ONE TANK TRIPS: The Toy and Action Figure Museum

PAULS VALLEY, OK (KSWO) - A chance to re-live your childhood through action figures. That's what the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley offers each of their visitors.

The Museum has more than 13,000 action figures, ranging from toys played with in the 1960s to the toys of today.

The Toy and Action Figure Museum sits right in downtown Pauls Valley. Those simply walking by and looking through the windows have no idea of the timeless treasures buried deep in the building.

"We have over 13,000 action figures in the collection," Owner Kevin Stark said. "We have enough action figures here for every person that lives in Pauls Valley to have two."

Any movie, television show or cartoon you can think of, no matter how obscure, it's a pretty safe bet to say they have an action figure from it.

"We have military figures, we have super hero figures, we have monster figures. We've got my little pony. We have toys from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, early 2000s and today," Stark said.

The museum walks you through the history of action figures and shows the evolution of some of the world's most famous characters, like Barbie and Iron Man. There's even an entire "Bat Cave" that has hundreds of action figures of the different Batmans from over the years. Kevin Stark started the museum in 2005 and said believe it or not, it's not just about toys.

"Families will come in here and the parents will think oh this is just for the kids," Stark said. "But five minutes in mom and dad are both going oh my gosh I had that, I had one, I forgot all about that. They'll start reliving their childhood. We're really more about nostalgia than we are about toys."

All of the toys in the museum are actually from Stark's personal collection. He started collecting in 1986. Stark's collection had grown to several thousand pieces in 2000, when the City of Pauls Valley announced they were looking for unique tourist attractions in their downtown area.

"I joked that my studio was an unofficial tourist attraction because I had a lot of toys and people kept coming by and wanting to look at them. I joked we should make it official. They took me serious," Stark said.

The museum officially opened in 2005. Stark said he had no idea how much joy he would get from sharing his collection with the rest of the world.

"It's fun to share this with people," Stark said. "What's the point of it being in boxes or tubs somewhere. I mean that's no fun. It's great to share it with the public."

Stark said, naturally, kids tend to love the museum but his favorite part is seeing just how much fun adults have taking a trip down memory lane.

"No matter how mean you are as an adult, you probably had a favorite toy as a kid. That's kind of what you tap into here," Stark said. "You kind of remember those great times as a kid where you didn't have any responsibility. It makes you happy."

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. It's $7 to get in for adults and $5 for kids, seniors 55 and over and military. Kids under two get in free.

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