Humanity's Greatest Achievement Celebrated at the Museum of Ice Cream
A pink hued explosion of knowledge at The Museum of Ice Cream now open in Pudong...
It is a widely accepted fact in the trans-disciplinary scientific community that, stretching back across the millennia of global civilization, one of the key paradigm shifting moments in our evolution as a species was the invention of ice cream.
In assessing the key achievements of the great project of humanity — say, the keytar, flamethrowers, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, season 4 of The Office, ass-less chaps, and brunch — the invention of ice cream surely lands somewhere at the top of the list of watershed moments in human history.
With the invention of ice cream, truly this was a moment when we as a people — we as a shared endeavor — we as the collusion of hopes, aspirations, and dreams of all the cascading generations before us — took a great and profound leap forward.
It gives us absolute pleasure to report that, lately, a museum has been erected to solemnly recognize ice cream’s centrality in our collective conscious — The Museum of Ice Cream — in a place where the collective consciousness goes to be inspired: a mall in Pudong.
Join me, academics, scholars, and truth seekers, as we stroll the hallowed halls of The Museum of Ice Cream, marveling at where we’ve been, where we are, and what possibilities the future might hold…
…dare we but to dream.
Coming to us from world renowned research institute Shake Shack in partnership with the official Museum Ice Cream institution founded in NYC in 2006, The Museum of Ice Cream opens in Shanghai on the aegis of similar academic expansions in Austin, Singapore, and Chicago. Their mandate: “A multi-sensory experience with immersive installations that reimagines the way we experience ice cream.”
Which is just a crazy amazing mandate to have.
And kind of flabbergasting.
Split over two floors of mall, the Museum of Ice Cream is Shanghai’s latest premier destination for people who are in that kind of relationship where one person follows the other person around with a pretty nice camera and takes pictures of them standing in front of things.
Are you in a relationship like that? Read on!
Are you really?
I have so many questions for you. Feel like I’m on the outside looking in on that whole thing.
The first act of immersion at the Museum of Ice Cream is choosing your ice cream name.
(What? I don’t know. It just is. Don't ask questions.)
With years of experience in such matters, the SmartShanghai photographer instantly leapt on the correct ice cream name, which is exactly “Sexual Chocolate”, and quickly scribbled it into his name tag.
Creatively, I was headed off into a serial killer-plus-ice cream pun direction but was unable to stick the landing…
Jeffrey Dahmer-Ripple? No…
Let’s keep it simple.
The journey of wonder and discovery begins in a smaller recreation of the thing I just spent like, for real, an hour riding to get to this place.
Yo, don't blow my mind, guys, have you got an exhibition of me standing in line at the bank?
But it’s the pinkest subway car ever. Which you can't be mad at.
I should mention here that the hue of pink features DOMINEERINGLY throughout the academic experience. Like if you ever get hit by lightning and it fries your brain and you have to relearn what colors are, they have you covered for pink.
After .25 seconds you’ll be like GOT IT.
The subway opens up on this absolutely delightful wishing tree (!) with a little sneak peak of something Brady Bunch-ish just around the corner.
And we're truly into it now.
Right here is where you want to start being mindful of any personal flaws you might have in case you make the wrong move and get Willy Wonka'ed right the fuck out of the place.
Oompa Loompas singing a little jape about how because you can be a little bossy at times, you're now mashed up into a great big ice cream thresher.
You gotta come up with a wish and put it on the tree!
Get this, the SmartShanghai photographer goes, "Do you want me to take pictures of other peoples' wishes?"
What! NO BRO, are you trying to get us Wonka'ed!
(He wasn't gonna make it through this entire thing that's for sure. I could already feel the Oompa Loompas putting together a fresh sounding beat for him.)
Then it's this, which is the basic gyst of the 14 areas. Like a bunch of ice cream-ish rooms you can stand in and get a picture of yourself taken in so people can scroll by it in their WeChat Moments, hover their finger over the "Like" button, think better of it, and scroll by.
Crossroads moment: a lengthy discussion of late stage global capitalism or continue on with the tour!
How about both!
Next room is the games room which is a few of those unwinnable claw game things, a game where you pointlessly try to toss a beanbag through a hole, and a meandering merry-go-round ride that spins around endlessly in a listless circle, creating the illusion of progress where none is possible.
I collapsed to my knees under the metaphorical weight in this room. I let lose a choked gasp as the veil of the world was ripped away and the True Nature of All Things was presented in all its greedy abandon.
Gonna take a break on the running commentary for the next slide while I look for my joie de vivre.
All is well again, my friends, here we are in the inexplicable banana room, which once again presents us with the truism that life needs no explanation.
Or at least that's what we're going with because there are a fair amount of slides to get through.
If you need a description, it's like a pink jungle and there are tons of bananas hanging from the ceiling...
My first ever job that wasn’t throwing the weekly penny saver flyer down the storm drain and collecting the paycheck was as a counterperson at the Dairy Queen in the Beacon Hill Mall. My fate, inextricably bound with ice cream ‘lo these many years, I feel qualified to offer a few interesting facts on the subject, as… well... not very many were provided at the museum.
Many claim that the Roman Emperor Nero invented the sorbet, a precursor to good old American ice cream and had ice collected from the Apennine Mountains to produce the first frozen desert, a concoction of honey and wine. Others trace its origins back further still to Persia, Ancient Egypt, and, of course, China. Tang Dynasty records elucidate a chilled dessert made with camphor and water buffalo milk.
So there you go.
Wonka vibes are strong in this area.
(I was on my best behaviour the whole time cause I thought, 'hey, if I make it through the whole thing, the Shake Shack wizard is going to pop out of nowhere and just gift me the place outright.')
Oh ya, just the basketball and the other thing room.
This is the main thing. The climax. The big slide that whisks you down from the second floor to the first. I strut up to this thing like Genghis Khan, a full three feet taller than the maximum height on the chart next to the entrance. The poor museum assistant turns around from helping Sailor Moon down the thing and sees me coming like, oooooohhh shhhhiiiiiittttt.
I’m upon him now and let loose a mighty, prehistoric roar, a huge bolt of radiation blasting from my mouth that could have leveled half of Tokyo.
LET. ME. ON. THE. SLIDE.
They had to put together four single-person slide mats, and three assistants had to plunger me down the thing -- more than one time during the process I thought to myself, 'oh fuck me, what's Chinese for I'm stuck, fuckfuckfuck' -- but we got the job DONE.
And it was worth it.
And here's the last room. A big sprinkles pit...
I needn't say more.
Then there's a 1950s American dinner where you can get a lil free guy ice cream...
...or buy yourself a proper ice cream and an alcoholic beverage because life is meant to be enjoyed dammit.
And the gift shop.
For children under 6, of course, and for those of any age who are forever mild at heart.
(But really. It's for little kids...)
Details: 168rmb per person, which includes a lil ice cream guy at the end. Three tickets for 468rmb.