The Zoo Factory

Stuffable Animals

  • The Travel Agency for Stuffed Animals

    When we travel, it’s a chance to see the world. That’s true for humans, but now, thanks to a Japanese travel company, it’s also true for our stuffed animals.

    How it started

    It all began with a handmade eel named Unagi. It belonged to Sonoe Azuma, eventual founder of Unagi Travel, the Japanese travel agency dedicated to stuffed animals. Azuma had Unagi ever since she was a little girl, and when she got older, she began taking Unagi with her on trips. She took photos and posted them to her blog which “made my friends smile and made me smile,” she said. “I thought it was a fun and creative way to share my daily life.”

    After a while, Azuma’s friends asked if they could bring Unagi with them on trips as well. And, just like Azuma, they took photos of Unagi enjoying the sights, sometimes having it pose beside famous landmarks. The trips made Azuma realize that the idea of sending our beloved stuffed animals on their own vacations could appeal to more people. So, in 2010, she started Unagi Travel.

    How it works

    After placing an order, you simply send your stuffed animal to Unagi Travel and they handle the rest. Once received, your stuffed animal friend will enjoy all the sights and events of Tokyo and Kamakura. They might attend a TED Talk, or maybe they’ll visit Historic Asakusa. Wherever they go, your stuffed animals are sure to have a fun time.

    A trip that’s instaworthy

    You don’t have to worry about being kept out-of-the-loop on your stuffed animal’s vacation. Unagi Travel posts photos of the stuffed animals every day on their social media accounts, showing them at different sites or attending different events, and allowing you to follow along on your stuffed animal’s adventure.

    Unagi Travel is a fun experience both for your stuffable friend, and for you and your child. So once you’ve received your new best friend from The Zoo Factory, why not send them on a trip? It’ll be a vacation of a life-time.

  • How the Teddy Bear Got Its Name

    We all love our favorite teddy bear, but why exactly do we call them ‘teddy bears’? And why did people start making them in the first place? Turns out, it’s all thanks to a certain U.S. President and a hunting trip gone wrong.

    Theodore Roosevelt’s Hunting Trip

    On November 14, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, went on a bear hunting trip near Onward, Mississippi. The trip didn’t go well. The group of hunters had spent three days in the wilderness tracking bears, only to come up empty. Finally, on the fourth day, Roosevelt’s hunting guide, Holt Collier, managed to track down an old, tired bear. Tying it to a tree, he went back to the President and encouraged him to shoot it. Finding this very unsportsmanlike, Roosevelt refused, and went home empty handed.

    A Political Cartoon and a Candy Shop

    News spread about the incident, prompting Clifford Berryman, a political cartoonist, to draw a cartoon satirizing Roosevelt in the Washington Post. Two candy shop owners, Morris and Rose Michtom, saw the cartoon and had an idea. Rose had been making and selling stuffed toys in their shop for years, but she had never made a stuffed bear. The cartoon inspired her, so Rose made two stuffed bears and put them in the store window. Morris even asked for Roosevelt’s permission to call them “teddy bears,” since the President was often called “Teddy” by friends. Roosevelt loved the idea, as did the public, and they became an instant hit.

    Over a hundred years later, teddy bears have become a staple of American culture, and no child should be without one. Here at The Zoo Factory, we have plenty of stuffable teddy bears to choose from, so take a look!

  • Check Out The Den of Marbletown Teddy Bear Museum

    Along the Hudson Valley sits an old, Victorian farmhouse filled with thousands of teddy bears. Turns out, it’s a museum dedicated to teddy bears and other childhood toys.

    From Victorian Farmhouse to Teddy Bear Museum

    The Den of Marbletown has transformed a Victorian farmhouse from the 1860’s into a unique tourist attraction. It houses over 5,000 Steiff teddy bears along with other staple childhood toys.  A historical house filled with old toys might sound a bit creepy, but luckily, owners Steve and Nan Ferri have done these fluffy friends justice.  Their museum is interactive, welcoming, and fun. Birthday parties, school field trips, and young families all enjoy the space to play, explore, and learn.

