My three year old is obsessed with dinosaurs and robots. Dinobots are even better. If a dino-tank-bot was offered it would be his favorite. He’s not too concerned where we buy them but since your average toy-store dino-bot is upwards of $20 (sorry, @19.95) we have taken to hitting the thrift stores.

Herewith: The Best Place to Buy Used DinosaurTankoBots in (my parts) of Seattle.

1)Value Village – Capitol Hill. This used to be the best place to find quality used toys. We call it The Broken Car Shop because we’ve bought so many HotWheels cars there. Some months back they re-organized and while the toys may be the same we seem to find fewer real glories. Perhaps it’s because they are better displayed and so more people get to pick through them rather than having to dig and delve and fight the undertoad to find the treasures. Regardless, there are still wonderful dinosaurs to be found here, including Carnegie Collection Dipolodocus and Stegasauros.

2) Value Village – Lake City Way. This is now our most frequent stop for a dinobot fix. The prices are still reasonable (you can get some good toys for under $2) and if a price tag is missing they tend to guess low rather than high. This is a good guide! Someone recently donated a large collection of Godzillas and we made off with a few.

3) Goodwill on Dearborn downtown. This is the megamall of thrift stores. Its worth going simply to get something you don’t really need really cheap and to come back with your hands smelling musty. I find I need to strap my son in at Goodwill as it has a kind of warehouse atmosphere – carts are overloaded, shelves sometimes topple over and there are just way too many people and space to let a three-year old roam. And its kind of gloomy, like you are walking around in the twilight while a light rain chills the pigeons who are shi**ing on your car. Sometimes you find great stuff, of course, but its best for Toy-r-US castoffs rather than independent toystore stuff. Very little wood or stuff that lasts. Dinosaurs are thin on the ground here but if you get that urge, and you’re eating dim sum somewhere local, go for it.

If this all fails then there are a few in Ballard:

4) Value Village on 15th NW (the parking is often difficult) – a good toy selection but also very busy. My son seldom finds toy-treasures but always enjoys the visit.

5) The NEW Goodwill on 8th in Ballard. I like this place but its new and smaller than it looks from the outside and perhaps it feels not fully crammed with stuff (yet). The toys are all higgeldy piggeldy on shelves, not hooked up in bags like the T-stores with the best toys. It gets to be a real mess once a few kids have poked through them and pulled half onto the floor. We enjoyed our visit but I bought something for the sake of it rather than being really pleased with what we found. I mean, I think we got a plastic tank with the top missing: one of those toys I will have to disappear before the $1.49 tag rubs off.

Ok, that’s all I have to offer for now. I would love to hear about other good thrift stores.

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