A giant gumball machine that you can climb inside. An igloo made of doughnuts. An adult-sized ball pit in bubblegum-pink hues. A mini-cinema dedicated to sweet-themed movies. Throw in a free ice cream, sweets and snacks; a dedicated fairy floss room with its own swing; and the ability to jump out of a giant birthday cake — and Melbourne's new pop-up dessert museum sounds like the kind of place Willy Wonka might own. Called Sugar Republic, it's actually a short-term exhibition on Smith Street in Fitzroy, bringing eight weeks of sugary delights to folks with a sweet tooth.
Running until August 17, the pop-up features 14 spaces designed to immerse the senses in all things chocolate, confectionery and dessert-oriented. When you're not making yourself a soft serve and showering it in sprinkles, you'll be spinning a wheel o' treats. Other highlights include a sherbet-filled rainbow bridge, a forest of giant bananas, an interactive sprinkles wall, a neon art wall and other dessert-centric art, including a giant Bubble O' Bill sculpture.
And it wouldn't be a celebration of all things sweet without a huge lolly store, of course. As for the location, Sugar Republic's site was once the MacRobertson's confectionery factory — aka the brand originally behind the Freddo frog and Cherry Ripe. The last room in the space pays tribute to the company's founder, Sir Macpherson Robertson, adding a dose of history to the sugar rush.
Basically, if you missed out on visiting New York's Museum of Ice Cream back in 2016, this is Australia's equivalent. Typically these kind of places are designed to be as photogenic as possible, so expect plenty of pics to clog your Instagram feed. If you're keen to take some of your own, tickets cost $35 for adults, which includes free lollies, treats and ice cream over your 90-minute stay.
The exhibition is open from 10am every day except Wednesday. Last entry is at 4pm all days except Thursday and Friday, when it's 7pm.