If children are the future, we can look forward to a dystopia ravaged by cootie epidemics and crumbling highways built from Legos. Live in the halcyon days of the present with today’s Groupon: for $15, you get $40 worth of toys at The Play House Toy Store in Durham.
A wide range of puzzles, play mobiles, and postmodern dollhouses enthralls every child and inner child who crosses The Play House Toy Store’s magical threshold. Toys from top brands such as Playmobil and Ravensburger share shelf space with handcrafted collectibles designed to be cherished by all ages. Wooden and cardboard puzzles from Melissa and Doug ($17.99+) befuddle brains with jigsaw images of animals, alphabets, and Jackson Pollock paintings, and Lego sets and accessories ($4.99+) equip architects to-be with polychromatic training palettes. Handcrafted Madame Alexander dolls ($44.99–$49) decked out in queenly costumes take high tea with their playfellows, oblivious to the knights and plastic-melting dragons waging war on nearby Playmobile sets ($9.99–$44.99).
Though The Play House’s staff strikes first-time customers as friendly and unassuming, their many layers of expertise about toys and their histories have led to countless pieces of hate mail from the North Pole. UPS shipping and free gift-wrapping services ensure happy birthdays across the country, and regular donations to local charities benefit the community closer to home.