Polar Playground: California’s Hottest Cotton Candy Art Location

Want to have a good time with your friends or take your kids on an adventure? Polar Playground is an interesting and fun attraction for sundaes, floats, milkshakes, craft sodas, and their signature cotton candy art.

There is usually a long line of customers waiting to be served at Polar Playground because of its popularity. Don’t let the long line deter you; it moves pretty quickly. You can rest assured that the wait will be worthwhile.

Here’s a rundown of what you can expect from a trip to this cotton candy and ice cream parlor.

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    • Address: 16891 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach, CA 92647
    • Type: Dessert shop
    • Known for: cotton candy art
    • Reservations: not required 
    • Service: walk-in only; takeaways; no deliveries, no phone orders
    • Payments: debit and credit cards, Android Pay, Apple Pay
    • Parking: Available
    • Restrooms: Available

    A bit of history

    polar playground grand opeening

    Kim and Tim Bui are the proud owners of Polar Playground. Tim, with the help of two others on staff, makes the cotton candy sculptures while Kim runs the business. The store, which occupies a modest 1200 square feet, officially opened its doors to the public on April 26, 2019.

    At the weekend, when the business officially opened its doors to the public, Tim created the very first cotton candy, which he dubbed Northern Lights. Pop rocks served as the finishing touch on this confection, which featured five distinct flavors and colors. Many young people wanted to try this new and exciting treat, so they waited in line outside the store to place their orders. But the best was still to come.

    In 2020, a food blogger named Tram created a video showing her visit to this dessert store and highlighting some of the shop’s most mouthwatering cotton candy creations. This video went viral, with more than 3.3 million views. Following that event, the cotton candy shop gained an incredible amount of foot traffic, and now people of all ages can be seen standing in line to purchase and consume the sweet delicacy.

    Polar Playground Cotton Candy

    polar playground store

    At Polar Playground, you are given the opportunity to select the character of your cotton candy, and you can even witness it as it is made by hand right in front of you. You will have a lot of fun on this trip, and one of the highlights will be seeing your delicious sculpture come to life. Sadly, you won’t be able to use this sculpture in any way to adorn your room back home. It doesn’t matter how adorable it is; you have to eat it.

    Each individual customer is given undivided attention as they come in. As soon as you step inside, you will find yourself standing or sitting in front of the table at which all of the magic is performed. The talented sculptors who will be working on your sugary delicacy are located behind the table.

    You will be able to observe the entire process of the candy being made through the piece of see-through glass that is placed in front of the work table. It takes some time to make each character because they are handcrafted specifically for the order. Depending on how complex the character you picked is, you may have to remain standing or seated for a while.

    You should note that exposure to air causes the sugar component of cotton candy to become coarse and sticky. As its exposure to air increases, its texture deteriorates, making it difficult to consume.

    Enjoy the cotton candy figures quickly while you can, because once they melt, they’re gone for good.

    The Making of Cotton Candy

    Polar Playground candy

    The only thing you’ll be able to make out through the glass as you watch Mr. Tim and his team work on your treat is the cotton candy character taking shape. The origin of the raw materials that are utilized may not be visible from where you are standing, but the process itself is not mysterious in any way.

    Cotton candy production is a combination of chemistry and art. First, colored and flavored sugars are poured into a machine. This machine heats the sugar and transforms it into a liquid before rapidly spinning it. The liquefied sugar is expelled through tiny holes in the machine’s center. As soon as molten sugar comes into contact with air, it rapidly cools and reforms into fine strands or fibers.

    It’s at this point that creativity becomes essential. Collecting these fluffy strands of sugary goodness, twisting them around a stick, and then carefully shaping them into the cotton candy characters of your choosing is an art form in and of itself.

    How to Eat Cotton Candy

    Polar Playground Menu

    polar playground menu 1

    polar playground menu 2

    polar playground menu 3

    Polar Playground Business Hours

    Monday Closed
    Tuesday Closed
    Wednesday 1 - 5 pm
    Thursday 1 - 5 pm
    Friday 1 - 5 pm
    Saturday 1 - 5 pm
    Sunday 1 - 5 pm

    Location of Polar Playground

    Polar Playground FAQs

    When is the best time to visit Polar Playground?

    That would be during the weekdays, when the wait is typically much shorter than it is on the weekends. You should plan on arriving one hour before the doors open.

    What is the average wait time at Polar Playground?

    The length of time you will have to wait depends on how many people are in front of you in line as well as how many items each of those people plans to order. The length of time spent waiting can range anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours. It is dependent on the timing. You will need to be patient and make plans to wait.

    Can you order cotton candy from Polar Playground in advance?

    Pre-orders are not available in-store. Walk-ins only.

    How long do cotton candy characters last?

    The shop at Polar Playground has a controlled atmosphere. As soon as you step outside and your cotton candy comes into contact with the air, the character will begin to rapidly transform. It can only last 10 to 20 minutes at most.

    How do I place an order at Polar Playground for cotton candy characters?

    Each day, the shop offers a set menu of characters. You must examine the menu and select the character that best suits you from the list. It is not possible to order custom characters.

