I have owned over 40 build a bears since the store opening. My son loves penguins and I enjoy the concept of what Build a Bear is. To me it is an experience and something that we can both enjoy much more then just going to the store and picking out an animal.
Upon entering you are greeted by a worker and can pick out which animal you would like to make. It is called build a bear, but they have much more then bears. On our last trip my son chose, Cody, the penguin from the summer hit movie Surf's Up. He then can take it and with the help of an employee stuff it. This is something he enjoys since he also gets to participate and the picks out a heart, a sound if wanted, and then kisses it and makes a wish. After getting it stuffed to his likeness, so it can be big and puffy or skinny and limp he moves on and gives it a bath. This is one of his favorite things. Not sure the draw of it, it is air that is pushed onto the animal. But he just loves it.
There are then clothes to pick out if you want to dress your animal. We did not dress him and moved onto the computer station where you name it. The computers are his favorite part of the store, he enjoys typing on it.
The penguin is very soft and cuddly, with big hairy fur. It looks just like Cody and the construction is very good too. I have never had a problem with one falling apart, although if they do build a bear can help sew him back together. I also have washed him in the washing machine by putting him in a pillowcase and then air drying. Again, never a problem.
Build a bear is something I would recommend for anyone with young children or girls who love stuffed animals. It makes the child feel like they actually brought their new friend to life.