If you were a kid in the 1990s there’s a good chance you remember going to the Lost Forests. These toy stores were based off a book series of the same name and were notable for featuring an OTT rainforest decor and lots of fantasy toys to "adopt".
There used to be 18 Lost Forests stores across Australia, New Zealand and the USA, but the 1990s recession forced most of them to close, with the District Docklands location being the sole survivor. The rainforest-themed interior remains, though, as does the whimsy and the Lost Forests’ most famous resident: the puggle.
A puggle is an adorably squidgy soft toy that’s roughly blob-shaped with a distinct snout and long whiskers. They come in lots of different colours, and every single one is made in store by the on-site toymaker. No trip to the Lost Forests is complete without adopting one, which means you need to catch your new pet from a slide built into one of the forest’s trees.
If your kids (or you) don’t fancy a puggle, the Lost Forests also sells other fantastical creatures, many of which have a vaguely Australian slant. Take your pick from flying koalas, whistle-billed flatapus, gigalot possum, bookworm, irrelephant or sticky beak (which looks a bit like a hairy echidna).
The Lost Forests at District Docklands also runs children's birthday parties, toy making workshops for kids and storytime on the Melbourne Star.