Got some last-minute holiday shopping to do? Well, remember that toys aren’t just for kids. This December we discovered three local toy stores around Austin that are unique in appearance and in merchandise. From a Magic Garden crystal kit to a plastic replica of R2D2 to stained-glass coloring books, the diverse offerings at these shops proved suitable for almost every age. In fact, we were so taken with all the fun items, that we couldn’t help ourselves and ended up buying three pocket-size metal music boxes that each play a different song. (My favorite was “Michelle” by The Beatles.) Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find. Get your wallet ready.
At this spot that screams family friendly you’ll find everything from antique robots and magic kits to dinosaurs and wooden train sets. There is a variety of educational toys, including Zoob and Bilibo, and classics as well (think Madame Alexander dolls). We found ourselves drawn to the ultra-cool chemistry sets, action figures, solar system sets, and memory games. Never fear, there are lots of girlie-girl items too. The store is somewhat organized by category and has plenty of room to play. In fact, one of the sayings is, “If you can’t play with it, why bother?” Take your goodies home in white bags decorated by local kids and families. 2438 W. Anderson Ln (512-445-4489). www.terratoys.com
Even if you aren’t in the market for toy, you must stop by this colorful spot near the University of Texas campus. This store has it all: peacock purses, Hello Kitty items, tinker toys, makeup kits, clothes, stationery, robots, sea monkeys, moleskin leather journals, music boxes, ancient Egyptian kits, 3D animal skeletons, ant farms, board games, Asian lanterns, coloring books, alphabet blocks, looming kits, and more. Custom gift wrapping is available. 2900 Guadalupe (512-320-0090). www.toyjoy.com
Anna’s Toy Depot
This is the spot to find classic, antique, or gently used toys. Anna’s specializes in selling and trading toys, so you can find just about anything you want here: doll houses, musical toys, action figures, stuffed animals, dinosaurs, kaleidoscopes, tray puzzles, dominoes, kitchen sets, Nerf bats, costumes, masks, cartoon memorabilia, rubber snakes and spiders, cars, airplanes, kites, puppets, books, puzzles, Legos, mosaics, tea sets, and more. In addition to the great selection of inventory, the prices are right too. 2620 South Lamar Blvd (512-447-8697). www.annastoydepot.com