By Dimitra Lavrakas
Senior Voice Travel Correspondent 

A bright pink ice cream adventure in Chicago


October 1, 2022 | View PDF

Dimitra Lavrakas photo

Children love the Ice Cream Museum's 'Cherry On Top' game of skill.

As winter's chill comes on, Alaskans start thinking about keeping warm. Aside from muktuk, bacon and caribou soup, the fat Alaskans love most comes from ice cream.

If you have children and grandchildren in Austin, Texas, New York City, or Chicago, Illinois, when you visit, bring them to the Museum of Ice Cream. There are also locations in Shanghai and Singapore.

However, if you have hearing aids, you might want to block the irritating pop music by turning them down or off. And if you go in the summer, bring a sweater because the air conditioning is positively arctic.

Ice cream everywhere

Free ice cream is offered along the route, which seems like a tunnel through a bright pink world. You can have as much of the ice cream as you wish. The day I went, there was a choice of cotton candy sprinkle or raspberry sorbet at one stand.

Next to the first ice cream snack bar there is a game of skill called "Cherry On Top," where you try to shoot a bull's eye in order to make the cone rise to connect to the cherry.

Will delight the young ones

Kids will love the brightly colored giant plastic sprinkles pool they can dive or jump into. It even has a Hoyer lift for those with mobility challenges. We are told they are sanitized regularly.

There is a room with

three miniature golf putting greens that were being played avidly by youngsters.

Along the route, a wall

displays antique ice cream scoops and advertisements, and a video explains the history of ice cream.

The crowd was decidedly young, even for a weekday, except for one man who rocked a hippie vibe with a long gray ponytail.

Inspired 'experiums'

The company was founded by Maryellis Bunn and Manish Vora. Its first location, a pop-up, opened in the Meatpacking District of New York City in 2016. Bunn drew inspiration for the company from her perspective on American retail and traditional museums, which she has respectively referred to as a "dead industry" and "archaic."

The locations are considered "interactive multi-sensory exhibits," but Bunn has stated she prefers the term "experiums" to describe the company's locations.

Admission runs from a $36 mid-week special to $44 on the weekends, with those under the age of two free.

While there, keep in mind the large ice cream parlor offers not only 12 different flavors of ice cream scoops, but also floats, shakes and sundaes, and a full liquor bar – perhaps a good place to park while the others explore.

Old lady lost

Located in the Tribune Tower, the landmark is important to note as it is hard to maneuver the streets of Chicago without a guide or GPS on your phone, and the tower is huge and easily seen

Dimitra Lavrakas photo

Snuggle up to an ice cream treat or perhaps your favorite drink.

I am not familiar with Chicago, and yes, it is a city of gridded streets, but even with written out directions (I forgot my phone) I got lost. I walked and walked until I hailed a taxi. A good thing about Chicago is the taxi fares are reasonable.

On the way back, I went to a bus stop across the street and asked a driver which bus would take me back to my stop on the Green Line at Lake and State and was told it was the 196. And so it whisked me back to where I started.

But wait, the travails are not over. I took the wrong train in the wrong direction. Four stops into the trip I thought, "I don't remember that stop." I looked up at the route map and realized what I had done. A simple four-foot walk to the other side of the platform sent me on my way home. And I was glad to get there.

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