We went to The Beach today, but there was no sand between our toes or crusty salt water on our skin after our visit. That’s because we visited the Sydney Festival’s interactive indoor installation that is currently at The Cutaway at Barangaroo. This is art that you are welcome to touch, in fact you can dive right in and roll around at The Beach. Snarkitecture, the New York based designers behind this installation, are challenging our traditional Australian beach culture by designing a beach with 1.1 million recyclable polyethylene balls, making this an ocean with a difference. And yes, it is wheelchair accessible.
There was an excitement in the air as the waiting crowd were allowed into the area. Immediately children were jumping into the ‘ocean’ and many visitors that are clearly young-at-heart joined them. Age seems no barrier at this attraction with wee babies going in with parents and others, who we shall just say are at the other end of the spectrum, joining their grandchildren. It’s simply unabashed fun.
We were directed to the shallow end which has ramp access into the ball pit. It’s a bit tricky to navigate the balls with the wheelchair but Hubby found tipping it back helped to get BJ into the deeper section.
Heading into the deeper area
BJ couldn’t wait to get into the biggest ball pit he’s ever seen. He was absolutely delighted to join everyone else via the wheelchair accessible ramp.
Enjoying the fun
Once in, there wasn’t any need to move again. BJ was happy to kick around and enjoy the fun of the million balls while watching all the action in the wall of mirrors. There’s nothing like admiring yourself and your sporting prowess in huge mirrors!
Various fun, colourful inflatable beach balls and flotation devices do the rounds of the area. They are in high demand but BJ managed to nab one and had fun with the watermelon ring.
I’ve already mentioned that this is great for all ages and certainly was popular with AJ, Hubby and I. Don’t be fooled though, it’s hard to get out when you get in the deep end. I was instructed by AJ to do a star fish-style flop back into the balls. It was a wonderfully soft landing and in my mind I looked graceful. However, I’m under no illusion as to how I looked on exit. I’d say I looked similar to a pig rolling around in mud as I tried to find some dignified way to get out. I fear I failed miserably. There’s no photographic evidence I’m willing to share of my experience, for obvious reasons.
The smile didn’t leave BJ’s face the whole time.
The installation is 60 metres long.
At the deepest point the ball pit is 1 metre deep.
Sydney is only the third city to have the pleasure of this installation, with Washington DC and Florida being the previous cities.
The Beach is free to enter and open from 7-29 January 2017.
BJ enjoyed getting out of his chair in the shallow end for part of the time. Some visitors may find this easier than pushing a chair through the balls, if appropriate for the wheelchair user.
There is a wheelchair accessible unisex bathroom prior to going into The Beach. Once you enter there are no passes out, so use this prior to entry.
No food or drink is allowed into the area so make sure little people don’t go in hungry.
There is seating available for those supervising and not participating.
Empty your pockets and take off your shoes to avoid losing anything in the ball pit.
There are two disabled parking spaces on the road in front of the Barangaroo Reserve.
Food trucks are set up at Barangaroo so you can have a day off from packing lunches.
There are a couple of ticketed events for anyone wanting to avoid the queues (at busy times you may experience a wait of an hour or more) or attend an 18+session. The 9-10am session allows those who purchase a ticket ($15) to visit before the installation opens to the general public.
We visited at 9am and only queued because we arrived early.
You can read more about this attraction here.
Check with Sydney Festival staff if you have any further questions regarding wheelchair access. You can phone 1300 856 876 or email [email protected] and they’ll be happy to assist.
Companion Card is accepted at Sydney Festival events.
Take a look at my blog on some of the other accessible performances at Sydney Festival. You can read it here.
We received tickets to the early session at The Beach thanks to Sydney Festival. As always, our opinions are our own and we genuinely had a fun experience. Loved it!