, paying tribute to all sorts of ice cream flavours and toppings, made me wonder what Willy Wonka’s world would look like if he were a girl obsessed with ice cream – I imagine something pretty close to this 🙂
Perhaps this isn’t everyone’s idea of fun – but it definitely was mine! I had a blast! Diving into the sprinkle pool, making sand shapes in the pink sandbox, enjoying the banana swing all the while surrounded by vivid colours and delicious treats – makes for one awesome afternoon.
Also, I have to say that the vanilla-flavoured melted ice cream was my absolute favourite!!! I could have drank 5 of those little boxes…
And what better way to finish a wonderful afternoon full of colour than with some hula hooping on the roof 😉