    Meals Fit for Papa Bear

    Papa Bear’s Kitchen and Mama Bear’s Lounge offer healthy and affordable meals that can be enjoyed in communal spaces.  Board games and a magical closet containing classic toys will accompany your meal, and in the summer time, blankets and picnic baskets are available to enjoy around the farm grounds or a soothing stream.

    A Place for Artists and Historians

    The museum itself is always refreshed with rotating collections and classics revived from the famous FAO Schwarz toy store. Local artists present gallery shows within the space, and other museums collaborate with this unique attraction to share their own rare bears.  Recently on load was the “the Holy Grail” of Steiff Collectors: the 1904 Rod Bear which features the first attempt at movable joints on a toy.

    Need a friend to accompany you on your trip to The Den of Marbletown? Look no further than The Zoo Factory. We have plenty of stuffable animals and dolls who will just love a trip to a teddy bear museum!

  • Why Your Child Should Bring a Stuffable Animal to Summer Camp

    Summer is the perfect time for your child to try out new hobbies, sports, and activities, and no place is better for that than a summer camp. But when your child leaves for the summer, make sure they bring along one of their furry friends, too. Here’s why:

    They help deal with homesickness

    Leaving home can be tough, especially for a young child. The moment you arrive at a summer camp your child may already want to go home, but a stuffable animal can help. By taking along one of their furry friends, they’ll be bringing a piece of home along with them, easing any homesickness they may feel.

    They can help with making friends

    A stuffed animal can help with building social and language skills, very important factors into making friends in a new place. They’re also great conversational starters. Other children may want to play with your child’s teddy, or have their own stuffed animals play with them. Before you know it, your child has made friends before the first day has even ended.

    They can join in on the fun

    From baseball practice to cooking classes, your child will encounter many new and interesting activities. Having a stuffable companion along will make those activities all the more enjoyable, and memorable. Plus, they can have their stuffable animal look the part by donning on a baseball uniform or chef’s outfit.

    Don’t have a stuffable animal for your child to bring along? The Zoo Factory has you covered. We have plenty of stuffable animals and stylish outfits for your child to choose from!

  • How to Serve Your Community with Stuffable Animals

    Our stuffable friends are always there to help us, and that includes helping out in the community. Many of the same benefits that a stuffable animal can have for our children can apply to families in need. Here are a few ways you and your child can help the community with stuffable animals.

    Take stuffable animals to your local police or fire station

    When police officers or firefighters respond to a situation, they often give stuffed animals to any children involved. After a traumatic event, a child is often in a lot of fear and pain, and a stuffable animal can help ease those emotions. To help, you can donate stuffable animals to your local police or fire station. You can also send them to Project Smile, a non-profit organization which donates stuffed animals, coloring books, and children’s books to police officers, fire fighters, and paramedics around the country.

    Donate them to your local animal shelter

    As much as kids can benefit from stuffable animals, so can pets. Dogs in particular love stuffable animals; they’re fun to play with and can ease anxiety. Just be sure to remove any buttons or zippers before you donate them.

    Get involved with a stuffed animal drive

    With the power of numbers, people can really make a difference. Local charities or schools often have charity drives, and they’ll donate what they’ve collected to children in need. That could range from local children living in poverty, to children in another country who have just survived a natural disaster.

    Would you like to give a stuffable animal to a child in need? The Zoo Factory can help. Check out our inventory to see how you can start making a difference.

  • How Teddy Bears Make Adults Behave Better

    Yes, you read that sentence right. People are well aware of the benefits teddy bears bring to kids, but did you know they can also help adults? They can relieve stress, treat Alzheimer’s, and now, thanks to a Harvard research team, they can even make us behave better simply by being in the same room.

