As toy store chain Toys R Us struggles to stay in business, you may be left wondering where you can take your kids to buy toys in Atlanta. Several large chain stores have toy sections, of course, but you might be surprised to learn that many independent local stores are thriving among the giants.
Independent toy stores offer a different type of experience, where owners can show a child how to play with a toy, and where you can find unique items that aren't available in your typical chain store. Some even offer classes and other activities that help make their shops a gathering place. And the emphasis is usually on fun, unique and educational toys rather than on the latest video game console.
Atlanta has several independent toy stores that you and your kids will love, including the following five:
Glenwood Park, 924 Garrett St., Suite D, Atlanta, 404-500-6260 and Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce de Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-883-3306
With two Atlanta locations, Rhen's Nest aims to sell toys that stimulate the imagination of kids of all ages. The stores let kids play with items such as buildable cars and a three-foot rocket ship dollhouse, so your child can have the chance to explore new items before you think about buying them.
533 W. Howard Ave., Suite A, Decatur, 470-355-8305
Treehouse's mission is to be not only a toy store, but also a creative space for families to enjoy. The shop sells toys and supplies that encourage learning and creative play. They also offer classes and summer day camps. And if you're traveling to Athens, you can also check out their location in the Classic City.
3718 Roswell Rd., Atlanta, 404-500-1027
Imagination, education and activity are the trio of children's fun, according to Kazoo Toys, which is celebrating five years in business. The store carries games, toys, puzzles and creative playthings and offers free gift wrapping. To celebrate the store's fifth anniversary, the owners are hosting a day of fun on April 28, complete with face painting, activities, discounts and giveaways.
2148 Starfire Dr., Atlanta, 678-937-2673
Not surprisingly, the main draw of this store is the thousands of kaleidoscopes of every size, variation and price range. Kid-oriented kaleidoscopes include ones shaped like an ice cream cone and a Star Wars candy kaleidoscope kit. Games, puzzles and stuffed animals are also available.
1189 Virginia Ave. NE, Atlanta, 404-220-8443
Blabla carries hand-knitted dolls made from 100 percent natural fibers, so each is soft, safe and unique. You can also buy clothing for Blabla's 18-inch dolls, so your child can dress them as everything from a chef to a clown. Pillows, blankets, rattles, finger puppets and blankets are also featured.