The Museum of Ice Cream Miami:
The Museum of Ice Cream is the physical manifestation of what is wrong with this world. I know that may seem drastic but it really is pollution for profit and the obsession with getting the perfect Instagram photo no matter the cost. There are a few things I wasn’t pleased about while visiting but the worst was the sprinkle pool. Not only was it less than fun while in it, but I can’t help but think about the environmental damage it will cause for years to come. I think part of what made me so angry is that there was so much emphasis on the “imagery aspect” and the overstimulation of the senses, that even I was distracted enough to forget about all the environmental damage. I guess you could say I feel duped and somewhat taken advantage of. But it’s my own fault. So, I hope I can offer some retribution and that this post informs you and more importantly, convinces you, not to support this place. I truly hope you’ll avoid this experience and help me push for more environmentally friendly practices. Also, I hope this opens people’s eyes to how not everything is as it appears on social media.
“Most plastic has a purpose, like bottle caps and food wrappers. What is the purpose of this tiny piece of plastic other than a selfie moment?” – Eva Holman
It’s not all Ice Cream and Sprinkles:
When I look at these photos, I cringe. I fucking cringe. First of all, because these photos make it look fun and glamorous, which it’s not. And also because I can’t in good conscience support this place. I feel like a moron in these pictures, how could I be so clueless? ME? Someone who lectures waiters on straws and cashiers on plastic bags. I actually paid money to a place that is the definition of pollution for profit. Let’s put that aside though because I feel like even if you don’t care about the environment, you still shouldn’t go there.
First of all, this is a one-way experience so if you move on and out of a room, you can’t go back. This is fine as long as you don’t have to go to the bathroom. The restroom is located about halfway through the museum so if you need to race there and start over, you can’t. Besides that, there is no water. They constantly shove corn-syrup filled “treats” in your face with no water to drink so if you do decide to come, (please don’t) make sure to bring your own water bottle and comfortable shoes.
The Tour Begins:
After entering the museum you are ushered into a room with pink glitter “velvet” ropes and an adorable fortune teller who does cute tricks like guessing your favorite ice cream flavor. Then, you are instructed to move into the next room which resembles an ice cream shop complete with gold glitter floors. In this room, we received our first dessert. It came in a plastic cup with a plastic spoon on a conveyer belt. Rachel grabbed one for me and we posed for photos. I couldn’t stop thinking about how none of these plastic products were recyclable and they were churning them out every few seconds all day, every day the museum is open. Pretty sure you can see the hesitation on my face in the image below.
Next is the balloon room which is outside. The faux balloons are suspended in air with clear twine so patrons can snap a photo with them as if to look like they’d just been let go… STOP. WHAT??? Do you know how bad it is to release balloons into the air? Why is this place glamorizing this? I feel like they’re not only environmentally clueless but almost trying to hurt the earth. It’s just too much. I can’t help but think of all the people who will see that and see nothing wrong, ever perpetuating and encouraging the plastic litter problem.
Next is the ice cream room with all the cones and fans. I liked this room but the lighting was hideous. I’ll go into more detail about my issues with the lighting in the next paragraph but I’ll say this: Yes, I got a great photo.(heavily edited) And, yes it’s in the exact same location and set up as everyone else who got a great photo in that room. Why? Because there is only one option for getting a good photo, as there is only one spotlight to stand in.
The Jungle Room:
Once you arrive at the all pink jungle room (where the banana swing is), the AC either doesn’t work or isn’t sufficient enough for 50 people all waiting in line to get the perfect shot. They hand you a chocolate covered banana while you wait in line. (I declined this treat as I had already succeeded my targeted sugar intake for the day thanks to the first dessert.) Then the staff proceeds to shout at everyone several times that we have to finish the treat within that room. Like, we have a 20-minute wait, I think we’ll finish the damn “treat” before moving on. All the while, kids with sticky (chocolate/banana) fingers are running between the lines and screaming. At any minute they could crash right into you and ruin your outfit, so just beware. After waiting 20 minutes for our turn, the girl at the swing had the nerve to tell us to just take one picture, like, “ok hun, sure, I’ll take one picture after everyone else took 20 and 5 boomerangs.” SO RUDE. “Like, we’ll take the turn we waited for, thank you.” Of course, I didn’t say that out loud, but, you know. (The cherry swing near the entrance is better anyway but it wasn’t going to work with my tiny skirt)
Once you’re on this swing you realize the lighting is horrendous and the faux tree behind you needs to be raised. All the photo shoot locations are spotlighted so if you don’t stand exactly where you’re meant to, or if you’re too tall, you won’t have decent lighting or a good background. This is obviously annoying to any type of creative because who wants to have the exact same photo as everyone else? On top of the fact that we had one option for a decent angle, this location was especially irritating because IT’S A SWING- IT MOVES- actually, IT SWINGS… once you swing forward you’re out of the spotlight. The amount of editing I did to lighten my legs was amazing. In other images, like the one with my hands in a heart shape, you can see the spotlight on my hair. It was just horrible lighting all around. Couple that with the fact that their ratchet track lighting wasn’t even painted to match the room, let’s just say I was less than impressed.
