Candytopia is the art gallery Willie Wonka would have opened if he had been an artist instead of a candy maker. Filled with paintings and sculptures crafted from colorful candies, it turns adults into children and opens children’s eyes to the world of art.
But, in all fairness, Candytopia is more than candy art; it’s an experience, and it’s all about having fun. I recently visited Candytopia in Scottsdale, one of several locations throughout the nation (with more on the way), and was “wowed” by this Candyland adventure come to life.
Before you go, purchase tickets online at the Candytopia website. The attraction doesn’t sell tickets onsite, so if you show up without tickets, you won’t be getting in. You’ll also need to purchase tickets as soon as possible since Candytopia is expected to sell out.
Parking at the Scottsdale Quarter is free and shouldn’t be a problem. Candytopia is centrally located between the north and south parking garages across from the Apple Store, so pick whichever garage works best for you.
While waiting in line to get inside, consider downloading the Candytopia app. The app allows you access to photographs taken of you by staff and additional interactive activities.
Once inside, you’ll have a chance to get a photograph in front of the Candytopia sign before walking upstairs (an elevator is also available). During the welcome, I was surprised to learn you’re encouraged to touch—but not lick—the artwork, which is covered with shellac.
The Upstairs Rooms
After the welcome, the door opens to the upstairs rooms. The first reminded me of a steampunk library. Its highlight is the winged dragon crafted out of 13,000 candies including jelly beans, candy corn, black vines, orange gummy bears, and mango sour belts. There’s also a candy portrait of co-founder Jackie Sorkin, aka the Hollywood Candy Queen, on the wall as well as dark and milk Lindt chocolates free for the taking.
The next room reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with its enchanted tree and colorful, candy-studded mushrooms. You can have staff take your photo here, chill on the swings, or listen to music in one of the parabolic cones. Don’t miss the flowers, which send out candy-scented puffs of perfume.
From there, the tour continues through the gallery (more below) to two themed rooms: the jungle room and the ocean room. The jungle room features a life-like, candy-coated lion while the ocean room contains sharks, starfish, and other aquatic creatures. My favorite was the stingray.
One of the most photographed rooms in Candytopia, the gallery showcases classic works replicated with candy. I especially liked confection versions of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.” There’s another portrait of Sorkin here, and a candy painting of the Grand Canyon, just one of several pieces made specifically for the Scottsdale exhibition.
Next to each piece throughout Candytopia, you’ll find a sign detailing the number of candies used, the number of hours it took to construct it, and how much sugar you’d consume if you ate it. Most signs also list the specific candies used, ranging from jelly beans and gummy bears to more obscure sweets. Look for a bowl, box or treasure chest in each room containing free samples of the candies on display.
“I love our candy gallery,” says Sorkin. “It screams, ‘Candy!’ and really highlights the beautiful candy artistry that my team and I have perfected for over a decade.”
The Downstairs Rooms
After passing through the gallery, jungle room, and ocean room, guests continue downstairs to an Arizona-themed room with a life-size bull, mini saguaros, and desert scenes filled with painted flying pigs. If you’re looking for a great selfie opportunity, stop here to pose with the giant, inflatable balls emblazoned with “Candytopia.”
Then, make sure your purse is zipped (if you have one), take a deep breath and enter the next room…
Because you’ll be showered by confetti, and you’ll love it. This was my favorite room, by far, and not because of the confetti or even the much-photographed rearing unicorn. I loved the confetti-farting pigs! Even now, just looking at the pictures of it makes me laugh.
Candytopia ends with the marshmallow pit room. Filled with 250,000 foam marshmallows, the pit makes a great Instagram selfie photo-op even if, like me, you end up on your back unsure how to get back out. Bring a friend (or two) for an epic foam marshmallow fight, and be sure to grab a free, edible marshmallow on your way into the gift shop.
Candytopia Scottsdale Details
The original Candytopia opened 19 months ago in Santa Monica and has since traveled to San Francisco, New York City, Mall of America in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Houston, and Dallas. It’s currently open in Scottsdale (Phoenix) and Philadelphia.
Scottsdale’s Candytopia is scheduled to close December 29, 2019. It is coming soon to Houston, TX. Watch for additional locations on the Candytopia website.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.