Local Flavor: Heroes & Hamburgers

Submitted by Mari Farthing, OKWB Admin

We had a free morning and the kids were itching to go somewhere… anywhere! We’ve done all the normal hot spots and needed something new. A visit to a local comic book store (which I recommend—friendly, funny staff and a big selection!) gave me the idea to head to Paul’s Valley, to the Toy & Action Figure Museum.

It’s just about a 40 minute drive (in good traffic) from OKC, so there’s really no reason not to go. I used a coupon from MetroFamily Magazine (which can be downloaded from their website) for a free kid admission and then when I showed my ID to the cashier with my credit card, she told me that there is also a military discount—so even though I was planning to spend just under $20 for the three of us, I ended up paying about $7. You can’t beat that!

The small gift shop greets you when you first enter, and it’s filled with store-branded items (the store’s logo is pretty cool) plus toys both old-school (accessories for full-size GI Joe dolls—err—action figures) and new (Minecraft!) to satisfy kids of all ages. And when you walk through the archway into the museum proper, you are assaulted in the best way possible with all things toy and action figure.

Though the museum is relatively small (about the size of a strip mall storefront), you could easily spend hours here, especially when your kids find the play room (more on that later). But a picture’s worth a thousand words, so I’ll just show you some of the fun we saw:

IMG_6272Captain America keeps the world safe for democracy.

IMG_6283Some action figure favorites, including Lost in Space figures and Mork!

IMG_6287“Look! It’s Watto! Get a picture!”

IMG_6288Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, BATMAN!

IMG_6304The play room at the museum. Not shown: the teens &
twenty-somethings playing just out of frame.

IMG_6303This was the lone Pokemon my son found, in the play room;
he wanted me to include it here.

The play room was stuffed with all kinds of costumes and toys, and my kids spent a full hour there—would have spent longer if I hadn’t wrangled them for lunch—and while this surprised me since they’re not little kids any more, they were not the oldest kids in the group. With action figures and cars and bright red rotary phones that counfounded most of the younger set, the play room was bright, fun and welcoming.

After we had our fun at the Toy & Action Figure museum, we were beyond hungry—bordering on hangry—and I was all set to go to the restaurant next door. Problem is, my car was in 2-hour parking and my time was up. And the line for the restaurant was out the door (a testament to the restaurant in a small town that can have a line out the door!), so we decided to head back toward the highway. I’d seen a little diner that looked promising, and we were not disappointed!

IMG_6306On Grant Ave (State Hwy 19, exit 72), just east of I-35 and surrounded by chain restaurants, the Happy Days Diner sits, like a slice of old-school charm. We were greeted by a giant glass case of pies as we walked through the door and shortly after that a hostess who seated us in a sparkly vinyl upholstered booth. It smelled great and looked old-fashioned except for the modern pop songs coming from the juke box. My daughter ordered the chicken strips, my son and I both ordered the cheeseburger with seasoned fries. As we waited for our food, we discussed what kind of pie we were going to get after we finished our lunch.

But that never happened because our lunch was so filling! My son said it was the 2nd best burger he’s ever had (and he knows good burgers. His favorite is a buffalo burger he got a year or so back), and I’m inclined to agree with him. I wasn’t thrilled to only have American cheese to choose from, but this is how burgers used to be! If you’re gonna eat a burger? Make it a good one. This burger put others to shame.

lunchMy lunch dates & their awesome food!

Then we were back on the road and headed for home. There are lots of other things to see and do in Pauls Valley, and we’ll go back to do them. But since it’s just 40 minutes down the road, it’s close enough that I don’t feel bad about not getting it all done in one day.

B+W head shotSubmitted by Mari Farthing. Along with being an administrator of Oklahoma Women Bloggers, Mari blogs about all kinds of stuff at Mari, Quite Contrary and about writing and editing at Mari Edits. Mari will be one of the speakers at the upcoming AWBU 2014 conference, held in Rogers Arkansas September 6-8.

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    • Mari says:

      Dee Dee, it was really fun. I love to see all those toys from back in the day, so many great memories it brought back to me! I think your grandsons will absolutely love it. Be sure to pick up the August copy of MetroFamily Magazine, too—after I posted this, I saw that they had a whole guide on things to do in Pauls Valley! 🙂
      Mari recently posted…Jump? Why not?My Profile

    • Mari says:

      Oh, ShaRhonda, it was so weird to see that Mork figure and then the next day… so sad. I was surprised by Pauls Valley, too—I’ve driven past that exit so many times and never stopped. We’ll be back, though!
      And if you know someone looking for a travel show host? You give them my name. 😉
      Mari recently posted…Jump? Why not?My Profile

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