We skipped the coconut room because it reeked of B.O. and changed outfits in the single person bathroom to continue the tour. Up the stairs, we found the only museum-ish part of the tour, a few placards with covers. The covers asked an ice cream history question and when you lifted them up, the plaque had the trivia answer below. This was in the hall on the way into a faux ice cream shop. The ice cream shop looked so real I definitely thought we were getting real ice cream in our preferred flavor with our favorite toppings, but instead, there was just a cooler with one-flavor of “melted ice cream” in pink milk cartons. The second ingredient was corn syrup so I passed yet again. We got a few photos before moving on.
The “sand castle” room did not interest me in the slightest. The kinetic sand is just weird and I don’t even want to know what they do to it to make it stick together like that. The next room is what I assume to be an activity room for kids. There are all these weird shaped colorful things that stacked on sticks in order to resemble something ice cream related, although, I don’t know what. The lighting again was horrible and there was actually construction happening. I know we went the first day they were open, but to actually have a guy on a ladder in an unfinished room was pretty irritating. If you don’t respect the people who pre-ordered tickets and waited in line, who do you respect? In the far corner of that room, there was a candy bar. I asked for something sour and what I got wasn’t sour at all and again went into the garbage. This was about the time I was parched AF and seeking water to no avail.
The Sprinkle Pool:
The top floor is where you think you’ll see the sprinkle pool yet there is just another crappy dessert and some games. The ping pong table was adorable as was the outside. Then we noticed the line for the Sprinkle Pool. It wrapped around the room and overlapped the popsicle wall. The popsicle wall was another issue for me. Fist, it was hot AF in that area because the sun was shining directly into where we were standing. There needed to be a shade or tinting on the huge window we were baking against. Of course, I looked around to see where the AC was. The vent was not on and I could see why. It was directly over the hanging popsicles. Alas, why all the popsicles were knotted into bunches. I can just imagine the air bowling down tangling all the individual strings. (They warned us at the very beginning of the tour not to touch the popsicles because “they will melt” but I think it’s not guests tangling them, it’s the AC. air flow.)
When we got to the front of the line we were instructed to walk down four stories to the alley and walk around the building to just past the gift shop. (I asked if I could take the elevator bc the stairs in louboutins did not sound nice but it was broken… pretty sure that’s a fire hazard tbh.) As we arrived outside the sprinkle pool we saw sprinkles everywhere. I assumed they swept them up every night and listened to the instructions. Each group was allowed 2.5 minutes. Yeah, two minutes and thirty seconds. For FIVE people to get pics and try to enjoy the experience. We were ushered in and instructed to remove our shoes and wait by the fake showers. Once it was our turn the people who were prior to us wouldn’t clear the area. Rachel and I were so frantic we were halfway trying to get the shots we wanted and halfway complaining to the staff to make the other group leave as they had already gone and were in our pics. 20 seconds lost. Snap, Snap, a bunch of people run into the pool and jump in. WHAT THE HELL! She had to remove them and tell them it wasn’t their turn yet. REALLY? Another 10 seconds lost. Finally, our time was up and we got the pics we wanted. we shook off and put our shoes back on.
As with all amusement parks, you exit through the gift shop. I picked up some locally made earrings, a keychain, and some tea for Rachel as a Xmas/ Hanahka gift ($20 for tea btw). A few loose sprinkles fell out of my hair as I was digging in my handbag. The cashier joked that we’ll find them for the next week in the most random places.
As we walked out and to our car which was parked at Faena (the MOIC valet was full of course) we saw thousands of plastic sprinkles on the sidewalk. I feel like I looked at it and thought, “they sweep this up every night, they must.” but didn’t say anything. Sometimes I get so passionate about plastic that I’m more of a buzzkill than Buzz Killington so I didn’t say anything.
