This toy emporium in tiny Kellogg, Minnesota, was such a treat that we called on it twice to bookend a camping trip to LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
According to our euphoric kids, LARK was toy utopia (with ice cream!). Room after room in the sprawling complex was stocked with fine quality playthings, each space organized by theme. Our 9-year-old son, gravitated toward the games and puzzles. My 7-year-old daughter priced art supplies. The 5-year-old settled down with a stack of stories from the large book wing. And the toddler made it her business to scout the pint-sized play areas throughout the store. This is truly a shop where you could browse happily for hours.
What sparks your creativity? LARK Toys probably stocks it. There are shelves devoted to science, a corner full of costumes, a beautiful selection of signature wooden toys, dozens of dolls, an arkload of animals, balls, wind-ups, kites, trains, building sets, and the list goes on. Such a collection proved to be a little overwhelming to narrow down when the time came to pick a souvenir. (And, as quality playthings are typically not cheap, the kids’ wallets took a hit, as well.)
Mom and Dad popped for the ice cream cones ($2.50 per generous scoop), 18 holes of mini-golf for the oldest ($6-$8/pp, operates seasonally), and carousel rides for his sisters ($2 each). LARK’s carousel may be like none you’ve ever seen, each animal hand-carved and painted with incredible texture and detail. Our girls wanted to examine each one before stepping off.
Dozens of other surprises are scattered around the store: a behind-the-scenes look at how the wooden toys are crafted in the workshop, a “memory lane” stocked with toys Mom & Dad will fondly recall, an encounter with LARK’s resident miniature llamas, and many more make LARK Toys a worthwhile stop along scenic Highway 61.
Jan & Feb
Fri, Sat & Sun: 10am-5pm
March – Memorial Day Weekend:
June – Labor Day Weekend:
Daily: 10am – 6pm
Sept – Dec
Daily, 9:30am – 5pm