Embrace Your Inner Child at the Museum of Ice Cream

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EMBRACE YOUR INNER CHILD AT THE MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM
by Debbie Stone

 

New York City has museums galore, focusing on everything from art and science to history and space, as well as niche specialties such as digital and film media, transit, Jewish heritage, Latino culture, and even a spy museum devoted to exploring your own superhero powers. With nearly a hundred museums in and around the Big Apple, visitors are guaranteed to find one that appeals to them.

If you’re looking for a museum that’s not only interactive and immersive but also tasty, head to the Museum of Ice Cream. You’ll learn plenty about this popular treat, plus, you’ll get to sample it in several forms. It’s innovative, fun, and most of all, delicious!

The museum currently has locations in NYC, Austin, Texas, and Singapore. The New York City site opened in 2016 to rave reviews and since then, it has attracted over several hundred thousand satisfied visitors. Founders Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora are credited with the concept, while Figure8 is the parent company.

Escape reality as you walk through the doors of this ice cream fantasy land. You’ll feel as if you’ve entered Willy Wonka’s factory. Thirteen multi-sensory installations are spread among three floors of the 20,000 square-foot building and decorated to the hilt to reflect the seasons and holidays. This past holiday season, it was “Pinkmas,” and everything was done up in, you guessed it – pink!

Each space elicits imagination and creativity while providing dozens of Instagrammable and photo-worthy moments. Follow the “melt this way” arrows, as you engage in activities like sliding down the indoor Ice Cream Portal, taking a ride to outer space in the Celestial Subway, dancing through the Rainbow Tunnel, and meandering amid a wonderland of hanging bananas and jumping in the Sprinkle Pool. And yes, all ages are encouraged to participate!

Along the way, you’ll learn some fun facts about ice cream. Remember the date 618 A.D., as that’s the birth of ice cream, attributed to the Chinese Tang Dynasty. Flash forward to 1744 when ice cream in America is first written about in a letter from a guest of the then Maryland Governor William Bladen. A few years later, an ad for ice cream is posted in the New York Gazette by confectioner Filippo Lenzi, marking its marketing debut.

The cone makes its entrance at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 when a waffle maker and ice cream maker join forces. Today, our country produces a whopping two billion cones a year.

  • Welcome to the Museum of Ice Cream and see the large scoop!
    Welcome to the Museum of Ice Cream and see the large scoop!

 

The 1920s saw the invention of the ice cream bar, while the 1930s brought soft serve ice cream to our palettes. It was a stroke of accidental genius when Tom Carvel’s ice cream truck had a flat tire, causing his ice cream to slightly melt. His customers went wild for the results and soft-serve became a mainstay.

A map in the museum directs your attention to ice cream around the world, with numerous unique delights, including Hazelnut Gelato in Italy, Tiger Tail in Canada (a blend of swirling black licorice in orange-flavored ice cream), Hokey Pokey in New Zealand (vanilla base with crunchy, gooey, honeycomb, toffee pieces) and Keso in the Philippines (a salty-sweet combo of cream and cheddar cheese).

You’ll discover that China buys the most ice cream, followed by the U.S. and Japan, but in terms of consumption per capita, New Zealand takes the lead, then the U.S., Australia, Finland, and Sweden.

Question and answer boards inform you that the average American eats twenty quarts of ice cream per year. And as for why we love the stuff so much, you can blame your addiction on science, as ice cream has the perfect mix of sugar and fat – the main energy sources that human brains are designed to crave.

Visitors can give themselves an ice cream-related name to wear during their tour. After reading some of the monikers for celebs, including Oprah Winfreeze, George Coolney, Katy Berry, Dwayne the Rocky Road Johnson and Leonardo DeCreamio, you’ll be inspired to invent your own. My son, for example, whose name is Jake, chose “Jocolate,” while his wife, Bri, was “Brinana Split.” I, on the other hand, became, “Debbin’ Dots.”

You can also use magnetic letters to decorate a wall in response to prompts like: “Share your earliest memory of ice cream with your cone-panion,” “What is your dream?” and “What advice would you tell your younger self?” I’d need more letters, more wall space, and a lot more time to answer the latter!

As for treats, there are plenty. During my visit, the smorgasbord included a cone of “Creamy Peppermint Snow,” which was vanilla soft serve with peppermint crumble, followed by a cherry popsicle, a choice of a scoop of gingerbread or peppermint ice cream or raspberry sorbet, and for the finale, a doughnut hole in whipped cream with a fruity syrup drizzled on top. Talk about a sugar rush! And for the adults in the crowd, there are several blended alcoholic drinks available for an additional cost.

If you go: Entrance is by reserved timed tickets – www.museumoficecream.com  

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners. She’s an avid explorer who welcomes new opportunities to increase awareness and enthusiasm for places, culture, food, history, nature, outdoor adventure, wellness, and more. Her travels have taken her to nearly 100 countries and all seven continents.

 

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About the Author:

Debbie Stone is an established travel writer and columnist, and regular contributor for Big Blend Radio and Big Blend Magazines, who crosses the globe in search of unique destinations and experiences to share with her readers and listeners.

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