4525 N. Oracle Road
READERS' PICK: Someone down at the corporate offices CEOs R Us deserves a lollipop and a gold star next to his or her name. The completely redesigned layout of the location on Broadway makes for a much more pleasant shopping experience. Gone is the cheap junk maze that you had to wind your way through to get into the main part of the store. Gone are the linoleum floor ads. Added is an excellent gaming section with Nintendo games and computer learning programs. This is definitely the cheapest place for all your action figure needs, including a whole quadrant of Barbie® paraphernalia. And unlike Barbie®, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes, as there's a lot to see.
READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Yikes! Toys, 2930 E. Broadway Blvd. There's no other store quite like Yikes!, with its nostalgic affinity for bugs, reptiles, space toys, sock monkeys, and all manner of objects that bounce, spin, squirt and otherwise harbor some hidden surprise. There are simply too many items to recall, but this combination novelty gift and toy store (books, too!) holds wondrous delights for all ages. What does one do with "flower power" cards, an oversized deck of lovely 19th-century botanical drawings? Or a Japanese lucky cat wall clock? A wooden snake, stuffed armadillo, or jumping wind-up circus dog? How about a translucent plastic compass ring? In a nutshell, you just feel lucky to have such a distinctive toy store in your home town, and you go there and let your imagination take hold, as often as possible. (This toy store is geared more toward adults than children, in a sense. Nothing advertised on Saturday morning cartoons is a going concern here. It's all mechanical, vegetable, mineral.)