Candytopia Houston: Sweet Tooth Satisfaction
We walked onto the red carpet through the golden gates in what felt like a scene from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. What was next? Would orange Oompa Loompas greet the visitors and take us on a gondola tour of Candytopia in a fudge river? Not quite. Suddenly, a motion detector door slid open and music flooded out for all to hear as people wearing big smiles and blue jumpsuits urged us to come inside. There was no way to prepare ourselves for the sweet tooth satisfaction we would experience in the next 14 rooms.
Buzz editorial assistant Pooja Salhotra and summer intern Aarohi Sheth and I entered Candytopia, an interactive pop-up event located at the MARQ*E Entertainment Center. Each room followed a different theme with large-scale candy creations for our eyes to feast on and sugary snacks that made our mouths water. Our childhood fantasies came to life in the Wonderland room as we played on a giant swing set in a meadow at sunset and our senses were indulged with cotton candy and peppermint scents in the air.
In the Underwater room surrounded by candy sea creatures, we met KJ Thompson, who “wanted to bring [his] enthusiasm down to Houston!” When I asked him what he loved about the job he replied, “Everything! I get to throw confetti and marshmallows at people, and I get to eat candy on the clock!” Sounds like the perfect job to me. He also explained to us that the main message behind Candytopia is to “be yourself and have fun” which is exactly what the three of us did.
We continued through the popup exhibit, each room more deliciously delightful than the next with surprises at every turn. Get ready to plug your ears when you see confetti cannons. Just saying - I warned you. For both children and adults alike, it’s a fun learning experience because next to each artwork is a sign that tells you how much candy, time and sugar that particular piece took to create. For example, the sweet and sour scuba diver took 18,000 pieces of candy, 168 hours to construct, and 7,400 grams of sugar - talk about a sugar rush!
While kids munch on chocolate truffles and gummy bears, they stand mesmerized in front of candy masterpieces and discover that with hard work and passion, you can make your wildest dreams a reality. Parents will appreciate the room inspired by famous paintings, historical landmarks and pop culture icons - and everything is obviously made of candy. You name it: Edward Munch’s The Scream, The Statue of Liberty, Beyoncé and more - all confection perfection within this exhibit.
Anna Faubus, a Lamar High School student, was babysitting and decided the pop-up was the perfect place for entertainment that day. Anna and her friend Ella Zimmerman, who also attends Lamar, mentioned that they enjoyed watching people play in the pit with 300,000 foam marshmallows and loved the celebrity artwork. “I love how they tied it in with the historical references because it draws kids in to learn about the past since everything’s connected to candy,” Ella said. What’s better than a candy-coated history lesson?
Candytopia is seriously a treat and a hot tourist attraction in Houston. The exhibit is open until Sept. 29 and is open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m. and Sundays, 11 a.m.-8:30 p.m. I recommend this family-friendly popup exhibit to anyone who seeks adventure and to cut their sweet cravings. Trust me, you’ll be sugared-out when you reach the gift shop, but who knows when your appetite will strike back up, so definitely browse. You can buy tickets online, $20 for kids ages 4-12 and $28 for adults, and learn more information about the exciting experience that awaits you.
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