Toytopia brings it back to the ’90s

Are you a ’90s kid? Born in the gold­en age of Pokémon, Slinkey and kid-tastic innovation? Then your childhood dream has literally come to life. The Washington State History Museum is featuring Toytopia, an exhibit that takes you into a world of larger than life toys, open from Feb. 16 to June 10.

Whether you want to walk through a life-size doll house, complete with its own dollhouses, or check out a life-size monopoly car, look no further — Toy­topia features just about everything.

There are two major aspects of the exhibit, the first being Play Dates. This section of Toytopia captures Washington’s history. Play Dates features popular toys created right here in Washington, such as the slinky dog. The other part of the exhibit is called Collections Selections, which takes you back in time to a 1900’s nursery. The thought and detail that went into this particular feature of Toytopia is incredible; everything down to the wall­paper is specific to the time period.

Troy Carlson, owner of Stage Nine Entertainment, whose work has been seen an impressive array of museums and galleries explained his goal in the development of Toytopia.

“Our goal was to capture the essence of childhood wonder; that dream of be­ing in a world of toys,” Carlson said.

Remember when you were small and the world sometimes took on a wondrous quality? That’s what Toytopia attempts to accomplish.

The exhibit also features retro arcade games, Lincoln Logs, an 8 foot Etch-A-Sketch and — get ready — the giant piano that Tom Hanks played in the movie “Big.” I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

If you’re interested in the historical aspect of toys — or you just want to add to the experience with a bit of academia — Toytopia also illustrates how the In­dustrial Revolution, child labor laws and manufacturing changed our culture.

If you want to drink in a world full of toys, you can at Press Play — a 21 and over event at the Toytopia exhibit Feb. 22. There will be the popular ’90s video game, “Oregon Trail,” on a big screen and drinks from Three Magnets Brewing Company. The Children’s Museum of Tacoma is also offering child care on the same night, which is just a short walk from the History Museum.

Now that you know that there is a world of larger than life ’90s toys right in Tac-Town, let the nostalgia sink in and thank me later for recom­mending it.

COURTESY OF WASHINGTON STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
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