Some imaginative decor — Photo courtesy of Key West Toy FactoryIn an adult’s playground full of dive bars, margaritas, and an all-out promotion of drunken debauchery, it’s easy to forget that not everyone comes to Key West to guzzle booze until they can’t see straight. With so many water activities and a vibrant history, families and non-drinkers vacation on the island for fun in the sun, but when they need a break, kid-friendly businesses like the Key West Toy Factory offer some shaded, air-conditioned entertainment.
The entrance to the store is through the side of a “shipwreck” and the rest of the shop is teeming with imagination: banyan trees, ships, treasure chests, tree forts, a waterfall, sharks and monkeys in a rainforest-like setting. If it feels like a Disney World ride, it’s because the engineers were subcontracted from the Disney Corporation to give it a fantasy-land atmosphere. Hands-on stations like the “Create a Critter,” free magic shows, and balloon animals make it a unique experience for families (tips for the magician are appreciated). A giant storybook on the ceiling tells how the shop came to be over the last five years.The Treehouse at the Key West Toy Factory — Photo courtesy of Flickr.com/ashleydauss
Izzy, the kinkajou (a member of the red panda and raccoon family) is the resident pet of the store who loves all things bananas. Families can take photos and videos with her – if she is awake (they are nocturnal animals).
The factory’s signature loot toys are made in America, and they also get props for finding eco-friendly manufacturers. Toys range from handmade, wooden trucks to costumes, puzzles, and puppets. Unique items can also be purchased in their online store as well.
On the way out, kids receive free balloons, the occasional free ice cream, and tokens for the carousel downstairs. The Key West Toy Factory is more than a toy store, it drips with creativity for both kids and adults and is a breath of fresh air for families.
For more ideas for families visiting Key West, check out our 10Best Things to Do with Kids listing (many of which are free).