NEW YORK — Move over, Willy Wonka. A temporary museum dedicated to all things ice cream is treating visitors to edible balloons, a Chocolate Chamber, a "swim" in a pool of faux rainbow sprinkles and, of course, scoops of heavenly ice cream.
New York's Museum of Ice Cream is the lifelong fantasy of 24-year-old, co-founder Maryellis Bunn.
The six-room tour begins with a free scoop of ice cream. At a press preview Thursday, the treat was topped with fruity cereal, marshmallows and a guava-lime zest.
In the next room, helium-filled, edible balloons produce giggles as visitors' voices are transformed into high-pitched squeaks.
The museum opened to the public Friday. Admission is free from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. After that, it costs $18 per person or $30 for two. The museum closes Aug. 31.
The biggest attraction is a large pool filled with 11,000 pounds of confetti-colored sprinkles. Visitors can immerse themselves in the fake candy. Posted rules include "make a wish," "dip at your own risk" and "Caution: May cause spontaneous happiness."
Happiness was on the minds of Bunn and fellow creator Manish Vora, who frequently asked, "Are you having fun?"
They launched the project to fulfill Bunn's childhood dream of swimming through a pool of sprinkles. They also enlisted more than 30 artists to create — what else? — ice cream-themed works of art. Each artist "brings a unique voice" to his or her creation, Bunn said.
In a nod to Willy Wonka, the Chocolate Chamber is entered through a satiny brown curtain to a musical remix of Pure Imagination. A chocolate fountain, free chocolates, cocoa-bean shards on the floor and an immersive chocolate video can be viewed from the comfort of a large bean bag.
Elsewhere, visitors can suck on a dehydrated Miracle Berry that can alter the sourness of lemon slices atop a cone into a sweet delight.
The tour ends in TinderLand, a playground featuring an ice cream scoop seesaw and an ice cream sandwich swing for two. Visitors also can discover "who they are as a flavor" through an app created with Tinder, Vora said.
In addition to specially created ice cream by food scientist Irwin Adam, of Future Food Network, the museum each week will offer custom frozen treats from one of the city's favorite ice cream shops including Black Tap and Oddfellows.
"It' a lickable, likable ice cream-centric experience," Bunn said.