    How much are the cotton candy characters at Polar Playground worth?

    The price depends on the character’s complexity. They typically begin at $14.

    What are the ingredients of cotton candy?

    Cotton candy is composed of sugar, flavoring, and a small amount of coloring.

    What was the original name of cotton candy?

    Fairy Floss

    Is cotton candy a healthy food?

    Cotton candy is a healthier option than most desserts. A typical serving of cotton candy contains a small amount of sugar and no fat. Nevertheless, excessive cotton candy consumption is not particularly healthy.

    What is the flavor of cotton candy made of?

    • Ethyl Maltol
    • Vanillin and Ethyl Vanillin
    • Strawberry Furanone

    What is the most popular cotton candy flavor?


    What type of sugar is used to make cotton candy?

    Regular granulated sugar.

    Can cotton candy be refrigerated?

    It is not necessary to refrigerate cotton candy. Cotton candy contains no water and thus cannot be frozen. There’s a chance that the cotton candy will harden into inedible clumps. It is ideal to consume it fresh.

    Does cotton candy melt in the mouth?

    Cotton candy doesn’t melt, but it does dissolve in the mouth

    Polar Playground Cotton Candy Characters

    At the shop, customized characters are not offered. The character of your choice will be created for you from the options provided for the day. There are a variety of characters available. Making a decision from among more than 30 options might be challenging. To give you an idea of what to expect from the shop, here are a few of the characters.

    Northern LightsPolar Playground northern lights

    This was the first cotton candy character made at Polar Playground.

    The UnicornThe Unicorn at Polar Playground

    This is the most popular cotton candy character in the shop. This cute unicorn has a fluffy rainbow mane.

    The PiggyPolar Playground piggy

    The SlothThe sloth at Polar Playground

    CarnageCarnage character at Polar Playground

    SullySully character at Polar Playground

    DuckyDucky character at Polar Playground

    SideySpiderman character at Polar Playground

    Grandpa RickGrandpa Rick character at Polar Playground

    EeyoreThe Eeyore character made at Polar Playground

    TotoroThe Totoro character made at Polar Playground

    GrootGroot Character as made at Polar Playground

    Patrick StarCute Patrick Star character at Polar Playground

    Polar BearCute Polar Bear at Polar Playground

    PickachuThis Pickachu character is made at Polar Playground

    Jiggly PuffJiggly Puff with blue eyes at Polar Playground

    MinionCute Minion character at Polar Playground

    Red Panda


    Cookie Monster








    Oscar the Grouch




    Angry Bird

    Final Thoughts

    The cotton candy is the main attraction at Polar Playground, not the ice cream. The characters are not only attractive but also delicious. You may have to wait in line for some time before you can place your order. On a particularly busy day, the line may be cut before you reach the front, so it is best to arrive before the doors open. Have you ever wondered why people of all ages continue to flock to this location despite the lengthy line? The answer is very simple. The wait is definitely worthwhile.

    Have you visited Polar Playground yet? What were your experiences? 

    Leave a comment.

    Real Experiences at Polar Playground

    If you’re looking to get that next insta worth picture/reel. Then this is your spot! I’ll try to be quick and direct with this post…
    The cotton candy treat is definitely ART. Praise to the employee creating these treats. They also have ice cream. Instagram worthy too! The family and I got ice cream treats because the line for a character cotton candy treat was wayyyyyy too long. I asked the person who was next to go in for their treat, how long they wait, they said 3 hours!! I couldn’t believe it. Plus I noticed someone walking out with ice cream and it was topped with some cotton candy, so for now that was good enough for myself and kids. Maybe we will try again some other time, but I heard someone else say “It’s like this during the week took!” I want to drive by during the week to check it out and hopefully it’s not, so I can surprise my girls with one.

    The location if fine, parking is okay, but because of the hype of it, it’s can get tricky to get parking. (There’s parking in the back of the building) inside the shop, it was clean. Most customers package their cotton candy to go. I want to say it’s probably implied to take it to go, given there’s a line of people waiting to get in to place an order.

    If you decide to go, be ready to wait that long ot get there early before they open.

    Honestly the best sweets experience ever!!! We got here an hour early and we’re the first in line on a Wednesday.  The next people arrived about 40 minutes prior to opening and then quite a few started arriving a half hour before opening. By the time we left, the line was down the corridor.  I’m so glad we got there early and were first in line.

    The employees were all so friendly!!! We knew right away we wanted the unicorn and mushroom. We were indecisive about an additional treat but ended up with a milkshake, scoop of sorbet and 2 giant cotton candy sculptures.

    We sat inside, took pictures and enjoyed these amazing treats!! (If you want to go outside with the cotton candy sculptures they recommended putting them in bags, as they would start to melt).  So we just sat marveling in the others choices while we were taken back to childhood enjoying the simple fun of spun sugar!

    The milkshake was delicious.. but the cotton candy sculptures definitely stole the spotlight! $18 well spent!

    A definite must if you find yourself in the OC!!

