ANIMAL HOUSE Celebrates "Neighborhood Toy Store Day"

This year marks the first annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day on November 13th! The day is organized by ASTRA, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association, and will be held on the second Saturday of each November. ASTRA hopes to raise awareness about the advantages of shopping at locally-owned, independent toy stores.

Why does this excite me? Because I love supporting local, independent businesses! The Animal House Experience, my traveling amusement park for "small hands and big minds," is made almost entirely from critters bought at independent toy stores.

The refrigergator, I'm sad to admit, is the one exception. We rescued him from a mega-toy store corporation. He's so much happier now.

Here's an inside peek of the gorvilla, currently the main attraction at The Animal House Experience. Devoted fans will recognize the floormingos and whalepaper.

This beautiful silverback gorilla from Safari Ltd. was adopted from the amazing Dinosaur Farm in South Pasadena. Yes, they don't just carry dinosaur toys!

What do you get when you combine a gorilla with a villa?

A gorvilla, of course!

This Lakeshore giraffe was adopted from the Wear It Once, Wear It Twice children's resale shop in Burbank. They've got some real finds!

What do you get when you combine a giraffe with a roof?

A giroof, of course!

Okay, so the fish pictured above isn't actually a perch, but he was the right size. This sweet lantern fish was adopted from Mrs. Nelson's Toy & Book Shop in LaVerne. I can't seem to leave this store without picking up a toy or two.

What do you get when you combine a back porch with a perch? A back perch!

These critters are freshly adopted from the San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe in San Marino. I love their selection of Japanese erasers, toy instruments, and books!

The beaver comes from Safari Ltd., and the ray comes from Wild Republic. They await transformation into a BeaVo and RayStation, respectively. Of course, they will both need to be stored somewhere....

Enter this raccoon, a Wild Republic critter also adopted from the San Marino Toy & Book Shoppe. He will soon become a media storage rackoon, and he couldn't be more excited.

Photos to come...

In the meantime, run out to your neighborhood toy store and indulge your imagination! By the way, if you happen to find a semi-realistic looking plastic or resin snail, please let me know. The Animal House Experience is in desperate need of a fully operational snailbox. Thanks!

ETA: Oh, in case any of you were wondering who the master craftsman is behind The Animal House Experience, that would be my lovely hubby. Yes, he's more proud than exasperated whenever he declares, "Her inspiration is my perspiration." Gotta love him.