Saturday, April 21, 2018
Events

Insider tips: Your last chance to play in 1.2 million balls at Amalie Arena

It turns out plenty of people in Tampa Bay want to play in a ball pit.

It doesn't hurt that it's free to flop around in the stunning exhibit of all-white plastic bubbles at the Beach Tampa in Amalie Arena. But it's also just plain fun, so more than 80,000 people have snapped up free tickets so far, an arena spokeswoman said. It's on track to hit the 100,000 mark by the time the exhibit ends on Thursday.

Attendance has been "off-the-charts amazing," said Angela Lanza, event marketing manager at Amalie Arena. "We have exceeded our expectations."

Because of high demand, most of the online tickets for the weekend slots are gone, but the arena is releasing walk-up tickets every day. So you can still get in if you are flexible about your time, Lanza said.

All tickets are for a particular time slot throughout the day. The box office is releasing tickets at 9 a.m. each day — for that day's sessions only — so you could go early to the box office, pick the time you want and come back later. Otherwise, expect to wait or have to come back later for any available remaining slots.

Part art installation, part science lesson, the idea to bring the exhibit to Tampa was hatched last summer when Penny Vinik, wife of Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik, visited the exhibit set up at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. She made it her mission to bring it to Tampa Bay, and got the Vinik Family Foundation to underwrite the cost to bring it here and make it free to the public.

The 15,000-square-foot play area has a white carpeted shoreline and "seawall" suitable for doing a cannonball into the pit. The 1.2 million antimicrobial plastic balls fill in the space around you as you move, making it tough to swim through but buoyant enough to lie back and rest.

There is a concession stand selling beer, sodas, water and lounge chairs. Free ice cream is handed out at the arena entrance.

Free lockers are available and recommended, because dropped items are difficult to recover in the sea of translucent balls. A string backpack is handy to have if you want to bring along your phone and some cash but don't want to risk it falling out of your pocket.

Contact Sharon Kennedy Wynne at [email protected] Follow @SharonKWn.

Comments
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 22

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 22

American Stage in the Park: The Producers: Mel Brooks’ classic cult comedy sees a down-and-out producer and his accountant scheme to produce the most notorious flop in theater history. Through May 13. 8 p.m., Demens Landing, 100 First Ave. SE, St. Pe...
Published: 04/20/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 21

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 21

Kenny Chesney: The tight-jeaned country superstar is making his first return to Tampa in five years and will be joined by country music’s hottest, new act Old Dominion after the release of their sophomore album Happy Endings which debuted No. 1 on Bi...
Published: 04/20/18
Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain talks breakup, reunion, getting sober and returning to St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — HGTV fanatic that he is, Spencer Chamberlain sees a metaphor for his band in the ever-evolving St. Petersburg skyline."When you go downtown and you look at the ONE, that used to be a dirt parking lot," said the singer, referring to a...
Published: 04/20/18
Review: Gilbert King’s ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ a compelling, horrifying look at Florida’s racist history

Review: Gilbert King’s ‘Beneath a Ruthless Sun’ a compelling, horrifying look at Florida’s racist history

If Willis McCall were a fictional character, he’d be too far over the top to be believable. Readers (and editors) would scoff that no one could be such a monster of violent, unabashed racism — and get away with it for so long. But McCall...
Published: 04/20/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 20

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 20

Spyro Gyra: Nine-time Grammy nominated, contemporary jazz icons known for blending soul, Latin, pop, and world beat influences and one of the most famous instrumental ensembles of all time will perform. 8 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Cle...
Updated: 8 hours ago
The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Holocaust connection that makes the Florida Orchestra’s Verdi ‘Requiem’ concert special

The Florida Orchestra puts another exclamation point on its 50th season with Verdi’s Requiem, this weekend’s concert series, a major presentation of an iconic work. Composed by Giuseppe Verdi, Requiem debuted in 1874 but took on a new layer of signif...
Updated: 8 hours ago
On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

On its 20th anniversary, Disney's Animal Kingdom credits conservation with longevity

ORLANDO — When Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened 20 years ago, it was light on thrills and heavy on conservation. On April 22, 1998, Earth Day, the Orlando park had a single thrill ride, Countdown to Extinction, and a handful of shows like ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Persall: Upon retirement, a look back at a star-quality career

Do you see what I did there? The comma and extra "E" in my byline? One last pun, just for fun. It’s the end, fin in French, and something unfortunately ruder in Swedish. Time to retire, nearly 25 years to the day after starting work as the T...
Published: 04/19/18
Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

Freefall flavors 2018-2019 season with comedies and a pair of musicals

ST. PETERSBURG — In the coming season, Freefall Theatre is rolling out a world premiere, a different take on Christmas, a sharp comedy and a recent work by Pulitzer winner Lynn Nottage. The theme for the 2018-2019 season, "A Brighter Tomorrow," color...
Published: 04/19/18
Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

Bar review: London Heights British Pub in Tampa

As a person who has no intention of ever going into the bar business, I spend a good amount of time thinking about what makes bar concepts work. I think about themes, branding, menus, location and myriad other factors that ultimately play into a bar’...
Published: 04/19/18