After an hour-drive home and dropping off Rachel, I was home in my closet undressing. Sprinkles continued to fall out of my dress, shoes, and socks. I made my way to the restroom and again sprinkles falling out of… well I don’t know. One landed in the toilet and I thought, “they filter our sewage before it goes into the ocean right?”
The next day I went to Rachel’s to swap photos we’d taken on one another’s SD cards and phones. She had had the same experience with rogue sprinkles but her dog Tucker had started to eat the sprinkles on the bathroom floor! She started thinking about all the animals who’d come into contact with these microplastics. Then, how so many sprinkles would likely run down our drains into the oceans. “And what about all the ones that were strewn down the street?” As she was explaining this I started to have a mini panic attack. How could I have been so distracted? HOW? And if I, the biggest environMENTAList I knew could be hypnotized, there was basically no hope for the general public to become aware of this. Of course, I knew I had to write all about this.
How MOIC Can Improve:
- Switch the Sprinkle Pool to the beginning of the tour. If people were shedding sprinkles throughout the tour and not right when they leave, a lot fewer would end up on the sidewalk, in the storm drains and ultimately in the ocean. (Microplastics like these are the hardest to clean up and the most harmful to wildlife. Plastics absorb smells from their environment and are confused as food to animals who eat them. Watch A Plastic Ocean on Netflix for more info!)
- They should have specific times for “families”. There should be days or hours that are for adults only, families only, and charge a little more for “creators only” where they sell fewer tickets to allow for room to take decent photos.
- Water. seriously, offer water in PAPER cups or drinking fountains. Better yet, offer a refillable water bottle at the begining of the tour and refill stations throughout. Not only will this solve the thirst issue in the venue, but also, it is a step in the direction of limiting single-use plastic water bottles. It could help neutralize their environmental impact and is free advertising anytime their patrons use their new water bottle.
- Lighting. Less spotlight, more room filling light. less warmth, more day-light tones. If you’re going to advertise as an instagrammers dream, like get your lighting ish figured out. seriously.
- More “museum” type additions. Educate people on ice cream. Going to have a sand castle room? ok what does that have to do with ice cream? Maybe a plaque with some info would be nice.
- Alternative sweets. This is 2018, are we really offering GMO, high-fructose- corn-syrup, dairy filled treats? Like really? Upgrade to Organic, and non-GMO with vegan options.
- Offer treats in paper or recyclable containers.
- Shade. There needs to be shade or AC on the line for the sprinkle pool. It was so hot and uncomfortable, with no water, it was just poorly planned.
- Produce bio-degradable sprinkles. Apparently before I could get this up, a local environmentalist went to MOIC Miami and filmed plastic sprinkles on the ground up to three bocks away. This video made it onto the news and MOIC was fined $1000 dollars by the city of Miami. Then, The MOIC released a statement that they lined all storm drains in the area with felt to catch the sprinkles and were in the process of developing bio-degradable sprinkles. First, what is going to happen to all the plastic they already produced for ‘essential IG pics’? And also, are they really going to do this, or was that just a press release to satiate people until they forget and move on? I know I personally won’t forget. which brings to my last point. Where were all the environmentalists in LA and SF- I mean, California is supposedly so politically correct and eco-conscious, was nobody complaining about the sprinkles on the sidewalks there? Was the tour in a different order (pool first) so it wasn’t as big of an issue? Pretty sure it’s not the latter as I was in SF yesterday and found sprinkles right next to the storm drain outside MOIC.
- Sweep up any sprinkles that still make their way outside. This should be a full-time job for someone.
- Make the “Sprinkle Pool” actually pink. This retro faded pink is hideous and needs to be heavily edited to look IG worthy.
- Nix the yellow “sprinkles”. Realistically, who doesn’t remove yellow from their pictures? Everyone I know does. So why even have this heinous color that makes the sprinkles in a whole look shit-green.
As a libertarian, I don’t believe in more laws and rules. I don’t believe they are the answer because look at all the huge corporations who get around the current laws anyway. When sales tank, that’s the only time a company will make changes. Money is always the driving factor in why businesses do what they do. So, it is so important to use our money and influence to make changes. We must vote with our dollar. I hope this post makes changes, I hope you’ll all tweet to MOIC and tell them you won’t be visiting until they become more eco-conscious. I hope the sales tank. Once they feel the hit where it hurts, (in their bank accounts) -that’s when the changes happen.
Thank you for reading,
(These images were taken in order of appearance. by Rachel of The Confused Millenial.)
I left some phone images unedited so you can see the horrible lighting.