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My son and I had a fun day this week exploring the city, just the two of us.  We made a stop at FAO Schwarz, a favorite New York establishment of ours, to visit the brand new Build-A-Bear-Workshop that just “bear”-ly opened this month.  Why would we go visit this store when New York City already boasts a flagship store not too far away?  Because this one is state of the art and totally unique–there is only one like it in the area!

We were invited to come in and experience making some bears in this new hot spot and we were thrilled to do so.  We arrived to meet some very friendly workers waiting to assist us in the process.  Robin, an employee at the store, made our experience absolutely fabulous, as she was engaging and fun and helped us with anything we needed.

This store is different because of the technology used.  Everything is computerized and hands on.  We were able to select our animals–I picked Rudolph and my son picked Frosty–and begin the process with scanning their tags on a flat screen table-like computer at the “Love Me” station.  This registers the stuffed animal and allows us to personalize our selections.  Put your name in, who you are giving it to if it is a gift, so the computer knows just who it belongs to. From there, select a heart and fill it with many attributes like courage, happiness, sportiness, etc.  All the personality traits you would like to see in your animal.  This is all touch screen and fun to do.

We then move on to the next station, the “Hear Me” Station, where we once again scan the tags and everything we just put in the other station comes up as the computer has recognized the information. Here we are able to create or select sound chips for the bears.  So many selections are available here–big difference from regular stores.  I was able to select a fun, upbeat Christmas song to fill Rudolph, although, I could have also selected a personal recorded message–longer than normal, at 20 full seconds.  A great idea for a gift, for sure!  Once we had our sounds created, we were able to put them inside our animals.

We then moved on to the traditional aspects of Build-a-Bear Workshop at the “Stuff Me” station–stuffing the bear with it’s heart and stuffing, the “Fluff Me” station cleaning and brushing it with the high tech sounds and technology that kids absolutely love and then dressing them.  There are so many unique choices in this store, and it was a little hard to select just the right selections.  It would be easy and fun to get carried away shopping for your new friend!  Many New York themed clothing items are available here, including the most adorable Statue of Liberty outfit.

When we were done outfitting our animals, we once again went to a computer to finish up and give them a birth certificate at the “Name Me” station.  This was cool because we were able to review everything we had done and there is a searching game to find all the characteristics we put in our bears.  Really cute!  We could then register them with an address that would enable our bears to find their way home, in case they were ever left behind somewhere.  You can take them to any Build-A-Bear Workshop and have them scanned to find their rightful owner.  Such a great idea!

Our experience in the FAO Schwarz Build-A-BearWorkshop was so much fun and very different than a normal store, I would definitely recommend making a visit. I loved all the technology on screens that was very much like using a giant iPad and made a game of it all.  The employees were wonderful and the entire experience was actually quite magical.  It was a great activity for us to do together.  You can visit the store for yourself when visiting New York City.

One very lucky reader of The Mommy Avenger is going to win their very own Build-a-Bear Workshop bear dressed to the “T” in Batman apparel!  To enter, leave a comment below or email me at TheMommyAvenger@hotmail.com telling me who you would give the bear to.  Follow The Mommy Avenger on WordPress and on facebook and tell me you did for an extra entry. Winners will be picked at random on or about December 20, 2013. Good luck!

*we were invited to the store to facilitate a review, all opinions are my own.