The Museum of Ice Cream is as close as you’ll get to a real-life Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.
“This vision is really born out of my own childhood fantasies and dreams,” says Maryellis Bunn, the creative director behind the Meatpacking pop-up opening Friday through Aug. 31 at 100 Gansevoort St. “A lot of that imagination, although it’s matured and become refined over the years, it’s still at the heart of how I see things. Being able to build it from that same mind-set as a child is what’s been so jovial and joyous.”
Her summer-perfect idea began with one image years ago on the beaches of California, where Bunn grew up. “There’s this synergy between the ocean and my love and passion for desserts, and the one idea that kept coming back to me is the sprinkle pool,” she says.
That pool, filled with giant (inedible) rainbow sprinkles that visitors can jump into from a diving board, will be part of an entire playground within the museum, which will also include an ice cream sandwich swing for two and a seesaw with scoops for seats.
Despite the similarities to Wonka’s factory, one big way the Museum of Ice Cream differs is that visitors will be encouraged to eat the “displays.” There will be edible balloons, an “immersive chocolate room” with a fountain and a Scoop of the Week, including a Blue Marble collaboration with Kellogg’s and surprising tastes from Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Black Tap and more.
Oh, and there actually is a Wonka on staff — Irwin Adam of Future Food Studio, a Canadian company on a mission to “redefine the food experience,” will lead tastings in what’s sure to be an out-of-the-ordinary ice cream parlor.
When she’s not creating museums, Bunn is a startup consultant. Any companies who wanted to come aboard this project had to also match the fun-first attitude in which it was created. Tinder turned out to be, ahem, a perfect match, creating a Tinder Land to help visitors find their “forever flavor” (or, perhaps, just the right one for their current mood?)
Would Bunn consider branching out into a different dessert next? “I’m obsessed with ice cream; it’s a single medium,” she says. “I’m not cakes, I’m not cupcakes, it’s strictly ice cream.”
Note that while tickets are sold out for the museum’s entire month-long run, you can get in free Friday, opening day, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. So probably get in line now.