News, Reviews and Education

Three Women and a Young Lady Walk into a Toy Store...

Three Women and a Young Lady Walk into a Toy Store...

So the coolest thing just happened…

Three women and a young lady came into the shop. They were bubbly, full of excitement, and me? I was behind the counter trying to finish up some vendor emails and shouted my typical, “Welcome to the Toy Box!” while my head was buried in tech. I let them browse around, then noticed they were each carrying stacks of toys… which in my experience, typically warrants a special occasion, which prompted me to stand up from my “head-down-in-tech” behind the counter position and say, “What’s the special occasion?”

All three of the adults said, “Birthday!”

The now nine-year-old young lady was beaming with excitement as all three women were asking, “Do you want this? What about that? Oh this is cool, want this, too?” and I immediately noticed the resemblance between them.

It turns out there were four generations represented… FOUR. And the youngest? It was like looking in the mirror as her mom said that she’d much rather have science kits, puzzles and building sets than your typical Barbie doll (my kind of kid!). She picked out some of my favorites, including the Detective Kit and Forensics Kit (that I’ve been dying to open and play with myself), some of our newest “smallest building blocks in the world” sets, and the By the Book puzzle to name just a few. Then they all kindly let me take their photo with Phil the Dinosaur… the youngling holding our birthday gift to her, the most adorable Birthday Pusheen. (Because what birthday is complete without a squishy plush toy?)

Such a FUN visit and by far one of my most memorable moments already in the barely two weeks we’ve been open! Thanks for your visit awesome family, we look forward to seeing you all again soon!

The Birth of a Dream...

The Birth of a Dream...

When I was 5 years old, I had a dream...

I saw a red brick building with two large display windows, in an adorable downtown setting. Walking in through the front door, I saw a play/reading/relaxing area in the front, with the rest of the space being filled with... WONDER.

Think Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium... only a little more down-to-earth real. ;-)

When I shared this dream with my husband Tony, he surprised me by not laughing at it... as I'd been told in the past it was absurd, or maybe something to think about "for your retirement." HA! To not be able to enjoy, much less run a business like this, until I'm 60? No way... So when Tony started looking for opportunity and doors miraculously began opening, I knew this was it. Forget 60, I'm doing this NOW.

So while we officially launched our company, InterACT, LLC in 2015, we just now have embarked on this life-changing journey to see my physical (and online) store dream realized... which is now Toy Box Gifts & Wonder, a boutique book and toy store in the heart of downtown Chambersburg, PA... just a few short miles from the popular historical destination, Gettysburg, PA.

At Toy Box Gifts & Wonder, we'll carry a wide range of STREAM-inspired (science, technology, robotics, engineering, arts, math) products to engage the imaginations of kids and adults alike. From drones and cameras to collectibles and educational and developmental toys, our store will have something for every age and specialize in gifts and collectibles you won't ever see "just anywhere."

We'll feature monthly events, starting with Melissa & Doug's Take Back Childhood toy-tester event and life-sized animatronic dinosaurs. Yep, they'll try to get ya, but don't worry, they're mostly friendly. In fact, our store mascot "Phil," a life-sized Troondon (like the velociraptors in Jurassic Park, only realistic) would be happy to have his picture taken with you when you visit... a fun, free service our professional photographers will provide.

This dream-turned-destination will have you and your kids enjoying playtime together again! So if after June 1, 2017 you're headed to Gettysburg, PA or down Rt. 81 toward Florida for vacation, stop by, grab a free cup of coffee, browse our unique selections and say hi to Phil.

OPENING DAY: June 1, 2017

GRAND OPENING Celebration Party & Ribbon Cutting: July 14, 2017


A Closer Look: The Triceratops

A Closer Look: The Triceratops

The gentle giant from the Jurassic Park film has had quite an impact on the dinosaur-lover’s culture, and for more reasons than the movies. Resembling a Rhinoceros, it is likely the most commonly resembled dinosaur to our modern animals, and for reasons you can probably guess, it’s therefore a lot easier to relate to and love as children. So let’s take a bit of a closer look at our tri-horned friend that we all know and love on today’s blog of A Closer Look: The Triceratops!

From Wikipedia:

“The first named specimen now attributed to Triceratops is a pair of brow horns attached to a skull roof, found near Denver, Colorado in the spring of 1887. This specimen was sent to Othniel Charles Marsh, who believed that the formation from which it came dated from the Pliocene, and that the bones belonged to a particularly large and unusual bison, which he named Bison alticornis. He realized that there were horned dinosaurs by the next year, which saw his publication of the genus Ceratops from fragmentary remains, but he still believed B. alticornis to be a Pliocene mammal. It took a third and much more complete skull to change his mind. The specimen, collected in 1888 by John Bell Hatcher from the Lance Formation of Wyoming, was initially described as another species of Ceratops. After reflection, Marsh changed his mind and gave it the generic name Triceratops, accepting his Bison alticornis as another species of Ceratops (it would later be added to Triceratops). The sturdy nature of the animal's skull has ensured that many examples have been preserved as fossils, allowing variations between species and individuals to be studied. Triceratops remains have subsequently been found in the American states of Montana and South Dakota (in addition to Colorado and Wyoming), and in the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta, Canada.”

What we know about its size:

Though not as large as some of the other herbivores that roamed the lands during its time, the Triceratops was no mere push-over, either… Just remember that those three horns were used to damage and kill as much as courting a mate.

From Wikipedia:

Individual Triceratops are estimated to have reached about 7.9 to 9.0 m (25.9–29.5 ft) in length, 2.9 to 3.0 m (9.5 to 9.8 ft) in height, and 6.1–12.0 tonnes (13,000–26,000 lb) in weight. The most distinctive feature is their large skull, among the largest of all land animals. The largest known skull (specimen MWC 7584, formerly BYU 12183) is estimated to have been 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length when complete, and could reach almost a third of the length of the entire animal. A specimen of T. horridus named Kelsey measured 7.3 metres (24 ft) long with a 1.98 metres (6.5 ft) skull, stood about 2.3 metres (7.5 ft) tall, and was estimated by the Black Hills institute to weight nearly 6 tonnes (5.9 long tons; 6.6 short tons). A Triceratops 8 metres (26 ft) long has been estimated by Gregory S. Paul to have massed 9.3 tonnes (9.2 long tons; 10.3 short tons). It bore a single horn on the snout, above the nostrils, and a pair of horns approximately 1 m (3.3 ft) long, with one above each eye. In 2010, paleontologists revealed a fossil (named "Yoshi's Trike," MOR 3027) with 115-centimetre-long (3.77 ft) horn cores, housed and displayed at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana. To the rear of the skull was a relatively short, bony frill, adorned with epoccipitals in some specimens. Most other ceratopsids had large fenestrae in their frills, while those of Triceratops were noticeably solid. T. horridus can be distinguished from T. prorsus by having a shallower snout.”

What we know about its legendary status:


Though it lived 68 million years ago in the late Cretaceous Period, the long generations haven’t been able to separate us from loving the dinosaur known for its three horns. Even in animated films such as The Land Before Time, the Triceratops is portrayed as a loving, friendly companion who would help you till the very end. Kids have grown up loving the dinosaur’s portrayal on Barney & Friends as well, as the iconic Baby Bop Triceratops who sings and dances around. All in all, the Triceratops hasn’t lost any love within the culture, and you can admit – if you were around back then and had to pick a faithful companion who was guaranteed not to try and munch on you, but could very well defend you from other attacks, this is the creature we would all run to. The lovable, three-horned Triceratops.