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Zany Brainy
1530 Camino de la Reina, Mission Valley
(619) 291-9500
5485 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa
(619) 466-6751
10661 Westview Parkway, Mira Mesa
(858) 547-8700

Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Rock, Mankind -- oh, and let us not forget the little girls -- Chyna. These steroid stars are being foisted on our children as the new millennium's superheroes, complete with T-shirts, bed sheets, pillow dolls, and action figures. If you'd like to avoid the chokehold these personalities can put on bedazzled young ones, pop into Zany Brainy. This store focuses on creativity and learning, featuring such sections as Young Builders, Let's Pretend, Words and Music, and Puzzles. The boon of the store is that it not only offers tip-top educational toys, but also sets out display toys kids can play with: Brio trains, Lego and Duplo tables, and Rockenbok, all stuffed with pieces to keep the kiddies entertained while you shop. Even if you're not there to buy, you're welcome to attend the free playshops. Events are geared toward different age groups: craft time and activities for preschoolers, Math Club or MLB Card Game League for bigger kids. Toys in general are competitively priced, some cost a hair more.

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