3. FAO Schwarz – New York City, United States
Standing proudly at the corner of 5th Avenue and 58th Street in Manhattan, FAO Schwarz wears the crown as the oldest toy store in the United States. For 150 years, FAO Schwarz has excited kids of all ages with its peerless selection of toys and collectables. Not only does FAO Schwarz sell a wide array of playtime favourites, but it also lets you experience the toy making process in-store. Create a doll in your own likeness at the Madame Alexander Doll Factory, or design an authentic muppet at the Muppet Whatnot Workshop. Movie buffs will get a kick out of trying out the floor piano featured in the 1988 film, “Big.” And when you need a respite from all the toy town delights, take a break in FAO Schweetz where delicious treats and sugary candies keep all shoppers sweet.
(Photo courtesy of FAO Schwarz)
4. The Hospital de Bonecas (The Doll Hospital) – Lisbon, Portugal
Many toy stores are in the business of selling dolls, but here’s a magical enterprise that cares about the relationship between the toy and its owner. The Hospital de Bonecas in Lisbon lovingly restores and repairs beloved dolls, stuffed animals and other toys. With a thorough assessment and careful precision, each wounded toy is mended – arms are reattached, eyes are replaced – and a cherished plaything is returned to the grateful arms of its owner. In business since 1830, the Hospital de Bonecas also sells Mariquita Perez and Paola Reina dolls from Spain, Schild Krot dolls from Germany and duplicates vintage-style doll clothing.
(Photo courtesy of Hospital de Bonecas)
5. The LEGO Store – New York City, United States
Since 1932, LEGO has clicked with children. Today, the world’s fourth-largest toy manufacturer famous for its iconic plastic bricks has gone global with an array of impressive stores. Its two-storey Rockefeller Center location in New York City offers 3,000 square feet of LEGO inspiration. Here you will find the company’s largest Pick-A-Brick wall – a structure dressed with 116 bubbles filled with individual LEGO pieces including rare coloured bricks, fences, flowers, wheels and other LEGO must-haves. LEGO buffs visiting the store’s Master Builder Bar can design their own kit and play LEGO-inspired video games. While the kids will be bowled over by all the hard to find LEGO sets, parents will enjoy the 50 LEGO scenes of the Big Apple situated around the store.
(Photo courtesy the Zetter/Flickr)