Most helpful positive review
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining, But Enormous and Expensive...
on October 13, 2011
The Imaginarium City Central Train Table is a wonderful toy; children love to "operate" the trains, "fly" the helicopter, and pretend as they take charge of the world they create. Our grandson played with this toy every week after his swimming lessons, so his parents decided to purchase one.
Constructed of particle board finished like wood, the 3-foot by 5-foot base is sturdy enough to withstand enthusiastic play. A drawer on both of the 5-foot sides provides ample storage space for the multiple, small pieces. The stops on each drawer are one of the weaker points of the Imaginarium City Central Train Table. Of the four screws, two per side, provided with the set-up only one caught when screwed in. We anticipate having to replace these stops in the future. The top of the table, which is two separate pieces, is a thinner particle board onto which the base scenery has been applied. It appears this could be gouged or scraped, but should survive most children's play.
The wood tracks and buildings are well made; the finish is smooth and there is no firring on the end cuts. The train pieces are also finished well; colorful painting of the cars adds to the toy's appeal. The fact that all the pieces are included in the set-up makes this an attractive choice for those not wanting to have to purchase multiple add-ons.
Complete assembly and set-up takes about two hours. Instructions are clear and easy to understand. The most time-consuming portion of the set-up was laying out the tracks. To save time in the future, we marked the alphabetic identifier on each specific, discrete piece. Then we numbered the pieces, beginning with 1 and progressing through the final number. We then marked the number 1 and number 2 pieces on the set-up schematic so we could, in the future, identify the starting point of the layout. This has already proven helpful as our two-year old grandson loves to play "earthquake."
This Imaginarium City Central Train Table seems much larger than its 3-foot by 5-foot dimensions indicate. In my opinion, unless you have a playloft, dedicated playroom, or an enclosed, temperature and moisture-controlled space, the Imaginarium is not a toy for most homes. In my daughter's case, she now has a colorful coffee table and little floor space remaining in her family room. This is not a toy which can be put outside, even on a covered porch, or in a basement which is not temperature/moisture controlled as the particle board is likely to warp.
Finally, this is a rather expensive toy based on initial cost and the number of likely play-years. However, if you have multiple children and plenty of room, your opinion may be different. Toys `r Us has the Imaginarium City Central Train Table for about $130, so you should watch for a similar price if you do purchase this toy.
Because of the quality of construction, the complete set-up, and the enjoyment children do derive from playing with the Imaginarium City Central Train Table, I have rated it as a 5-star toy despite its few drawbacks.