Saturday, September 25, 2010

Store Review: The Key West Toy Factory, Key West, FL

What do you get when you cross the Rainforest Cafe with a sunken pirate ship, carrying a cargo hold full of eco-friendly and educational toys?  In our town, it's the Key West Toy Factory!

Right in the heart of Old Town is the newest family-friendly stop for tourists and locals.  Last weekend, after our awesome vegan lunch at Green Republic, my friend Yvonnie and I made our way down to Clinton Square Market; the home of the Key West Toy Factory. We didn't have the kids with us, but that didn't matter; there's something in this store for everybody!

Pictures can't describe the sights in this store.  This video comes close ;)  The time and effort put into the design of this store is phenomenal, right from the moment that you walk under a rope bridge and through the "jungle" to get inside the store.  There are water features and life-like creatures of all types; not to mention the giant sunken pirate ship.  Oh yes!  This happens to be a toy store.  The owner envisioned a place where kids and parents could come and hang out for a while.  There are play tables, a reading nook with comfy pillows, to settle in and read a story together, and the best part of all: the Imagineering Workshop.  Open to all customers, and even available to book for free (yes, free) for your next birthday party or gathering, this part of the store, with its benches and stools and art supplies, is the place to get creative, with coloring sheets and art projects for kids to do.  Don't worry about making a mess; the designers deliberately splattered leftover paint all over the place, so what's another splatter? ;)

Green Organic Girl and I went back together the following day.  I paid for two hours at the parking meter, and let me tell you, those two hours flew by fast!  We were sprinting back to the car!  We had such a great time, playing with stuffed animals, banging on drums and a steel pan, reading books, coloring pictures, and exploring all the educational toys the store had to offer.  We loved the atmosphere of this store, that encourages you to stay and play.  I was very pleased to see many eco-friendly options, like wooden toys from popular brands like our personal favorite: Melissa & Doug.  Despite the obviously huge investment that went into the design and opening of this store, the prices are all very reasonable; much more reasonable, I would say, than the other smaller traditional toy store we have across town. 

So what did we take home that day?  Green Organic Girl changed her mind a dozen times (like any kid), but finally settled on a "Doodle Sketch" by Etch-A-Sketch.  Hours of paperless, tree-free, drawing and stamping fun!  Sounds good to me ;)

Oh but that wasn't all!  That day we were there, the store staff were giving away free balloons, and with every purchase, a wooden token, good for a free kiddie cone of homemade ice cream, downstairs at the Sweets of Paradise shop, owned by our friends Walt and Lindsey.  Walt has figured out the magical formula, as to just how many chocolate chips a giant cookie can hold.  We were treated to one, fresh and warm out of the oven!  Oh boy!  A fun day at a new store, a new toy, a balloon, ice cream, and a giant cookie!  We can't wait until our next trip down to the Key West Toy Factory :)

Image courtesy of
YouTube Video courtesy of
No promotional consideration was paid for this post.  This is a review of a personal shopping trip.

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