If you love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and dream about Willy Wonka, everlasting gobstoppers and oompa loom pas, then Candytopia is definitely the (golden) ticket for you. This fun, candy-centric attraction in Philadelphia's Fashion District is perfect for families, dates, anyone with a sweet tooth or who craves Instagram-worthy photos.
You'll find a Willy Wonka's portrait in the art gallery, along with candy portraits of Mona Lisa, Steve Jobs, Will Smith, and other luminaries. The likenesses are made with jelly beans, gummy bears, licorice and other candies, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase, “playing with your food.” And, in a nod to the City of Brotherly Love, there’s Rodin’s The Thinker sitting atop a Liberty Bell (made of 25 thousand pieces of candy), a Love statue (made of 37.5 thousand pieces of candy) and a candy-constructed Rocky statue. It’s sweet!
And even the candy factory in Roald Dahl's fanciful fiction didn't have a giant “marshmallow” pit where you can jump around in thousands of faux-foamy treats. Put your shoes in a cubby and climb in. Or stay outside and snap pictures. No matter how many you take, you'll wish you had "s'more."
One gallery makes you feel as if you're underwater accompanied by sharks, a lobster, a string ray and a diver all made of candy. And there's a confetti room that’s full of flying pigs, unicorns and rainbows of confetti flying about. There’s a lot to take in.
And it's not just seeing. Candytopia is a feast for all of the senses -- inhaling candy-scented flowers, touching life-size animals (an alligator, a fox and other critters) made of candy, digging into treasure chests filled with chocolate, licorice, and other candy to take home, and hearing the sounds of delighted children riding the Ben Franklin Bridge-shaped teeter totter, sliding out of the playhouse and chewing on airheads.
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10 Sweet Tips
Here are a few tips for those who are "eating up" this description and can’t wait to visit.
Tip #1: Make sure your phone is fully charged - you’ll want to take a lot of pictures.
Tip #2: Visit early in the day to avoid the crowds.
Tip #3: Bring a small bag for candy.
Tip #4: To get a military discount, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip #5: The first two rooms are timed but after that it’s self-guided. Go at your own pace.
Tip #6: You can’t go backward so savor each room before you move on.
Tip #7: There are no bathrooms inside Candytopia so hit the bathrooms in Fashion District before you start.
Tip #8: Use the QR code inside to sign up for Sugar Rush, for four free professional backdrops where you can have photos taken and emailed to you.
Tip #9: Make time before or after to check out the Fashion District, the bright new mall that replaced Market East.
Tip #10: Candytopia is the ideal place to celebrate Halloween. You’ll be “treated” to Halloween-oriented photo ops and extra Halloween candy. From October 22 to November 1, guests are encouraged to "trick" out in costume.
Can't wait to dig into this sweet museum? Get timed tickets on www.candytopia.com.
by Irene Levy Baker, author, 100 Things To Do In Philadelphia and Unique Eats & Eateries of Philadelphia. The books are not made of candy but they are full of tips. For signed books, click here. For free shipping, use promo code TheCityPulse. Great gifts!
For more blog postings by Irene Levy Baker including information about new attractions, attractions opening soon and where to find rooftop bars and pop-up beer gardens: click here.