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| Culture |

Peppermint Park Opens a Cotton Candy and Froyo Stand at Aventura Mall

Prepare for a sugar rush.EXPAND
Prepare for a sugar rush.
Keraly Nielsen
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Walk into Peppermint Park at Aventura Mall and you’ll be transported to the treehouse of your childhood dreams, filled with fun and educational toys and a seemingly endless variety of sweets. You’ll be greeted by a pastel-pink Care Bear dangling on a shelf, a wall of unicorn-themed goodies, and a multitude of gumball machines glistening with throwbacks such as Spree and Good & Plenty. It’s heaven for any kid at heart. And the planned addition of a cotton candy and frozen yogurt stand only sweetens the deal.

“Peppermint Park is filled with happy people who care. It’s a toy store where you can touch and play with the toys. You can walk in and pick it up off the shelf,” says Kevin Garcia, Peppermint Park’s general manager. “We’re a community center more than anything else. It’s a place like Toys 'R' Us used to be, where you pick something up when you came home with a good grade, ate all your dinner, or won a soccer game.”

The store opened this past November as a pop-up for the holiday season. Spokesperson Ryan Nielsen says the shop's concept was to “give back to the community and be fun and interactive. There’s a jungle gym in the middle filled with merchandise. It’s meant to feel like when a child goes to recess and there’s toys, trees, and fun.”

Peppermint Park Opens a Cotton Candy and Froyo Stand at Aventura MallEXPAND
Keraly Nielsen

Peppermint Park carries a variety of toys intended for all ages, including adults. Prices range from 25 cents for a gumball to $500 for a dazzling Darth Vader Pez dispenser. The store sells favorites such as Sesame Street characters, Green Toys that are made from recycled materials, and slime. And the wide selection of candies includes classics such as Hershey's bars and new creations like tennis star Maria Sharapova’s Sugarpova line.

If traditional candy doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, this spring, Peppermint Park will debut a cotton candy and frozen yogurt stand in the back of the store. You’ll be able to order the coveted cotton candy ice-cream clouds made with froyo from Bal Harbour’s Serendipity Yogurt Cafe. When you order a cotton candy shape, such as Hello Kitty, the Grinch, or a pig, you can watch artists make your delicious treat come to life behind a glass wall.

Giving back is at the heart of Peppermint Park, which donates 100 percent of its net profits to charity. The business also partners with nonprofit organizations to plan benefit events. This past February, the store worked with the Kids Kindness Project. Garcia says he's brainstorming a summer camp idea for the store's next outreach project.

Nielsen encourages families to visit Peppermint Park for wholesome, interactive fun. “We love Amazon, and we’re guilty of buying stuff from there too, but we want someplace where people can come in and play and do fun, interactive things,” he says. “Parents can take ten minutes and let their kids run around free in here. We have a putting-green carpet, kids bouncing around, and it’s stroller-friendly. We want kids to come here and demolish things in the best way possible. We want Peppermint Park to be that place where you can walk in excited because you’re free to play around.”

Peppermint Park. Aventura Mall, 19565 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 1994, Aventura; 305-690-7905; peppermintpark.miami. Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 8 p.m.

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