Make us your home page
Instagram

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 swynne@tampabay.com. Follow @SharonKWn.

Lance Tejo, 15; Bryce Navarro, 15; and Hailey Alimo, 12, of Wesley Chapel cannonball into the Beach Tampa’s 1.2 million balls. The free installation ends Thursday at Amalie Arena.

LUIS SANTANA | Times

Lance Tejo, 15; Bryce Navarro, 15; and Hailey Alimo, 12, of Wesley Chapel cannonball into the Beach Tampa’s 1.2 million balls. The free installation ends Thursday at Amalie Arena.

. If you go

Beach Tampa

Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday and noon to 8 p.m. Monday-Thursday at Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. (813) 301-2500; thebeachtampa.com.

Tickets: Check online at thebeachtampa.com for daily tickets, but don't worry if it is sold out. Walk-up tickets are released every day at the arena box office starting at 9 a.m.

Parking: Park in the South Regional Parking garage, 301 Channelside Drive, between Florida Avenue and Morgan Street. Once inside, you can get a validation to exit the parking deck at no charge.

Insider tips: Your last chance to play in 1.2 million balls at Amalie Arena 08/19/16 [Last modified: Friday, August 19, 2016 4:17pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Five ideas for party foods to bring to your potluck

    Cooking

    What's in a name? That which we call a casserole by any other name is still, well, a casserole. Generally a go-to for potlucks, casseroles are quick and easy to transfer, and they can feed a lot of people. But take a look at your next potluck table and count how many casseroles there are. You can change the game …

    iStockphoto
  2. A new study says french fries could kill you, but is that accurate?

    Cooking

    Hey, you, reading this story over a pile of french fries: Back slowly away from the crispy spuds. They're out to get you.

  3. Pasco libraries offer relief from the heat with reading programs, activities

    Kids

    HOLIDAY — Angelina Ponzo has a goal this summer: to read as many books as possible.

    Alexis Ponzo, left, uses watercolor crayons to draw a heart tattoo on her daughter Angelina's arm during a recent summer reading program event at Centennial Park Library in Holiday. Local libraries are hosting reading programs and a variety of educational, entertaining and family friendly events throughout the summer months.
  4. Want to feel old? It's been 20 years since the first 'Harry Potter' was published

    Books

    He was so cute: Blond hair, blue eyes and a killer smile. He was dressed in a black robe with a fake scar on his forehead and regaling our fifth-grade class with his book report on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. As a 10-year-old with only the most sophisticated of tastes (give me a Baby-Sitters Club any day), …

    An auctioneer holds a first edition copy of the first Harry Potter book "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" containing annotations and illustrations by author J.K. Rowling. The tale has turned 20,  published in Britain on June 26, 1997. Since then, it has sold more than 450 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 79 languages. (Associated Press [2013])
  5. Restaurant review: Deccan Spice in Feather Sound is a gateway to the allures of Indian cuisine

    Food & Dining

    CLEARWATER

    Feather Sound's Tru Lounge, which was Flo Lounge before that, morphed into Grand Siam in 2012, a giant Thai restaurant owned by the folks who had Ban Thai restaurants in Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon and Lakeland. It was lavish with dramatic fluted chandeliers and a long, polished wood sushi bar, but it …

    Some of the selections at a recent lunch buffet at Deccan Spice included chicken biryani, gobi masala and murgh masala.