By Travis Teo
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - America's Museum of Ice Cream launched its first international outlet in Singapore on Thursday, providing some sweet distraction from the coronavirus after curbs put a halt to many entertainment activities across the city state.
Visitors were required to book in advance to prevent crowding and many were excited about the interactive exhibits - free-flow ice cream and children's ball pool filled with plastic multi-coloured ice cream sprinkles.
"We had a lot of fun in the bouncy castle, we were wearing our masks, but bouncing off the calories," said health coach Trudy Sweeney, while biting into a red bean potong ice cream, one of the Singapore edition's local offerings.
Her friend Mitch Tugade said the museum was a nice break from the pandemic.
"It's really a good place to be - it's happy and you forget about what's happening outside when you're here."
The Museum of Ice Cream said it planned to expand to more locations soon, the next opening in Austin, Texas, on Saturday.
Its flagship New York museum is wildly popular with social media influencers and frequently attracts celebrities.
Pirakash T, Asia Pacific head at Museum of Ice Cream Singapore, said a big plus was seeing people happy.
"It also helps the creative side of your brain, helps you forget about things. So I definitely do think that it is beneficial, allows you to take a break from things that are happening outside," he said.
The 60,000 square foot (5,574 sq m) museum has strict coronavirus protocols, including mandatory check-ins and showing of vaccination certificates or negative COVID-19 tests.
"We definitely feel safe, we are all wearing our masks, except when we are eating the treats, and the vaccination rate is so high here," said personal trainer Amanda Lim. "We felt like it was a no-risk situation, so we are happy to be here."
(Editing by Martin Petty and Alex Richardson)