No good road trip would be complete without shopping. During the Thanksgiving break, my daughter and I met friends for a morning out at the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal (we’ll do a post about that next week). After a quick lunch, we made it to our final destination: The Gingerbread House.
The Gingerbread House is its own destination, especially for grandparents, parents and anyone else who loves to buy well-made, educational, off-the-beaten path toys for children. The original store is, in fact, an old house, and room after room is enchanting. (I wouldn’t say it’s the best place to take a child, however. It is jam-packed with merchandise, and there is not much room for kids to actually play in the store. My friend Rayne kept the kids occupied by letting them take photos of things they wanted with her iPhone. G-d bless technology! G-d bless Rayne!)
The staff at the Gingerbread House are extremely knowledgeable about their products, and their market. They know who is buying what. If you’re shopping for a niece or nephew or grandchildren, just give them an age, a gender and a price range and they can help you find something appropriate. Customer service is a priority; they offer free gift wrapping. If you’re driving through, you can call them and they will pick out a gift for you — and will even run it out to your car!The Gingerbread House is certainly not your typical toy store. I asked them if they had anything related to Star Wars, and the answer was that they maybe had a book or two. What they do have is a fantastic selection of some of your favorites including: Melissa & Doug toys; Plan Toys; Brio; Breyer, Alex; Small World Toys and affiliated brands; and much, much more.
One very unique feature of the Gingerbread House is its “newborn nursery.” Located in The Gingerbread House Too (a second building across the parking lot), the nursery is where little girls (or boys) go through a full adoption process of a baby doll, complete with a birth certificate, adoption papers and a well-baby check-up. This process takes up to an hour and is offered by appointment only, and packages range from $105 to $180. You don’t need an appointment to browse the nursery and all the accessories available (the dolls are from the Middleton Doll Company).
The Gingerbread House also offers a wide range of birthday parties for both boys and girls, on a variety of themes. Parties start at $135.
I left with several inexpensive activities for my daughter to do in the car during our holiday travels, as well as some birthday and holiday gifts — including a really neat dress-up accessory for one lucky little girl.
If you go, be sure to print out this coupon from their Web site.
The Gingerbread House is located at 603 S. Hannah, Bloomington.
Phone: (309) 827-8811
What is your favorite place to shop in Bloomington-Normal?