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Happy Place brings confetti dome, unicorn, ball pit to Las Vegas

Updated August 21, 2019 - 9:49 pm

Chocolate chip cookies and candy stacked into towers. Bubble baths, ball pits and bright, yellow flowers.

If it feels like a millennial’s version of “My Favorite Things,” it’s for good reason.

The immersive entertainment experience Happy Place opens at the Shoppes at Mandalay Places on Friday. And it intends to capture all things happy in one brightly-lit, hyper-photogenic venue.

“I saw this emerging as something people were starting to get to know as a form of entertainment,” founder Jared Paul says. “I thought like, what if there was one place, if it had one goal, was to put a smile on people’s faces.”

Paul, whose company Faculty manages music groups such as New Kids on the Block, observed as social media apps such as Instagram steadily altered the entertainment spectrum.

“I’m a father of three in L.A. and we like to go to museums,” Paul says. “I started seeing this emerge in museum spaces. One museum had a rain room where rain poured down around you. The Kusama infinity rooms were big. At live events, brands were using immersive experiences for marketing.”

He identified immersive experience attractions as a new standalone form of entertainment — and “happiness” as a theme that could evolve to fit multiple locations.

Paul opened his first Happy Place in Los Angeles in 2017, one year after Museum of Ice Cream overwhelmed social media with its candy-themed rooms and selfie-ready backdrops.

From there, the Happy Place pop-up moved to a second L.A. location, to Toronto, Chicago and Boston before settling into its semi-permanent residence on the Strip.

Happy Place functions as a self-guided tour through about a dozen interactive spaces that invite guests to play, smell, leap — and take pictures.

The first room is themed to candy, with a wall of gumball dispensers and smiley face-printed M&M candies.

The next room lets visitors make snow angels out of confetti, and the room next door smells of freshly-baked cookies.

In one room, visitors can scale ladders to pop into a field of gold flowers. Another features a bubble bath surrounded by a lifetime’s worth of rubber duckies.

The final space is a dream-like backyard with a dome that sends confetti into the air and a ball pit themed as a pot of gold.

The backyard also features touches unique to its Las Vegas setting, including an oversized marquee that reads “Las Vegas Makes Me Happy” and a slot machine with a playground-style slide.

In 2017, while the pop-up was still attracting the first of its 750,000 visitors, Paul was already thinking about opening in Las Vegas.

“People come to Las Vegas looking for entertainment,” he says. “There’s a tremendous amount of options 8 p.m. and beyond, but not as much during the day.”

The other aspect Paul thinks sets Happy Place apart is that it’s open to all ages.

While Happy Place’s exhibits use bright colors and flashy props to make for pretty pictures, Paul insists that it’s interaction, not Instagram, that makes Happy Place happy.

“So many things in Happy Place you can’t experience through social media,” Paul says. “You can’t smell a chocolate chip cookie through Instagram.”

Tickets are available at happyplace.me for $35 for adults and $28 for children ages four through 12. Children three and under are free. Discounted rates are available for groups.

Contact Janna Karel at jkarel@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

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