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Best Toy Store 

Toy Safari

There's a fine line with toy stores. Roam too many aisles of plastic crap and you emerge feeling disgusted by the world's excess. Those pristine yuppie bastions of wooden toys from Sweden and such can make you feel nearly as gross. Toy Safari in Alameda is far from precious. The definitive toy store, this independent seller is jammed to the rafters with both the wooden and the plastic, and in its wide variety and down-home feel, offers an old-fashioned experience. It's surprisingly organized, with a staff that knows just where to find that Stegosaurus. The Playmobil selection blows away what you'd find in the much bigger "box" stores, there's a nice selection of vintage toys in display cases, and the train table will keep even the busiest of toddlers content while their parents browse. When you've made your purchases (and made note of the fair prices) you and your kids can wander down to Tucker's for an ice cream cone. It doesn't get much better.

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