IMG_2645At this point in the summer, it’s no secret, the National Building Museum has put together another impressive summer exhibit – a giant ball pit cleverly named “The Beach“. I went with my family last Sunday – and here are a few tips that might make your visit more pleasant. It’s open through September 7.

1.  If you are not a member of the Building Museum, buy tickets online. We arrived a few minutes before the museum opened on Sunday (11:00) and there was already a line to get in that was one block long. To skirt that line, you can go the much shorter “members only” line if you have purchased tickets online. If you are a member, you already have access to the shorter ticket line.

2. Bring a second adult if you can swing it. While one adult stood in line for tickets to get into The Beach, the other adult stood in line to actually enter The Beach. Yes, on our weekend visit, it took TWO LINES, not just one. On the bright side, the Building Museum staff were super awesome, bringing out giant LEGO blocks for the kids to play with while their parents staked claim to a spot in the line.

3. That second adult is useful in the beach area, as well. As with all beaches, the “water” is zero-entry, and gradually gets deeper. At it’s deepest point, I’d guess the balls are 3 – 4 feet deep. Every time someone near you moves, you sink a little. I found myself off-balance, and had trouble getting up. I needed my husband’s hand to yank me back above “water”. I fished a few small children out as well. My own children (ages 7 and 9) seemed to have no problem, frequently sinking with balls above their heads, and then popping out.

4. There’s a snack bar at The Beach, so if you think your kids will want to play a while, grab a snack after they get tired and then maybe they’ll hop back in.

5. Either before or after you enter The Beach, take a look at it from above. It’s stunning, and gives a perspective that you just can’t get from inside the exhibit.

It’s a must-see exhibit. My kids walked away begging me to get them a giant ball pit. If it weren’t for the line, I’d consider going back. The exhibit is absolutely all ages, even adults were having fun!

Elaine blogs about running and kids at Connor and Helen Grow Up!