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You can spend a day at this beach without getting sand in your shoes — or even getting wet.
The stately National Building Museum in Washington has opened a 10,000-square-foot indoor beach this summer made entirely of recyclable plastic balls — almost a million of them.
“The little ones, the adults are going in and out. It’s fun. This is beautiful,” said Maureen Kendall, who was visiting from Boston on a recent day with her granddaughter, Kaylee Kendall-Beaden.
They were visiting a relative in Washington and heard about it on Snapchat.
“It’s nicer because my grandmother can bring her walker on here,” Kaylee said.
The installation opened July 4 in the museum’s Great Hall. Thousands of people have visited, including many who probably had never heard of the museum before, said Emma Filar, a spokeswoman.
An architecture firm called Snarkitecture built the indoor beach. Ben Porto, a senior associate at the firm, said that while Washington is a popular place to visit during the summer, it doesn’t have a shore.
And allowing people to interact with architecture, not just observe it, is important to the firm, he said: “It’s something we try to focus on and is accessible.”
Jessica Mainhart, a mother of two, was visiting for the second time with her daughters. She said they plan to come again later.
“There's something about bubbles and balls and you smile," Mainhart said. "Everyone's smiling. It's a great time."
It’s always 70 degrees at the indoor beach — an improvement on Washington’s infamous, swamplike humidity.
Plus, Mainhart said, “it’s nice not having to worry about sharks.”
The indoor beach is open through Labor Day.