Holiday shopping with a toddler in tow is not usually something I’d recommend. But Target has revolutionized the experience with its Target Wonderland in the Meatpacking District of NYC and it has made it a must-do! The futuristic, Willy Wonka style product playground is worth exploring, take it from my 2.5-year-old, minifashionista. The playful, interactive and over-sized displays sparked wonderment and a sense of adventure in both of us. Pictured below is where we picked up Christmas tree shaped, chocolate-covered rice krispy treats (of which Juliet refused to share with me ‘cuz they were just that good).
In addition to this ginormous light-up switch (which really did activate) we found an enormous Etch – A – Sketch which transposed your photographed image onto it, a life-sized boat made of Legos, and Elsa’s frozen palace (see below).
Juliet loved choosing and getting her glittery snowflake tattoo within the confines of Elsa’s palace and was giddy with delight as she discovered each new area.
There were fun surprises around every corner!
What was great as a shopper was that you were able to literally test-drive a couple of the more expensive items on many kids’ wishlists this year (drones or these cool cars that use a smartphone app).
My toddler’s all-time favorite spot however was the ball pit. It was shallow enough to avoid scaring her and pretty enough to inspire some Instagram-able selfies.
We went on a Tuesday afternoon and were the only ones in the pit at times which was a wonderful, surreal NY experience for us. I found myself having peaceful ‘Calgon take me away’ moments as I sunk slowly into the depths of the pearly pit. Juliet and I had a ball!
Overall, Target Wonderland, offered enough interactivity and creative discovery for my toddler to tire herself out in exploratory fun. And it showcased enough cool technology to make you feel you were shopping in the future (i.e. getting to Skype St. Nick, finding presents by waving your arms around to control a video game, digital shopping and photo emailing with RFID).
Top tips if you go with kids:
- Go during the weekday (through Dec. 22; Mon -Sat. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m. – 6 p.m)
- Find fast, cheap eats across the street at Chelsea Market (Target Wonderland is at 70 10th Avenue at 15th Street)
- There’s stroller parking right outside the entrance and a diaper changing station at the entrance area but no bathrooms
- Have the kids create a free custom engraved ornament as a keepsake (by the ball pit)
- Bring your camera or have your cell charged up ‘cuz you won’t want to miss these photo opps