    How They Did It

    Harvard researchers Sreedhari Desai and Francesca Gino separated a group of people into two halves—one half was in a room with children’s toys (like crayons and teddy bears), the other was not. Each group was then asked to play games where subjects could influence how much money they and other people had by whether they lied or not. Researchers found that subjects in the room with crayons and teddy bears were less likely to lie and cheat, and were overall more generous, than the subjects in the other room.

    Teddy Bears and Childlike Innocence

    So, what’s the connection? Researchers believed it was related to purity. According to Desai, “Child-related cues might unconsciously activate notions of goodness and drive us to get to a pure state and not want to pollute it.” And it makes sense. Most people are on their best behavior around children, trying to set a good example. Having a teddy bear by our side may not be the exact same as having a child by our side, but our brain connects the two, and as a result, we behave better.

    So, if you, or someone you know, could benefit from having a teddy bear in the room, check out our inventory or contact us for more information.

  • Scientific Reasons Kids Love Stuffed Animals

    Studies have shown that more than 50 percent of Americans are still hanging on to the teddy bears they had when they were growing up. Even though those teddy bears aren’t as soft and cuddly as they used to be, people keep them for all kinds of reasons. For some, it’s because it provides them with a sense of comfort, while others have held onto their bear for so long now they can’t imagine giving it up.

    The idea of keeping a teddy bear for years and even decades on end might seem silly to some people. However, there are actually scientific reasons for why so many kids—and, by extension, adults—love teddy bears and other stuffed animals so much. Here are a few of the scientific reasons behind it.

    Teddy bears are made to make kids feel safe and peaceful

    It’s human nature for kids to yearn for feelings of peacefulness and safety. Often times, they’re able to find those feelings in the arms of a teddy bear. Studies have shown that kids who spend a lot of time holding a teddy bear tend to feel calmer and more secure than those who don’t.

    Teddy bears can help fill a void

    The average teddy bear can’t walk or talk or offer any real emotional support to a child. Studies have indicated that teddy bears can, however, help kids overcome psychological trauma and fill a void in their lives. They can also make kids feel like they have some control over the things happening in their lives since they’re able to use their imaginations with their teddy bears.

    Teddy bears are designed to prompt affection and nurturing behavior from kids

    There are a lot of studies that have been done on the designs used to create teddy bears. Many have shown that teddy bears are built to have many of the same facial features and proportions as humans. So when kids hug a teddy bear, it makes them feel like they are caring for their teddy as much as they believe their teddy cares for them. Even though this stuffed animal is an inanimate object, a bond is formed.

    Would you like to give a teddy bear or another stuffed animal to a special child in your life? The Zoo Factory has countless options for you to choose from, including farm animals, wild animals, and more. Order yours today!

  • Toys that Enhance a Child’s Imagination

    Children have amazing imaginations and their ability to play pretend and think up stories is inspiring. For many children, role-playing and creativity is often sparked through play.

    Playing with different types of toys can help to fuel a child’s imagination, helping them to become more innovative and imaginative.

    Playing with Costumes

    When children play dress-up, their imaginations run wild! When playing dress-up, children can take ordinary clothes and turn them into fantastical stories. Playing with costumes allow children to dress up as superheroes, historical figures, doctors, movie stars, animals, and more. Playing with costumes allow children to “become someone else” in a matter of minutes, resulting in endless hours of fun. Save some of your old clothing, such as shoes, purses, and ties, that could work perfectly for a costume!

    Playing with Art Supplies

    Give a child (washable) colorful markers and watch them create new worlds and amazing ideas. Playing with art supplies trigger a child’s imagination allowing them to put their thoughts and dreams into something real and tangible. Art is the perfect platform for allowing children to explore their personal creativity. Children just love to get messy with glitter, glue, stickers, and paints! Here are some tips on an easy clean up!

