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)
6. LARK Toys – Kellogg, Minnesota, United States
LARK Toys’ family-run business harks back to another era. Its warm, welcoming atmosphere and 20,000 square feet of family fun makes this toy store stand out from the crowd. Kids can enjoy Jack-in-the-boxes, marbles, tea sets, books, puppets, trolls and LARK’s specialty, their famous handmade heirloom wooden toys. But that’s not all LARK has to offer. How many toy stores can brag about their hard-carved carousel, outdoor mini-golf course, antique toy collection and pet llamas? And when visitors are in need of a little refreshment, they can indulge in LARK’s candy shop, café or homemade fudge emporium. Independent – and proud of it – LARK Toys is a playtime destination that brings out the kid in all of us.
(Photo courtesy of MMJ512/Flickr)