The Sloomoo Institute provides a slime-filled experience in Buckhead

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

In 2017, Karen Robinovitz’s husband died. Nine months later, a cousin of hers was killed in the Parkland, Florida, school shooting. She fell into a deep depression. Then she met with a friend whose 10-year-old daughter was playing with slime.

“The minute I sunk my hands in, I felt this incredible sense of soothing calm,” said Robinovitz, a New York resident who graduated Emory University in 1994. “And it smelled like Froot Loops. That scent sent me back to being 7 at the breakfast table. Four hours went by and I didn’t think about my grief. It was an escape.”

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

She began having weekly slime dates with her friend Sara Schiller and the two entrepreneurial women brainstormed an idea to transform slime into a bigger experience for the masses. The result: The Sloomoo Institute in New York City in 2019. There, kids and adults play with slime, create personalized slime and, if they choose, get slimed Nickelodeon-style.

Sloomoo, which is a goofy play off the word slime by subbing the sound “ooh” for the vowels, became an instant hit, drawing 30,000 a month by the time the pandemic hit in 2020. It took some time to recover, but they began generating investor interest and raised millions of dollars to add locations in places like Atlanta and Chicago, which both debuted Sloomoo Institutes in November.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

The one in Atlanta is based in Buckhead just across from Phipps Plaza in a space that once housed a Circuit City. Admission prices range from $39 to $69 and the experience should last 60 to 90 minutes.

“We are tapping into a world we need,” Robinovitz said. “The permission to play, to get back into an analog, tactile sensory way of being. We seem to have lost sight of connection. This brings it back in a really innocent way.”

“This is an opportunity to do something with the family and not be on a device,” added Schiller.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

In Atlanta, Robinovitz and Schiller found a 28,000-square-foot location that is nearly the triple the size of the New York location.

There are multiple rooms, each with its own theme. After attendees wash their hands, there is an intro video and an area to write out your “Sloomoo” name on a tag. For instance, Asha could be Ooshoo and Robert could be Rooboo.

“We want people to transform themselves and give them permission to play,” Schiller said.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Folks can then add a piece of slime to a cascading, evolving art wall called “Slime and Repeat.”

Attendees then dive into multiple fiberglass vats, each with five gallons of slime featuring a variety of scents, colors and textures. (You can pay extra for a special tour of the kitchen in the back where the 600 gallons a day of slime is created.)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

In the first big room, there is also an area where you can “shoot” slime with a slingshot into one of three thick plexiglass walls. People can stand behind the walls while the slime is propelled at them at wicked fast speed, then hits the glass with a resounding splat. (Try not to flinch!)

Sloomoo then provides a Day-Glo room for fans of kinetic sand, which is a type of sand that can stick together with pressure but easily crumbles once tension is released and gravity takes over.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

This leads into a room where kids can create a Sloomoo sidekick for themselves based on their own tastes followed by a 360-degree circular video room that airs an eight-and-a-half minute looping video of what the character Sloomoo’s world is like. “We wanted to bring ASMR to life,” said Schiller, referencing autonomous sensory meridian response, the tingling sensation one might get in response to gentle stimuli like crumbling paper or crackling noises.

The next space, also in homage to AMSR, features five-foot overhead domes where one can hear a custom-made soundtrack under each dome, including one featuring farting sounds. Another room gives people a chance to use a biometric heart monitor that will measure their heartbeat as they play with slime, with the presumption it will slow the rate down. (Schiller said there have been no studies done to prove the restorative qualities of slime, but they are talking to a psychiatrist to formally do one.)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

The showstopper is Sloomoo Falls where you can pretend you’re in the 1980s Nickelodeon show “You Can’t Do That on Television.” After you get fitted with a poncho, the lights dim and a disco ball pops up. Employees will have everyone in the room count down before gallons of slime is dumped on you from 15 feet above. (The slime the day the AJC visited was more watery than viscous.)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Then it’s time to create your own slime using one of eight bases (e.g. thick and glossy, butter, snow fizz), one of 60 scent options (e.g. dragonfruit, Oreo cookie, Froot Loops), a choice of 40 different colors (e.g. neon purple, sky blue, coral) and dozens of charms (e.g. roller skates, ice cream cones, a sunflower).

And there’s yet another room for people to take off their shoes and step into pools of cold slime that create popping sounds when you take steps or, for a less messy experience, a pool of squishy toys. “This is a place where the kids can run around,” Schiller said.

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Keona Barnes, a teacher from McDonough who brought her three young daughters to Sloomoo, enjoyed the interactivity of the entire experience. “It seems geared to tangible learners,” she said. “My kids will definitely want to come back with their friends.”

In New York, Schiller said, the experience also drew adults, not just parents with kids. They held a party for Twitter’s creative team and a holiday fest for publisher Hearst. A group of medical school students came to celebrate graduation and they’ve held special sip and slime parties.

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

Credit: RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com

“Adults need this as much as children,” Robinovitz said.

Robinovitz, who plays with slime herself during meetings, said she hopes Atlantans embrace Sloomoo as much as New Yorkers. “So far, I couldn’t be happier,” she said. “The space is beyond my imagination. The initial reaction has been so positive.”

IF YOU GO

The Sloomoo Institute

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays. $39; $69 enhanced experience. 3637 Peachtree Road NE, Suite D, Lower Level, Atlanta. www.sloomooinstitute.com.