    Playing with Toy Cars

    The concept of traveling to new and unseen places can heat up a child’s imagination. Children relate vehicles with trips to school, to the park, to grandma’s house, to the beach, and more. Children love going places and experiencing new things and they often associate cars with that concept. Playing with toy cars, buses, and trains give children the opportunity to take trips in their minds.

    Playing with Stuffed Animals

    Playing pretend often starts with your child’s first stuffed animal, which they will love and adore like a true friend. Stuffed animals, such as teddy bears, can kick-start your child’s imagination because they will often treat their furry friend as a real person. Stuffed animals can benefit children of all ages.

    Encourage your child’s imagination with a stuffable animal from The Zoo Factory. Children will love the idea of building their very own stuffed animal and making it on their own.

  • Teddy Bear Events Across the United States

    Across the United States, teddy bear events are popping up, fueling children’s educations and allowing them to use their imagination!

    From healthcare events to educational events, teddy bears are playing a role in many learning opportunities for children.

    Below is a highlight of some of our favorite teddy bear events from across the United States that we’ve spotted so far.

    Teddy Bear Clinics

    We’ve talked about these types of teddy bear events before, but there is no better place to learn how to care for your best bear friend. After all, zookeepers are experts when it comes to animals! One popular event that many zoo’s offer are Teddy Bear Clinics which encourage children to bring their teddy bear along to explore how to care for their bear and introduce them to the world of medicine.

    Teddy Bear Fest at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

    At the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut, children and parents enjoyed a “Teddy Bear Fest” that centered on raising awareness of bears and wildlife.  The day was packed full of crafts, storytelling, and educational facts on bear awareness. Plus, children under 12 that brought any plush toy (not just teddys!) and was accompanied by a paying adult got in free!

    Wild Nights at Fort Wayne’s Children Zoo

    If you’ve ever wondered what the zoo is like once the lights go out, those that attended Family Wild Nights at Fort Wayne’s Children Zoo got to find out. This event allows children to take part in educational activities and delicious food while sleeping over at the zoo!  2019 registration is now open.  Pitch your own tent under the stars and learn about nocturnal critters or sleep under the sharks. Most importantly, don’t forget to bring your teddy bear!

    Teddy Bear Day at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

    Save $10 on “Teddy Bear Day” at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo when you bring a plush friend! Meet some of the zoo’s hands-on outreach animals, get your teddy bear a check-up, enjoy a giraffe feeding and more! This event will next occur on Saturday, Aug. 17, 2019. Save the date!

    In need of a teddy bear or plush friend to adventure with this summer? Make your own stuffed animal with Stuffable Animal Kits from The Zoo Factory, LLC. We have dozens of fun and soft animals to choose from, teddy bears included.

  • How a Teddy Bear Might Help your Child Sleep

    Dreaded are the nights your child doesn’t sleep, whether they are flat-out refusing to go to bed or waking you up often because they simply can’t sleep at all. Establishing a bedtime routine often becomes a nightly battle with little ones.

    Unfortunately, the effects of poor sleep can extend from the night well into the morning, following your child to school which can contribute to trouble retaining information, a lack of concentration, and even behavioral problems.

    However, recent research shows that there are a variety of ways to remedy these problems, some of which might surprise you!  A healthy sleep routine should be encouraged by both parents and educators.

    The Zoo Factory was excited to learn that teddy bears have been found to be effective when demonstrating a sleep routine to a child.

    Parents and educators alike have been using the teddy bear to teach children how to develop a bed time routine. By having a child instruct a teddy bear on how to get ready for bed, much like a parent would instruct a child, a child can learn to model and mock the behavior.

    Along with the beloved teddy bear fix, it was found that children that read before bed as opposed to watching television or playing on the iPad, sleep better as well. These practices can help your child to relax and wind down before heading to bed.

    Interested in incorporating a beloved teddy bear into your child’s bedtime routine? Visit The Zoo Factory today and choose from dozens of fun and soft teddy bears and animals.

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