If Santa needs a little help this Christmas, I have no doubt he'll turn to The Dinosaur Farm. Dubbed by its owners as "not your ordinary toy store," this specialty shop has been a local favorite for the last 15 years. Pasadena Weekly voted it Best Toy Store for the third year in a row. LA Parent Magazine named it Southern California's Best Independent Toy Store. Malcolm McDowell said in a 2007 interview with the LA Times that it's "the best toy store in the world." And, truly, it is. Even Forbes included it in a list called "10 Amazing Toy Stores."
What makes it so special? Just think about Toys R Us for a minute: the impersonal corporate veneer, the shrink-wrapped sameness, the plastic overload, the fluorescent lights. Now, think about the opposite of that. The Dinosaur Farm is the kind of toy store Peter Jackson would create as a setting for a movie -- a place that would probably have secret passageways, talking T-Rex models and a back room filled with busy elves or mischievous fairies. The Dinosaur Farm is packed with cool stuff and staffed by cool people who understand kids of all ages. Plus, the fanciful murals on the walls are reason enough to stop in for a visit.
You'll find old favorites here along with unique new treasures and the best selection of dinosaur goodies this side of the Jurassic period. (In fact, the online store specializes in all things dinosaur-related.) The book section of the shop is pretty wonderful, too.
I couldn't resist getting a late night picture of the store window. Haven't you always dreamed of spending the night in a toy store?