Magic is in the air at Symphony of Toys on Cherokee Street just off the Marietta square.

If you’ve never visited this “old world shop with a modern twist,” brace yourself for a throw back to childhood. Push open the door to tinkling bells and carousel tunes.

Experience the magic as games, puppets, model airplanes, kites and wind chimes — stacked floor to ceiling — seemingly come to life in this cozy three-room “wonder emporium.”

Meet owners Randall and Michele Smith and you’ll quickly discover why customers love “Marietta’s neighborhood toy store.” The Smiths opened Symphony of Toys in 2008. Both retired teachers, they believe that education can be fun if taught in a way that draws kids in and keeps them engaged.

“Our shop is truly the gift of love,” says Randall. “We’ve received so much from this community over the years, and we wanted a chance to help the area grow in love and kindness. If one child remembers love and kindness here, then we’ve given back to the next generation.”

The shop offers unique toys from around the world made to instill creativity and stimulate the senses. The shop carries brands like Ravensburger, Usborne, Lego, Playmobile, Melissa and Doug, Gund, Tolo, Fisher Price, Toysmith, Bruder, and Channel Craft. Play is encouraged here as Randall has been known to get on the floor with children for almost an hour to demonstrate toys and explain games.

“I went in on my way to a birthday party, told Randall what I was looking for, and within a minute he picked out the perfect gift,” says longtime customer Lacey Hull. “Not only was the gift budget friendly, but he also wrapped it so I wouldn’t have to make another stop (with a baby in tow).”

Fun isn’t just reserved for children, however, the Smiths believe that play shouldn’t be reserved for children; play provides balance and, as such, Symphony of Toys caters to both children and adults alike.

“Sometimes it’s fun to just go peep in the window; it’s like a wonderfully surreal child’s dream,” admits customer John Virden.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIN GRAY CANTRELL

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