A Sea of Learning
** Update again 7/7/11: The Northgate Mall location is now closed, too. A Sea of Learning is officially out of business.
**Update 1/7/10: Note the location near Southpoint has closed. A Sea of Learning is still open at Northgate Mall and soon expanding into a larger space there. Storytime will resume once they have moved into the new space. MiCHill recommends calling first to verify before planning to attend storytime. ^sc**
As much as I felt the Learning Express was not truly education-related (even if it is fun!), A Sea of Learning actually provides the shopping for educational games and toys for your child it's name implies.
This is a store that is deceptively small appearing on the outside, but big inside with a lot to offer. It is in the Renaissance Center of Southpoint, near the Old Navy and Babies R Us. It sells itself as "a Parent-Teacher store with thousands of options." And, while I didn't count all the options out, I thought this was a fair assessment.
One half of the store is dedicated entirely to curriculum and educational materials that are most likely to be used in a classroom. That doesn't mean that parents can't shop there, though!
The other half of the store has more traditional toy items, but also many creative things for children to enjoy, with educational toys too of course.
C could leave all of that, to be honest. He loved this store because of the large train table they had for play. In fact, he most decidedly did not want to leave and let that be known.
I also love a store where the clerks and retailers are knowledgeable. I walk in and say "I need a gift for a 2 year old boy who is all boy and likes to throw things" and the woman tending the cash register immediately points me to a huge foam dart with a football on the end. (That gift has since been reported to be a hit with the little boy.)
A Sea of Learning also hosts a storytime. Every Tuesday at 10:30 am, it is called "Fish Tales" (get it, from the sea??). It includes singing, a book reading and a small free craft. They even occasionally have the characters show up. If you join A Sea of Learning's Facebook page (click here or search through Facebook for "A Sea of Learning"), you can get good updates about the storytimes coming up (such as themes, book titles, crafts), and also information about sales. They even let you know through their Facebook site when they get new shipments of Silly Bands. And I also just learned through them that there are now scented Silly Bands.
By the way, I can see from the store's website that you can create and look up someone's wishlist. Could this be another form of a gift registry for kids? Intriguing. Honestly, I am not sure from the Internet information I see, and did not ask in the store. If you happen to know, shoot me a line!
A Sea of Learning
1058 West Club Boulevard