What you need to know about 'The Beach' at Amalie Arena

Posted at 1:07 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 13:24:56-04
The Beach has opened at Amalie Arena, and tickets to the free event are getting snatched up quickly (you can still get in without an advance ticket; we explain below).
To make everything easy for you, here’s a list of what you need to know before hitting The Beach:
What is this thing exactly?
You could describe it – and many have – as a giant ball pit. But that doesn’t really describe the detail the creators, Snarkitecture, an architecture and design group in New York, poured into the project to make it a unique experience for children and adults. It has the carefully curated feel of an art installation, the kind you jump in and explore.
As you walk into The Beach, notice the white Astroturf-like material beneath your feet. It almost crunches like sand. You’ll see rows of resort-style beach seating leading up to the ball area. The pit is designed like a shoreline with a pier extending into the middle, brimming with 1.2 million translucent white balls. The area is surrounded by mirrors, so the “ocean” looks like it extends infinitely. The pier makes it easy for you to walk out to the deep end.
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA


And while you’re playing, take a second to appreciate that pretty much everything you see will be recycled or reused.
Free, free, free.
The entire event is free, but you’ll need a ticket. You can get one online for a reserved time, or simply go to the event and wait in line for a pass. About half the tickets available for each day are up for grabs online (you can get those here). If tickets for the day and time you want to attend aren't available online, you can still go to Amalie Arena and wait for entry in person.
Parking is free, too, at the South Regional Parking Garage. Here’s a map: 
You can pick up a parking voucher at one of the beach shacks inside the event and use it at the meter when leaving the garage.
Bonus: You get free ice cream while waiting to get into the play area.
The Beach runs through Aug. 25. The event will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Children younger than 14 must be with an adult.
Lots are people are going to go. Will those plastic balls be clean?
The balls are protected with “GermBLOCK,” organizers say, which gives them antimicrobial protection against 50 different germs and bacteria.
So you shouldn’t have to worry about germs.
What all can you do? Well, you can dive.
Snarkitecture co-founder Alex Mustonen floats like a boss on the eve of The Beach's opening.
Or sink. 
Tip: Just like at the real beach, you might want to leave your keys, wallet and phone on the shore.
Or just relax on the shore.