BEST TOY STORE - 2000
Rare indeed is a store with its own philosophy. But then, Creative Kidstuff, which Cynthia Gerdes founded in her Linden Hills neighborhood 18 years ago as an alternative to violent and faddish toy outlets, has always been a cut above. Now, as then, Gerdes refuses to stock chintzy or cheaply made toys, favoring instead playthings that inspire, educate, and entertain. The selection at each of her six Twin Cities locations (of which the above-mentioned original spot remains our favorite) is impressive: books, sock monkeys, painting sets, anatomy models, microscopes, building blocks, more books, jump ropes, geodes, model rockets, stuffed animals, dinosaur puzzles, and more books.... Creative Kidstuff's super kid-friendly staff can point you in the right direction, but seeing as how the store's philosophy is "touch and try everything, have fun," little ones are best left to explore for themselves.