Candytopia: A Sweet Art Experience
I have three favorite movies: “The Goonies”, “The Philadelphia Story”, and “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Needless to say, when the opportunity arose to get a sneak peek at Candytopia in the brand new Fashion District Mall, I was stoked to live out some childhood fantasies.
Candytopia’s website poses the question: “What if an eccentric chocolatier and a daredevil pop star had a whirlwind romance, got married while skydiving, and had a glamorous, glittering love child who grew up to rule a small nation?”
The result of this union, as I saw it, was a colorful, multi-room, candy-world, interactive art installation where the photo-ops are plenty and encouraged. The visually stunning showcase was “curated by Hollywood Candy Queen Jackie Sorkin, realized by master fabricator Zac Hartog, and brought to life by life-long retailer, John Goodman.”
Upon entering the hard-to-miss street entrance, you are welcomed into a factory-themed vestibule by colorful greeters who give you the lowdown on what you can expect on your visit. In short, you will be taking yourself on a walking tour through differently-themed, candy-art, interactive exhibits. Each room contains a large cache of candy for you to take a sample from (not too many though… leave some for others!) ALL the employees are top-notch. They are friendly, helpful, and try their hardest to make your visit fun.
You are also encouraged to download the Candytopia app to enhance your visit. Wanting to experience Candytopia to the fullest, I downloaded the free app. As soon as you sign up in the Sugar Rush section, you are provided a QR code that the employees scan at different photo-op stations. At these stations, you stand in a whimsical backdrop (sometimes with props), look up into the floating donut (don’t worry, it makes sense when you get there) and yell “CANDY” while the staff member takes a colorful, insta-ready picture that is sent to your account on the app. There is also an Augmented Reality feature to the app that, as of this writing, doesn’t have the Philadlephia location available. There is a way to use it with a Candytopia drink coaster, but I didn’t see any when I was there for the soft opening.
Other fun features of Candytopia include disk swings, giant flowers that emit candy scents, fun celebrity statues, candy-counterfeit works of art, a pool of marshmallows you can take a dip in, and confetti-tooting, tutu-wearing pigs. It really is wonderful how Sorkin, Hartog, and Goodman were able to bring such whimsy into the heart of our metropolis.
Since I am a mom of two little candy eaters, I had them in mind the entire time I was there and wondered how they would like it. My conclusion… Meh? It’s beautiful and fun and colorful and I think they would get a kick out of it for about 10 minutes. Then I would be told that they want to go back through the mall and buy toys or go down to take a ride on the train in the mall’s basement. I feel like that even though it is a child’s candy dream come true, there really isn’t enough for kids to actually DO there. To my mind, the main purpose of Candytopia is to please the visual aesthetic and get some really awesome social media pictures. As my kids are 7 and 6, me asking them to pose for the millionth time so I can get a cute pic for my Facebook page will get real old real fast. As for tweens and teens who love getting the perfect shot for Instagram? This is where it’s at. I think it’s pretty impossible to take a bad shot in there, so this is a social media maven-in-the-making’s place to be.
Candytopia is located at Fashion District Philadelphia, 901 Market Street #1150, Philadelphia, PA 19107. It is available for private events, birthday parties, and group outings. Candytopia closes its Philadelphia location on January 5.
Learn more at https://www.candytopia.com/.