Here are a few words of advice for a visit to Build-A-Bear Workshop. Be prepared to say what I said a bunch of times: "Not now, sweetie. Maybe next time." The phrase will come in handy. My daughter, Emma and I went to the Walden Galleria to check out the process. It is quite a process.
It was a Saturday afternoon and we were armed with our gift card from Aunt Shannon. Perfect. We were warmly greeted at the door and told how it all worked. You pick a friend, have it stuffed, fluff it up, get it dressed and take it home to love forever. Got it.
Despite the shop's name, there are many options besides bears. You can get a bunny, puppy, even a variety of cartoon and movie characters. They start at about $18 and up. My girl picked a monkey ($23) and we were off. We were led through the entire operation by Judy, who was sweet and helpful. It was Emma’s first time there, she smiled through the entire process of bringing the monkey to life. She pumped the pedal to stuff it, even picked out the perfect heart and scent to put inside her new friend.
Building and naming that monkey really seemed to spark Emma’s imagination. She got a slight glimpse of what it is like to take care of something that is special to you. It’s all fun and games – until you start the shopping. It is a bit overwhelming – so many options. Outfits for a princess, rock star, super hero. There are pajamas, dressy clothes, holiday outfits.
My 4-year-old wanted just about all of them. That’s where the whole, “Not now, sweetie. Maybe next time,” comes into play. The clothes vary in price. For example, we bought a Rapunzel dress for our monkey. It was $16. Yes, $16. Add the shoes, crown, magic wand, cell phone, headband and backpack to carry her in - and we spent about $100 total. That includes the monkey and all of the accessories.
I know. It’s a lot of money. It just all happened so fast. Of course, you can get away with spending less. Just keep in mind, the heart is $5, the scent, $3.50 - it all adds up.
In the end, you make a birth certificate for your friend, box her up and take her home.
It was a fun and expensive few hours. In the end, though, Emma has a new best friend named Crystal. She’s a perfectly stuffed, impeccably dressed monkey. My sweetie really loves that monkey. Of course, the reason why she loves her so much is because she helped build her. She still talks about it.
It’s one of those places that you won’t want to go to once a week or even once a month. But, every now and again, when the monkey needs a new outfit, a trip to Build-A-Bear is always an option. The best ages for Build-A-Bear are probably 3-12.
Info: Build-A-Bear Workshop, Walden Galleria (686-0242).
Hours: 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.