Thursday, June 11, 2015

The World's Largest Toy Museum

The sharp-eyed fans of the “Super Happy Funtime Vehicle Museum” would have noticed that there were absolutely no new pictures posted last week anywhere on the site.  Why?  Because I was on vacation in Branson Missouri.  And one of the reasons I chose this area of the United States to holiday was to pay a visit to the aptly named “World’s Largest Toy Museum” and it did not disappoint. 

The museum boasted on their advertisements that they had over a million toys.  I did not take the time to count but I believe this to be an accurate statement. It was easy to find with it’s circus-like facade being guarded by very large toy soldiers, bears and lions. Tickets were reasonably priced with my wife and I gaining admission for about $20. When compared to the other museums in Branson this was a bargain.  If you have any apprehension that you might not get your money’s worth when you purchase your ticket, it soon disappears with you are led to the first area. 

There are toys.  A ton of toys.  A huge amount of toys packed in shelves adorning the walls and floors in themes.  Planes, batman and automobiles greet your gaze as a toy train chugs over your head on a ceiling mounted track and this is just the first room.  Then the very nice employee gives you a quick orientation speech and gives you permission to let out your inner child.  He didn’t need to tell me this, but then he didn’t know I’m not your average patron.

All the rooms are packed with toys.  Walking through the museum is like going through a hardcore collector’s spare room collection.  It’s not a slick setup with fancy lighting and brushed aluminum cases and finely engraved placards.  It is simply shelf after shelf packed with all kinds of toys.  You can look and look and see something different every time you visit an area.  It fills your vision with images of times gone and in the process it brought back many memories of long lost and loved toys. 

It took my wife and I a little over 2 hours to walk through the museum and at the end of it there is the obligatory gift shop.  It was well stocked and even had vintage toys for sale.  I bought a Hartoy truck from the American Highway Legends line.  My one complaint with the gift shop was that there was no custom diecast cars with their logo or name on it.  When I brought this to their attention they assured me they were working on it so I settled for a post card to go with my truck.

They also allow pictures to be taken, so I of course took some.  The pictures posted here are a very small sampling of the museum and of course since I took them, its shows a lot of the diecast sections.  I’m hoping to just give you the feel of the experience while I encourage you visit.

And now the really cool epilogue:

As I was leaving, I realized the employees were talking to a man who was the owner of the museum.  A Mr. Tom Beck. I introduced myself and struck up a conversation.  He was a very congenial man and I really enjoyed talking to him.  At one point in the conversation he invited me to see the warehouse where he housed the toys not yet on display.  Wow.  Cool.  He gave my wife and I the grand tour of multiple rooms of toys getting readied to be seen.  It added another couple of hours to my visit.  It was like I got a second museum for free.

I would like to say how grateful I am to him that he took the time out of his busy schedule to show us around and it was an honor and privilege to meet him.

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