Museum of Ice Cream fined for creating environmental hazard

Miami Beach concerned that tiny 'sprinkles' could get into storm drains

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The Museum of Ice Cream, a popular new attraction in Miami Beach, has been fined by the city for creating an environmental hazard.

The pop-up museum features a number interactive art installations including a sprinkles pool that people can jump into -- and most importantly, take selfies. The contents of the pool are meant to resemble the tiny sugary toppings that adorn ice cream cones, but they are actually just small pieces of plastic.

However, Miami Beach city officials became concerned that those small pieces of plastic were leaving the museum and making their way into storm drains. Once in area waterways, the plastic can harm marine life.

Environmental activists brought the issue to the city's attention shortly after the museum opened in early December, posting videos about the issue on social media.

Officials slapped the museum with a $1,000 fine and are working with the venue to prevent any more sprinkle spillage.

Melissa Berthier, a spokeswoman for Miami Beach, said the city has been inspecting the location regularly to make sure the sprinkles stay inside the building.

The city's Public Works Department also installed mesh catchers in the storm drains near the museum to catch any errant sprinkles.

Officials with the museum -- one of several locations across the country -- said they have addressed the issue.

"We appreciate the feedback we have received from visitors and the local Miami community and can assure our audience that we don't take their suggestions lightly," museum officials said in a statement. "As a result, we have taken immense precautions to ensure we are environmentally conscious."

The museum has hired extra cleaning crews, and now encourages visitors to shake themselves off thoroughly before leaving the venue.

The company is even looking into developing a biodegradable sprinkle, but that might be a ways off. The museum -- always envisioned as a temporary attraction -- plans to close on Jan. 22.