Brambleton is a hot spot when it comes to convenience and variety in the Dulles area. Nestled in its Town Center is the envy of all toy stores, aptly named Go Bananas! The store owner and self-proclaimed “Top Banana,” Mary Holmes uses her discretion as a mother and experience as a former teacher to choose quality products.
The store is stocked wall to wall full of goodies and is bright, colorful and inviting. The staff greeted us warmly as we entered the store. At the back of the store, right below a great big Go Bananas! sign is a small play area with toys to keep children occupied while their parents shop.
The items are arranged by theme/interest, such as books and puzzles, dress up clothes, music and movement, crafts, cars, trucks, trains, scientific items, and even a space specifically for babies. If you are looking for a new lunch box or backpack, they have that covered too. The areas are not labeled in any way but the store is small enough so the sections are self-explanatory and I did not feel lost without labels telling me where to find what I needed.
Very few of the items required batteries and I honestly did not find ONE video game, which to me was a wonderful relief. Most of the products required imagination and playing the old fashion way. The toys were educational, stimulating and “learn through play” oriented.
The store also offers a variety of impressive, quality toy brand names, such as Alex, Corolle (our favorite brand of “baby’s first” baby dolls), Elf on the Shelf (our own ‘Paul Rocco’ will be making his third visit to our house this year!), Haba, Klutz, LEGO, Melissa & Doug, and Think Fun, to name a few.
One downside is that the store is located in a strip mall so parking can be pretty testy. I took my twins there at around lunch time and did not have too much trouble finding a spot near the store. Neither of the two ramps (for handicap or stroller accessibility) were close enough to the store so I struggled to lift the double stroller up the curb rather than walk in the parking lot to find the nearest ramp. Because the store is well-stocked it may be difficult to get around between displays with a stroller. Once inside my little ones and I took advantage of the play area, so luckily the stroller wasn’t an issue.
The prices fell under a fair range, offering more high-end products with high-end prices, but also having equally high-quality products at more comfortable prices. (Keep an ear out for their once a year sale where you can get the same great products at ridiculously discounted prices!)
You can also earn “Banana Bucks” through your purchases. The store tracks your purchasing record for their rewards program through their computer, so there is no card to carry or papers stapled to receipts that can get lost. Simply give them your name and all of your accumulated points show up. There is even a section on your receipt that details how much more you need to spend to earn your $10 Banana Bucks.
Have a birthday or holiday coming up? The Go Bananas! website offers an online wish list. Both locations also offer a nifty little hands-on variation of a gift registry called the “Birthday Vault.” The birthday child fills a basket with all of the items they would love to have so when your guests go to the store they can pull out the labeled basket and choose what they want to purchase. Oh, and they offer free gift wrapping!
Go Bananas! has proudly given back to the community and has been more than willing to work with local schools or organizations for fundraising opportunities. Mary really covered all of the bases when creating her dream store. Well done!
42395 Ryan Rd.
Second location at:
19352 Promenade Dr.
All ratings on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being highest.
Meet The Reviewer!
Lucia Alami is a mother of five
daughters, the youngest of which
are a pair of one year-old twins.
She enjoys photography, reading,
writing, drawing, playing board
games and doing craft activities
with her girls.