It’s that time of year again. We’ve spent weeks being gluttons with all the glorious holiday food and now we’re making grand plans for the year ahead.
Time to make resolutions to hit the gym, stop drinking, and cut sugar from our diets. Time to explore new places, appreciate the little things in life, and rid ourselves of all that stress.
Well, there’s a perfect new place to explore that’s sure to do all of that – you just might have to delay that healthy eating resolution a bit longer.
Dreaming of summertime
Yeah, it’s winter and hot summer days seem far away. But one of our favorite summertime treats doesn’t have to be enjoyed just during the warm weather months.
There’s pretty much no one alive who doesn’t love ice cream. It represents happiness, the innocence of childhood, and comes in handy during times of emotional crisis. Ice cream doesn’t judge us when we eat it right out of the carton and cry ugly tears.
Ice cream has come a long way since its early origins when the Chinese would freeze a mixture of milk and rice in the snow, or the Romans would send their slaves to the mountaintops to gather fresh snow that the wealthy would flavor and enjoy while everyone else toiled in the heat and built civilization.
Over thousands of years, frozen confections were popular treats with every class of society – a welcomed respite that changed history.
Ice cream took its permanent place in our hearts and culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when it started being offered in local shops in small towns and big cities everywhere.
Ice cream was such a hit – a luxury and a diversion – that it was made illegal to serve ice cream sodas on Sundays in parts of small-town America. Apparently, they were so good, they were sinful.
Business owners got around the law when they replaced the soda with flavored syrup toppings and created a special treat for Sundays. They replaced the “y” with an “e” and the ice cream sundae we all know and love was born.
Decades – and hundreds of variations – later, every freezer in the world is likely to contain some form of ice cream.
We can’t live without it – we use it to celebrate special events and milestones and to bond with family and friends.
And now, ice cream’s importance is being celebrated in a big way.
Here’s the Scoop
Your dreams have come true – there is now an official Ice Cream Museum.
It’s about time.
This dream-turned-reality started with a pop-up museum in New York City in 2016. Several locations have been the cherry on top of tourists’ travels to other major cities, and a permanent location opened up recently in San Francisco.
Now, just in time for a new year, the geniuses behind this concept – like co-founder Manish Vora — have scooped up a SoHo location in New York City, perfect for frazzled city dwellers and tourists to enjoy all year long.
Knowing that ice cream creates positive feelings of comfort and joy, the founders have designed a fun and interactive ice cream wonderland for young and old alike.
When you walk into the pastel dreamland that is the MOIC NYC, you first have to choose an “ice cream name” for the day. Inspiration can come from the ice cream fantasy names of celebrities like Justin “Timbershake” and Anderson “Scooper.”
There are thirteen different “exhibits,” like a candy garden, a three-story slide, and a pink “Celestial Subway.” You can even read the ice cream news of the day on your “commute” with an edition of The Inside Scoop.
There’s a Giant Hall of Scoops, plenty of pop-culture ice cream artwork, nods to the nostalgia that the creamy confection has brought to generations of Americans, and cone-hoop basketball.
Besides the huge slide, kids and adults can climb on rainbow jungle gyms or swing in a sherbet-themed room.
And, yes, there are plenty of ice cream tastings along the way – each appropriately themed to the installation you’re walking through at the time.
And then there’s the Best. Idea. Ever.
Up for a swim?
We know… your mom always told you to wait an hour after eating before you went for a swim. But you won’t mind risking it for a dive into this one-of-a-kind – year-round – pool.
When I first read about the Sprinkle Pool, I thought, “Ok, that’s a little gross. All those kids jumping around in a huge vat of sprinkles, stuffing fists full of them in their mouths and rolling around with runny noses. A giant petri dish of thousands of germs all in one place. No thanks.”
But the Sprinkle Pool is full of giant plastic sprinkles – like a ball pit, but much more fun. (Yes, still germy, but they are cleaned every so often. Whew.)
There’s even an adults-only Sprinkle Pool right next to the kiddie one so you can float around in a sea of pastels while your kids wear off their sugar rush on their own.
The MOIC also offers the Sprinkle Pool room for private events, like the best little girl’s birthday party ever. There’s even a package called “Morning Swim,” targeting not children, but stressed-out New Yorkers who want to float in the sprinkles before facing the day.
They also offer a “Midday Celebration” to relieve the stress of city life for groups who want to rent out the pastel-hued Piano Room and spin some tunes on the pink turntables while enjoying a couple of scoops with sprinkles.
We all scream for ice cream…
The Museum of Ice Cream is fun for all ages. We’ll admit it’s a little on the girly side with all the pink and pastel swirls; the sparkles and sprinkles and unicorns (more on that later), but even a grown man can get on board with lots of ice cream samples with fun flavors.
You’ll pay a bit of a hefty price for admission — $39 for adults – but when you think about returning to a simpler time when all you needed was an ice cream cone to make it all better, it doesn’t seem unreasonable. Especially when ice cream samples are included.
Even better, kids under two are free, and there’s plenty to keep an active toddler busy. The café and retail shop are also open to the public without an admission fee, so tourists can come in for a scoop or two just to say they’ve been there.
The Museum of Ice Cream is a marketing dream. The shop sells candy-colored apparel with slogans like, “I scream,” (maybe a little creepy to wear outside the context of the museum), party goods, toys covered in rainbows and unicorns, and signature sprinkle mixes.
And back to the unicorns… if you have a little girl, you know unicorns are a big thing right now. Of course, ice cream and unicorns are a perfect match, so they’re well-incorporated in the museum. And you can take home some color-changing “Unicorn Tears” tea for that next tea party.
If you can’t get to New York right now, have no fear. You can order specialty MOIC gifts online, and many national retail stores are now selling their signature ice cream flavors. Just check the state locator on their website.
So skip work, grab a scoop, fly down the slide, and take a dip in the Sprinkle Pool.
I guarantee you’ll forget all your problems and remember what it’s like to be truly carefree – at least for a day.
I think most adults would consider that priceless.