We were invited to experience the newest pop-up in Chicago this afternoon: Toys R Us Adventure. Having grown up with Toys R Us and being sad that the childhood icon went out of business last year, I was excited to check it out! Toys R Us partnered with Candytopia to make this pop-up possible and it will be in the city through January 26, 2020.
You should expect to stay for at least an hour, but since most of the rooms are not timed, the length of the experience is open ended and depends on how long your kids want to play and what time limit you want to set. Please note that this pop-up is not sensory friendly as there is fairly loud music throughout and periodic cannons that fire foam balls. I am not aware of any dates set aside for a sensory-friendly experience at this time.
What to Expect at Toys R Us Adventure: Overview of Each Room
Once you check in, you will be led to the first room with a train where you will wait for your time slot. You will then be led into the first interactive room…
A conductor greets you in this room, which looks like the inside of a train car with gears and windows (screens showing scenes passing by as you “travel” to the playland). There are spaces for 16 people to participate, moving the levers up and down to light the bulbs up in the middle, and standing room behind.
Melissa & Doug Big and Small Play Room
The play room has a wide slide made from huge alphabet blocks, a big xylophone that can be played with wooden mallets, a giant Melissa and Doug pizza where you can decide the toppings, some life-sized stuffed animals, a see saw with removeable blocks, and a hanging strawberry swing that’s pretty cute for a photo.
You can then zip line into the next room and land in a foam cube pit in…
PAW Patrol’s Adventure Bay
PAW Patrol fans will love this themed room with bright colors, the cab of a firetruck to take pictures, and a lookout with a slide. There was a cannon set up to shoot foam balls at the exit of the room, but it wasn’t operational when we walked through.
You then head downstairs To the lower level for the next set of rooms.
Huff and Puff (Three Little Pigs)
This three-little-pig-themed room invites kids to build their own house out of foam bricks, wood, and other materials. Then a Toytopian (Brand Ambassador/staff member) starts a large fan in the wall so you can see which structure can stand up to the huffing and puffing to blow the house down. There were rows of goggles lined up on the wall along the entrance, but we didn’t feel wearing them was necessary unless the kids want to get in character.
Get your groove on in this family-friendly nightclub complete with a light-up dance floor, cut-out cat DJ, spinning floor area, and medieval scene photo op.
Monster Obstacle Course
Set up your own obstacle course with blocks of various shapes and sizes in this room. There is also a cannon that shoots foam balls. It makes quite a startling sound when it blasts, so consider this your heads up!
As you exit the room you can choose to walk through big, colorful bags with funny faces hanging from the ceiling or head straight toward the jungle vines into the next themed room.
Schleich Jungle Adventure
The jungle room has a small slide at the entrance, but is mostly a photo op with big and colorful animals and a jeep you can climb in to strike a pose.
Polar Vortex (I call this room Yeti Confetti)
Be prepared to be blasted with white tissue paper confetti when you enter this room! It’s set up like a winter wonderland with cannons firing confetti and confetti all over the floor like snow.
At the exit of the room you will find a small gift shop with toys and novelty candy, then you head up two flights for the grande finale.
Gigantic Ball Pit
I have never seen such a huge ball pit! There are 1 million balls and the area wraps around the entire second floor of the space. I jumped in and the depth is about two feet high, with the back of the room a little deeper. It’s pretty fun to swim in there and it’s even set up with a little island in the middle. You need to take you shoes off before hopping in and there is a small bank of lockers against the wall if you would like to store your stuff. I highly recommend going in with your kids as the area is enormous and I’m sure it’s going to get crowded as families linger in this room.
Recommended Ages for Toys R Us Adventure
Toys R Us Adventure is listed as being for all ages, but we felt that based on the types of interactive opportunities and toys, the sweet spot for this experience is 3-8 year olds.
Toys R Us Adventure Location and Parking
Toys R Us Adventure Chicago is located at 830 N. Michigan Avenue, on the corner of Chestnut and Michigan Avenue. There are tons of places to go along the Mag Mile before or after your ticketed time if you want to make a day of it.
I used Spot Hero and found a parking spot on a weekday afternoon for $12 about 80 feet from the entrance (the covered self-park garage at 111 E. Chestnut). Besides having to drive up sharp curves to the sixth floor, it was very convenient and reasonably priced for the area.
This pop-up experience will be open Monday – Saturday: 10am – 8.30pm and Sunday: 11am – 8.30pm October 24, 2019 through January 26, 2020.
Admission Prices and How Ticketing Works
Timed tickets are used for Toys R Us Adventure with a maximum of 40 tickets sold for each 15 minute start time. The first room (Train Car) is timed, but you are free to flow through the remaining eight rooms at your own pace. Just remember that you cannot go backwards. When we attend press events it’s not filled to capacity, so I would be interested to hear how it flows on a normal day. Please comment at the end of this article if you go and have insight to share.
Adults are $28, children 4 – 12 are $20 and children 3 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased by visiting toysrusadventure.com.
You need to buy tickets online before getting there because tickets will not be available at the door (and might sell out). There is a note on their website that says, “All tickets are non-refundable, non-transferable and absolutely cannot be resold.” and “Tickets purchased on unauthorized third party websites or through scalpers will not be honored.” so please keep that in mind.
Click here for the Toys R Us Adventure Chicago FAQ page. ShowClix is handling ticket sales, so if you have a question not covered in this article or on the FAQ page, call their customer support at 1-888-718-4253.