Unique Toy Stores in Marin
December 12, 2016Posted by pamela |
Here in Marin, we're fortunate to able to choose from many unique and often independent locally owned toy stores. A place where the person behind the counter is usually the owner, a member of the owner’s family, or a longtime manager who knows everything there is to know about toys. There are usually samples out and about—great for play-testing—and there are items guaranteed to bring back a major sense of nostalgia.
Yes, the toy store of yore still exists, despite the arrivals of gigantic big-box retail monsters in the neighborhood. We love visiting our local independent toy stores for birthday and holiday gifts or for a special treat, and a visit to one is usually a lot of fun for everyone in the family, too. Also, many of these stores offer gift wrapping, too, making getting that special gift even easier.
- Five Little Monkeys
852 Grant Ave, Novato 94945
Starting at the northern tip of Marin, nestled in cozy downtown Novato is Five Little Monkeys and this shop means toy business. From puppets and dolls to dress-up and books, there is something for kids of every age. They have locations in Albany, Walnut Creek, and Burlingame, too.
- Dollhouses, Trains & More
300 Entrada Drive, Novato 94949
This massive hobby and toy shop off 101 in Novato is a blast to visit. While its focus is—surprise!—doll houses and trains, they also have an extensive selection of toys, including LEGO, Playmobil, plush animals, and model kits. The whole family will be amazed by the huge detailed model train layouts and dollhouse displays in the store. Don't miss the Halloween and Christmas lighted displays, the popcorn machine, and the player piano!
- Gamescape North
1225 Fourth Street, San Rafael 94901
This gamers' paradise in downtown San Rafael stocks every board, card, and role playing game you can possibly think of, and then some! You'll have plenty of choices for fantastic gifts for kids of all ages and game-loving grownups, too. Gamescape offers frequent special events like game tournaments and preview days, too.
- Marin Hobby & Gift
224 Greenfield Avenue #2, San Anselmo 94960
This small shop on Greenfield Avenue in San Anselmo is packed full of old-school hobby shop fun, with everything from model kits and trains to RC planes and cars and model rockets. They have all the paints and accessories you'll need to finish your projects, too.
- Play-Well TEKnologies
216 Greenfield Avenue, San Anselmo 94960
This LEGO-building activity center in San Anselmo not only offers fun engineering classes, birthday parties, and summer camps, but they have a fully-stocked LEGO shop, too! Browse their wide selection of LEGO sets and accessories including new Star Wars kits, Mindstorms, minifigs, and more.
- Fairfax Variety
61 Broadway, Fairfax 94930
Fairfax always has some sort of fun offering and Fairfax Variety doesn’t disappoint. It’s a shout-out to the classic five-and-dime shops that used to line Main Streets and, although the toy selection isn’t super big, there are some fun joke gifts, stamp sets, and even a variety of classic books. Many an afternoon could be spent here, following a trip to Peri Park and the ever popular Fairfax Scoop.
- A Child's Delight
The Village at Corte Madera, 1508 Redwood Highway, Corte Madera 94925
A Child’s Delight is an independently owned mini-chain that's been around for nearly 20 years, with one shop in the Village at Corte Madera and one on Fillmore Street in the city. This shop is filled to the brim with old school and educational toys and a little bit of everything else.
- Toy Crazy
Marin Country Mart
2211 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur 94939
The Norcal outpost of a small LA-based chain, Toy Crazy at Marin Country Mart offers unique toys and games, a knowledgable staff, and a fun atmosphere. Swing by when you're shopping for groceries at the Saturday farmer's market. Toy Crazy has been in the toy biz for over three decades, so they've had time to fine-tune their selection to represent only the best and most fun toys out there.
- Toy World
2094 Redwood Highway
Toy World, which moved a few years ago to a large space on Redwood Highway, is the perfect way to make an afternoon of errands seem a little extra special. Stop off at Trader Joe’s, get the car washed and then head to Toy World, where in the back of the store there's a huge mat loaded with tons of toys for testing and trying out. Family-owned with toy ranging from eco-friendly dump trucks to collectibles such as the Breyer horse line, the kiddos will want to make a return trip in no time.
- ToyHouse Mill Valley
515 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley 94941
In Mill Valley, you'll find ToyHouse, which is owned by a Mill Valley mom and offers toys, games, jewelry, and gifts for kids ages 0–14. ToyHouse offers complimentary gift wrapping (in re-usable recycled materials!) and a play area to keep the kiddos busy while you shop.
- Discovery Store
Bay Area Discovery Museum
557 McReynolds Rd, Sausalito 94965
A little bit out of the way but definitely worth checking out is the Discovery Store, located inside the Bay Area Discovery Museum. They stock toys related to the current exhibits as well as super cool stuff like that mysterious Shape-It Sand and make-your-own-volcano kits. The best part? Members enjoy 10% off total purchases.