The ‘Happy Place’ Experience: A Social Media Wonderland
A few weeks ago (pre-2019 OMG), a couple of my girlfriends surprised me with an afternoon spent at the HAPPY PLACE exhibit in Downtown Toronto (Harbourfront Centre). You know, that place with the confetti rooms, the giant cookie, pot of happiness ball-pit, and of course - the most popular - the rubber duck bathtub that you’ve probably seen on your Instagram feed some time within the last two months. Here are some words from the creators:
HAPPY PLACE was created because we BELIEVE that our world today can use a lot more happiness. To make this DREAM come true, we set out on a journey to create a special place where anyone who walks in is surrounded by all things HAPPY. Founded by Jared Paul… this massive pop-up experience is filled with larger than life size installations, multi-sensory immersive rooms, and dozens of moments curated to Capture Your Happy.
If you are into taking photos/videos/boomerangs for the ‘gram, this is definitely for you - as long as you don’t mind waiting in line for some exhibits, and having less-than-ideal times for creating your artsy photos. My friends and I went on a Sunday early afternoon, so the crowds weren’t too large; but we still had to line up for the flower room, the upside down room, the “disco” mirror and chains rooms (one line for the both), the rubber ducky tub, and the ball-pit (these latter two had the longest wait times). As for taking photos, it’s pretty much to be expected at a popular interactive exhibit like this that you aren’t really able to take your time, chill, and take 100 photos at each exhibit - it’s a very in-the-moment photoshoot kind of thing, with staff present at most of the exhibits, monitoring how much time you spend. We took our photos fairly quickly, simply because we wanted to be courteous to other people in line, but you can expect to have around 1min at each popular exhibit, and some more at the less crowded ones. Or maybe we were just lucky enough to avoid the large crowds at some *shrugs*.
→ Launch slideshows & hover over photos for some more fun text.
Visit during the weekday or earlier during weekends to avoid the rush
Go with a friend or loved ones - you’ll need someone to be your photographer 😉 plus it makes the experience so much more fulfilling
Coat check is available, but not free (I think it was $3?); either use it to your advantage or wear something light - you don’t want to be hauling jackets, sweaters, and bags while you’re waiting in line or taking photos
Plan your poses ahead of time… or be spontaneous, whatever floats your boat
The lighting can be weird in some places, so adjust your cameras accordingly
Beware of the M&Ms (they looked kinda disgusting to me, tbh…)
Jumping into the ball pit hurts more than you think (it’s shallow)… and is more difficult to get out of than you think
Remember to actually experience and enjoy the exhibits without your phone/camera - be present
SMILE. HAVE A GOOD TIME.
For the admission price, I regret to say that it is most definitely not worth it. Being a recently graduated student who is not earning a lot of cash, the price is fairly steep, at $42.49 for weekends (Fri-Sun), and $35.31 for weekdays (though they don’t open all days). $20-30 is slightly more reasonable, especially because they also don’t have special prices - it’s all just all-ages general admission. Despite the cost, it was still quite enjoyable - like small doses of happy. The entire atmosphere is quite upbeat and it most definitely gave me genuine smiles unlike any I’ve seen in recent photos of myself. And going with friends, significant others, or family makes the experience so much more enjoyable as well. Kind of a social media trap, but… just don’t think about the implications (another post for another time), and have fun while you’re there - I mean, might as well make the most out of what you paid for.