Not just for kids

Interactive candy museum entices all ages


Sarah Garlinghouse

Faculty children Sebastian Galringhouse and Isla Abbott play with their friend Elliot Stewart-Kahn in one of Candytopia’s installations. The museum opened on Sept. 6 and aims to be an engaging place for all ages.

Gray Timberlake, Senior Reporter

San Francisco’s newest interactive museum Candytopia gives visitors the chance to play in a foam marshmallow pit, take selfies with Cardi B’s entirely candy-based portrait and get sprayed with rainbow confetti — all while indulging in various confections.

“My partners Jackie Sorkin — known as the Candy Queen — Zac Hartog and I finalized the idea of Candytopia last August,” John Goodman, CEO and co-founder of Candytopia, said. “We wanted Candytopia to be a place to get away from the world for an hour and be a kid again.”

The “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”-esque museum has two locations — San Francisco and New York — that each have about half a dozen themed rooms, such as the celebrity candy sculptures or an experiential installation — including a colorful optical illusion room.  

“I loved the perspective photo opportunities at Candytopia,” Visual Arts Chair Rachel McIntire said. “The art in one room gave the flat floor some dimension, which was cool to experiment with from an artist’s perspective.”

The themed areas, which range from a confetti-filled room to an aquatic gallery, are developed through the decor and candy sculptures. Creations such as a life-sized gummy bear shark head or the gatekeeper red candy dragon are all displayed for touching and seeing, but not tasting.

“We label the sculptures with the hours spent on construction, number of candy pieces and grams of sugar,” Goodman said. “This allows us to combine the magical experience of the rooms with the sweet reality of candy.”

While Goodman says Candytopia offers a unique experience from the outside world, visitors get a taste of the museum’s home base of San Francisco as both the New York and San Francisco locations have pieces dedicated to their respective cities. The San Francisco Candytopia recognizes the most famous city attractions with a Golden Gate Bridge seesaw and a cable car photo illusion station.

“The experience was a true range of cultures and media,” McIntire said. “There was a big pop culture aspect with the famous people’s portraits, but also a local culture through the Golden Gate Bridge and icons like Robin Williams.”

Tickets are available at for $34 for ages 12 and older, $26 for ages 4 to 12 and free admission for children under 3.

“We want it to be a place everyone can feel like a kid in,” Goodman said. “It’s magical seeing people experience pure joy in Candytopia.”

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