All posts Musings Reviews Wanderlust Friday

Wanderlust Friday at the Beach

July 31, 2015

My family visited us for a few days last week, which gave me an excuse to plan out all sorts of cool itineraries around the glorious tourist mecca that Washington DC becomes in the summer. We ticked off a bunch of well known sites and museums, but had the most fun at the Beach. (Typical, I know).


_MG_6175The BEACH installation at the National Building Museum, Washington DC, USA. 

What’s isn’t so typical is that the beach was inside, with A/C and all. In fact, it’s an actual installation, in one of DC’s most beautiful museums. The inside of the Building Museum’s iconic big hall with towering Corinthian columns rising four stories high is now filled with beach goers, reclining on loungers, sipping on some refreshments, and once in a while doing the cannonball into a pit filled with nearly 1,000,000 translucent balls.

_MG_6132TheBeach_housetolaos_collage2_MG_6144Interactive, fun inducing BEACH installation at the National Building Museum, Washington DC, USA. 

The BEACH is a brainchild of Brooklyn-based experimental-architecture firm Snarkitecture and Hours of entertainment can be had in the pit, which at times can feel bottomless as it sucks you in. Full grown adults can – and will – sink, struggle, and laugh deliriously while trying to stand up.

Although staff are present to make sure no one gets hurt, we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of admonishing not to run, jump, or whatever else. Play is encouraged, cannonballs allowed, and  swimming props  – including swimming tubes – occasionally make their way through the crowd.

My favorite bit though was seeing this mass of adults have so much unbridled fun, that I don’t think is even rivaled by places like Disney or Water World. It must be the setting —  this is a museum after all — and who runs around squealing in a museum? The unexpectedness of it all — an ocean of balls, with a shoreline and reclining beach chairs with umbrellas in this beautiful hall — has a way of catching you off guard in the most pleasant way.


_MG_6100Family time at the BEACH, National Building Museum, Washington DC, USA. 

To Visit the BEACH

_MG_6161In the pit. The BEACH installation at the National Building Museum, Washington DC, USA. 

The BEACH is open for the rest of the summer through Labor Day, it should be on your list if you are in town.

The Beach is housed at the National Building Museum over in Washington DC’s Chinatown / Penn Quarter area. The address is: 401 F St NW.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $13 for students.

The Beach hours are 10:00 am to 5 pm, except of Wednesdays, when the Museum hosts “Late Night” party, which features performers and cocktails.

We would strongly suggest going right before 10 am, or closer to the end of the day — the admission lines can get long. Another tip is if you go with a friend, split up and have one person stand in line to get the tickets, and another in line for the actual admission to the BEACH.

_MG_6173The BEACH installation at the National Building Museum, Washington DC, USA. 

Many thanks to the National Building Museum for providing press passes for myself and Sergey. We had a blast, and per usual, you get our honest opinions, no matter the implication.

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  • Andrea

    Wow, this looks like SO much fun – and unlike anything I’ve ever seen before 🙂

    • House To Laos

      It’s pretty unusual, because the adults were so into it. there are ball pits for kids, but this was different and aesthetically pleasing too because of the monochromatic set up 🙂

  • Pixics

    That is very cool. It is like a Chuck E Cheese for adults. Also you have some amazing photography skills. There were some great angles in the photos. Loved them.

    • House To Laos

      Thanks for the compliment 🙂 All of the photos are by Sergey and Jenia’s youngest sister Elizabeth. Glad you stopped by here, and do check out the exhibit, its loads of fun!

  • Naomi

    Oh wow, this looks awesome! Never heard about anything like it! Cool photos too.

    x- Naomi in Wonderland

    • House To Laos

      Thanks so much Naomi – it really is super fun 🙂

  • Drive on the Left

    Whoa – that looks A-MAZE-BALLS (haha). We had a short-lived attraction here in London that was basically adult ball pits like those at Chuck-E-Cheese, but this looks so much more…clean? Normal? Love it!

    • House To Laos

      Hahaha – A-MAZE-BALLS – I can’t believe that I didn’t think of this myself!! So funny, thanks for this 🙂 Yes, this definitely felt very clean and sanitized 🙂

  • Andrew Wyatt

    This looks awesome, it must have been so much fun! Unfortunately It sounds like it won’t be on when we finally get to D.C in November 🙁

    • House To Laos

      Yes the exhibit is sadly closing quite soon, we are hoping to make at least one more trip! When you guys are here in November, please give us a shout would love to meet up and show you a bit of the town 🙂

  • Anna Long

    Cool, what a neat place! If my boyfriend and I ever visit Washington D.C. again, we will definitely put this on our itinerary. Also, wanted to mention that you guys have an amazing travel site here. Keep up the great work!

    • House To Laos

      Thanks so much Anna! We would love to see you guys in DC 😉 There is so much to see and do, it’s really a great place to visit (I am working on a few more posts about DC).