Metro Mama & Metro Baby

By Missye K. Clarke

It had to happen. Teddy bears finally got online.

Well, not just teddies. There’s stuffed Chico Chihuahuas, Ellie Elephants, Hippy-Hoppy Hippos and Roary Lions.

Webkinz World is an online playground for the young and the young at heart. Like the Cabbage Patch craze of the 1980s – man, I dated myself! – these Webkinz and L’il Kinz host on their website a cuddly collection of very special plush adoptable pets.

What a perfect place for these stuffed online buddies for your little ones. Kids are often online for hours on end; what better place for them to go than visiting www.webkinz.com. When first there, the child is greeted with “I’m A Member” or “My 1st Adoption” signposts. So, having my own L’il Kinz, Blackie the Black Bear as he’s called, I logged in.

Ms. Binky the Penguin helped my adoption process. I named my bear Blackie, got his birth date and favorite foods and toys – lemon meringue pie and basketball–and can troll all over the site to play arcade games to earn Kinzcash. After Blackie’s adoption, I am allowed to either print or store his certificate. I stored his certificate online. Parents can print their child’s certificates for their adopted Webkinz.

Blackie and I then visit Dr. Quack, the Webkinz’s pediatrician. He got a clean bill of health and I was advised by the Aflac Quack to return Blackie the Black Bear for a wellness visit and exam if my little stuffed bear ever had a tummy ache or felt a little green.

To furnish Blackie’s virtual room, web cash called Kinzcash can be earned by playing arcade games and interactive trivia on the site. Each Webkinz guest starts with 1500 Kinzcash coins. The harder the games are tasked for the pet owner, the faster one earns coins for their pets.

The kid-friendly site is carefully designed to prevent the children from entering too much of their data. It’s also encrypted to prevent tracking and third party usage. And, on the site, kids can chat with buddies, express themselves, have fun interacting with and in their pet’s Webkinz World.

When the little ring bearer and flower girl are home from the big wedding day and are done with their Webkinz adventures with their pet, they can log offline and continue the adventures in real time with their pets.

Webkinz offers bears, St. Bernard, terrier and Chihuahua stuffed dog breeds, black and white and tan and white kitties, hippos, elephants, lions and tigers and even unicorns. Cruise www.webkinz.com site and visit their collections catalog for the pet of your child’s choice. Visit these Webkinz’s outlets to bring home your own stuffed pet:

Dinosaur Hill @ 308 E. 9th Street. 212 473 5850
Homboms @ 1500 1st Avenue. 212 717 5300
LeMarc’s Hallmark Ship @ 304 Park Avenue South (no phone number available).
Troy Le Brea @ 1575 2nd Avenue 212 772 2640

Originally published May 2006
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