Giving Willy Wonka a run for his money

Before I was 30.

Before I was a mom.

Before I was a health coach and foodie.

Before Beautycounter.

Before I was grinding for a paycheck.

I was game for any and every adventure. College days, disposable income, and no real ties allowed me the space to do so, but sometimes that pang to go be free, gives me a poke.

These days I may have to forego midnight drives to Joshua Tree, day trips to Big Bear, jaunts in a PNW rainforest, and international solo birthday trips, but I believe we all need some fun and adventure in our lives. Consider it another pillar of your health and wellness journey.

Enter the Color Factory, a creation by Oh Happy Day and her favorite artists and collaborators. Oh Happy Day, brings color, life and joy to basically anything and everything. They are the epitome of parties and have your back if you need a pop of color and a smile in your life.

But back to our San Francisco adventure….

We – me, Charlie Bear, and Samurai – played hooky from school and work to enjoy each other and have some fun in the city. We grabbed BART, sipped our foursigmatic hot cacao, and braced ourselves for our big adventure.

The Color Factory is hard to explain, so I didn’t bother telling the girls where we were going, other than our only objective was to have fun together. Suffice to say, besides waiting in line to enter, they greatly enjoyed themselves.

When you first enter the building, you are directed down the magical rainbow staircase. The suspense continues as you wait again to show your tickets, to the friendly Color Factory attendee – picture your own version of an oompa loompa here. As we wait, this time because I can’t find the ticket I literally just had on my phone, the aromatic scratch n’ sniff wall is within sight and the anticipation continues to build.


Finally! We’re in.

A great feature of the visit are the handy dandy cards you receive with an individual barcode that allows you take your picture with one of the strategically located cameras. 5,4,3,2,1, and you instantly receive the result in an email.

We got our card and began our journey sniffing the wall of memories: Green grass, Laundry hanging in the sun to dry, a root beer float with two straws, stop and smell the roses. So creative and fun!

Inundated with scents, we moved on to our complimentary marshmallows! I have to say the mint chip one was the best and I’m not even a marshmallow fan.

Satisfied we continued on to the black and white striped kitchen to try activated charcoal lemonade. Interesting, but no need to linger.

Next, the orange room. It was lost on the girls but I felt like I had returned to the 80’s with all sorts orange of trinkets and delights. Most specifically, the orange Neutrogena soap. Totally used that back in the day!

Followed by the blue room, filled with blue balloons.

Michael Jackson tunes and a disco ball beckoned us from the blue room and we ventured to get our dance party on. Being living room dance party connoisseurs, we were killing it, but the Light Bright Room – a massive, life size light bright – was too intriguing, so we killed the tunes and went onward.

As an 80’s child, light bright was one of the main items I coveted when I went to a friend’s home. This was everything my 6-year old heart ever wanted – and obviously my 6-year old was loving every second of it, until her 4-year old sister stole the color peg she wanted.

Moving on, we crossed the hall to find two of the largest markers I’ve ever seen and an oompa loompa breaking down the rules of the room: color the walls as you please, no graffiti or words, and don’t color on the floor. Have at it kids!

Wearing out their wee arm muscles, we moved on to find 10,000 colored ribbons to touch, run through, get lost in and laugh vigorously. But a few run-throughs and belly laughs were enough. We found our way upstairs. The confetti room may have been my favorite. Though simple, this room was pure delight. Confetti angels on the floor, confetti fights, laughter and pure joy.

From there, we ended our journey literally sinking into the giant yellow room’s ball pit. With clever puns and jokes on the walls, we worked ourselves around the pit, from corner to corner, trying not to lose each other. It was a deceptively hard trek through the pit, making the soft serve treat at the opposite side an even sweeter reward.

What I loved:

  • Everything. You don’t experience these diverse eye-catching, colorful arrangements in your everyday life.
  • The tactile nature of each and every little thing. How often can you go somewhere and say, “Touch everything!”
  • The creativity and detail put into the complete exhibit, allowing all ages to have fun

Whether or not you make it to the Color Factory, I hope you fill your days with love, laughter, and adventure!