Even In Winter, Life Can Be A Beach At Navy Pier

Lisa Fielding
January 15, 2019 - 5:42 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Just imagine you're enjoying the sound of the ocean waves. Only it's not exactly waves. It's an indoor sea of translucent balls.

"We started early this morning. Several semis with 220 boxes with 500 balls each that we are literally dumping in the Ballroom," Erica Taylor, director of production and operations at Navy Pier, said Tuesday.

The massive art installation is transforming the Pier's 18,000-square-foot Aon Ballroom into an indoor beach.

"It's a giant ball pit. It's filled with over a million anti-microbial balls,” Taylor said.

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

The exhibit is presented in partnership with EXPO CHICAGO and created by New York based Snarkitecture. When finished, it'll be like being at an indoor beach.

“We'll have tons of beach chairs, we'll have umbrellas. When people are jumping in and out of the balls, it sounds just like waves, so it's really just a day at the beach in the middle of the winter. It's a way to break up the winter blues,” Taylor said.

Guests of all ages are welcome to “swim” through the sea of translucent white spheres starting Saturday Jan. 19.

"It's a bit challenging getting out. It's 3 feet deep everywhere, so you'll be able to wade in a little bit. You can deep as you want. You can go to the deep end or stay in the shallow end just like the beach."

Instagrammable inflatables will also be there for those wanting to take photos.

"We'll have the donuts, a mermaid tale, other cute things like the inflatable Chicago Pizza, all for fun photos. It's a great experience. You feel like a kid jumping in,” Taylor said.

The exhibit runs through Feb. 3. Chicago is not the first market to get this massive beach installation. Previous iterations have popped up in Sydney, Australia, Bangkok, Thailand, and Washington, D.C., among other places.