    Cute shop
    A bit of a wait
    But the kids loved the cotton candy characters.
    They loved watching everything be made in front of them

    We drove from Las Vegas making this our 1st stop! We got there 10 mins early and there was a line already, I’d recommend go early so you get in earlier but they limit how many people go inside which I liked so it’s not so overwhelming. They call your name when your character cotton candy (we chose snorlax w/an LA hat) is being made so you don’t miss your experience. This was worth the hour in a half wait and an experience! I was so impressed, I think the pricing was accurate and we got some other little things as well and everything was great! Great staff as well!!

    Came here on what I figured would be a busy July 4th weekend. There were only about ten people in line as we walked up to the front. We waited about 30 min to get in as they limit how many people are inside at a time. Considering we are still in a pandemic I appreciate this!  It’s not a big place anyway!

    Ordering is easy and their menu is simple. Cotton candy character takes the longest time whereas any ice cream/drinks come out pretty quickly. I ordered the Polar Espresso Madness shake…wow!  I have had many shakes in my lifetime and this flavor was overwhelmingly good!  Every sip had an equal amount of toffee bits that were fresh and crunchy. It had a lot going on with cookie topping, chocolate syrup, whipped cream and cookie straw, but it worked very well. I don’t often think paying more than $5 for a shake is worth it but I hadn’t even finished this shake and already knew I would come back to order it again!  It’s that good!

    Now for the cotton candy: for $17 it’s worth the wait for kids who want to feel something is made just for them. We had the pink panda and my daughter loved it. This takes the longest since they are individual made and take about ten minutes each (herego the line). But, I was surprised that an employee came out and explained everything and also added that if you only wanted ice cream you can wait to the side and bypass the line!  I’ll be back for my shake for sure!!!!

    So legit it takes about 6 minutes per cotton Candy sculpture. We got here 10 mins before open and waited in line for 1.5 hours to get inside then another 30 to get cotton Candy.   They are super super cute.  

    The line was already down the shopping center by the time we got in.  It’s about half and hour to get in from in front of the salon. If it’s beyond the salon and turning around the corner it’s 2 hours or more wait.  They have 2 stations on in front for viewing and one in back.

    To beat the line and expedite your visit show up 45 mins early and be one of the first ten people in line. Tell them you can get your candy made in the back.  

    Watching the cotton candies come out is cool. But your don’t have to watch them spin the cotton Candy:

    The ice cream and milkshakes are also really goods. So order a tasty snack while you wait for them to make your cottton candy.

    They limit the inside to ten people in line inside at a time plus whoever is seating, so please be considerate and don’t “dine in”. Get your cotton candy sculpture and depart.  

    Worth it once, but prob not twice.   Cotton candy is $17.   Ice cream is reasonably priced starting arrive $3.95

    The staff is super friendly and we had an amazing time seeing how they make the cotton candy characters. They were working extremely hard to make everyones character and it was so worth waiting for our amazing cotton candy. When they are ready to make your cotton candy they call up your name so you can see the process. We were so lucky we got such an amazing gentleman making our daughters unicorn and he was super kind that he made it special and added a beautiful bow to there unicorn. I was so glad we waited and stayed because we had the best unicorn cotton candy and the oreo malt was so delicious. Thank you to all the staff for being so friendly i highly recommend this place.  Its a bit of a wait but believe me your kids will love it!! Even adults will enjoy getting a cotton candy character. Dont forget to order a malt because we order one while we waited and had to order a second because it was so delicious. Thank you everyone at Polar Playground!!!!

    Had a great first experience at Polar Playground today! My bf and I discovered it a week ago when we happened to be at the shopping mall it’s located at. We noticed the long line of people waiting outside and saw everyone coming out with all the cute character cotton candy. Seriously, they’re SO cute! And huge too!

    Fast forward to today when we brought my son. Surprisingly there was absolutely no line! There was only one other customer in the store when we entered around 6:45pm on a Thursday evening. Maybe it’s just the weekends that get busy to the point where people are lined up outside the store?

    My son wanted the evil minion so we ordered that for him. He also had the option of choosing one or two eyes for his character. My bf and I wanted to match the evil theme so we ordered Carnage to share. The character cotton Candy are $17 each. A bit pricey but honestly I think it’s worth it. They really are art. Very cute for social media posts too.

    We got to watch as they made our characters. It’s so interesting seeing how they spin the sugar. My son had a blast watching as they put together his evil minion.

    Of course, it is cotton candy so be warned it’s very sweet! But we expected that. They offer free cups of water for customers to get themselves so that was nice to have. We’ll definitely be back to get more characters!

    What’s not to love. The people were super nice. We were waiting at our table and they called us over to see them make our cotton candy. I didn’t know there was a place to view, so I’m glad they did. They are true artists. The unicorn cotton candy was perfect. Other members in our party ordered a mint and chip scoop, the hella Nutella soft serve, and the PBBJ  soft serve. Everything was really good.

    The restrooms were super clean. There were some cute photo ops.

    Tips: When you go is very important because this place can have a really long wait to pay, to get a seat, and to get your creation. We were there at 7:20 on a Friday and there was no one in front of us. Several people walked in behind us, but it wasn’t crazy busy. Take a look at the menu before you go because it’s a lot.

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