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Physical Whimsical in Sharpstown Mall (1984)


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When my brother and I were about 5 and 7 years old, we spent summers at the YMCA on Post Oak, north of Westheimer. We used to go to Physical Whimsical in Sharpstown Mall quite a bit for day-trips, and my friends, brother, and I trade our memories of this sort of bizarre, but outrageously fun indoor play land for kids. They had a mirror maze that was scary as hell, a net, pole, or rope you could climb up to the second floor on (felt dangerous!), and among the "prizes" for winning skee-ball tickets were fake-puff cigarettes that emitted real-looking smoke and glowed at the tip when you blew through them; they looked extremely real.

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Hey... that flag is bass-ackwards!

Not if you are looking at it from the other way Kristi.

I remember the one at San Jacinto. There used to ALWAYS be plastic balls thrown in the fountain. It was kind of unique, it was on an open air place over the food court and you took the elevator to get to it.

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No, Gallery Furniture on 45 was a Physical Whimsical. It was huge.

The building where Gallery Furniture is now was built about 10 years ago. The original Gallery Furniture was right on the feeder road in former model homes.

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there was a yellow machine that went upside down if you and your partner weighed enough to manuever it....

the mirror maze was some of the loudest crashes you would ever hear as folks would run into the wall all the time

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there was a yellow machine that went upside down if you and your partner weighed enough to manuever it....

Wow, this thread brings back a lot of memories! I loved that yellow wheel. I was tall at a very young age, so it would always be lopsided when my friends and I would try to spin it. :lol:

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They had a shadow room in the one at San Jacinto, too, but I don't remember any of that stuff going on inside.

I always liked Astroworld's shadow room inside the old Alpine ride better. The shadows in the shadow room at Physical Whimsical weren't as dark and crsip as Astroworld's shadow room.

Not to get off subject, but remember how good it felt during a hot summer day to go inside the old Alpine mountain at Astroworld to play? They had a little cartoon theater in there that was fun just to sit down, rest and cool off for a few minutes.

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They had a shadow room in the one at San Jacinto, too, but I don't remember any of that stuff going on inside.

I always liked Astroworld's shadow room inside the old Alpine ride better. The shadows in the shadow room at Physical Whimsical weren't as dark and crsip as Astroworld's shadow room.

Not to get off subject, but remember how good it felt during a hot summer day to go inside the old Alpine mountain at Astroworld to play? They had a little cartoon theater in there that was fun just to sit down, rest and cool off for a few minutes.

I got an e-mail message from my cousin who lives in Indiana. She told me that she went to Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena, and that she went to Almeda Mall quite a bit. She asked me to try to find out if it is still around. I'm pretty sure someone out there can tell me.

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I got an e-mail message from my cousin who lives in Indiana. She told me that she went to Sam Rayburn High School in Pasadena, and that she went to Almeda Mall quite a bit. She asked me to try to find out if it is still around. I'm pretty sure someone out there can tell me.

Yeah, Almeda Mall is still there. It's kinda ghetto now. Everyone drives a few miles down the freeway, and goes to Baybrook Mall now. I

On another note, the Physical Whimsical in San Jacinto Mall was pretty whip-a*s. On the other hand, I was six the last time I went there.

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...the mirror maze was some of the loudest crashes you would ever hear as folks would run into the wall all the time

HAHA heck yeah! I remember the mirror maze being so difficult it was actually scary. It was as though the employees constantly shined it up with windex so it was really hard to tell where to take your next step without slamming your face into a wall.

Does anybody remember the fact that the "prize" stand where you could redeem tickets from playing skee-ball, would let you redeem your tickets for Fake Puff Cigarettes? I can't imagine a children's entertainment center these days having an extremely difficult mirror maze much less fake puff cigarettes, but back when I was 5 this stuff was extremely fun; it was a rush.

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I want to travel back in time to go to PW again. I *LOVED* that place. I remember jumping off the 2nd floor on the the mat at the bottom of the net with friends. I even missed once and bounced across the walk way. So much fun.

The tubes were the most fun. We'd play tag in there.

Those were the days. Running and horse play were encouraged. Personal injury simply meant you were doing it right. Getting the crap scared out of you made the day complete, and you'd go do it again. And then you'd whine to your parents to get you an orange julius on the way out.

*SIGH*

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What is Orange Julius? I vaguely remember something about it and then I saw it on one of those "I Love the '80s" shows.

What exactly was it? I don't remember ever having one.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Julius

Orange Julius is a fruit smoothie, created by blending frozen orange juice, crushed ice, and a mixture of powdered sugar and dairy creamer. It has been a popular fruit drink for nearly eighty years.

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I want to travel back in time to go to PW again. I *LOVED* that place. I remember jumping off the 2nd floor on the the mat at the bottom of the net with friends. I even missed once and bounced across the walk way. So much fun.

The tubes were the most fun. We'd play tag in there.

Those were the days. Running and horse play were encouraged. Personal injury simply meant you were doing it right. Getting the crap scared out of you made the day complete, and you'd go do it again. And then you'd whine to your parents to get you an orange julius on the way out.

*SIGH*

Very well said, gwilson. That just about sums it up.

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Excellent topic and pics. I may have gone there only twice, but it was SOOOOOOOOOO much fun. Those pictures are a total blast from the past for me. Ah, nostalgia....

It was at Physical Whimsical that I first had a ringpop, which at that time or for that day, was the coolest thing ever. Also, I had a really hard time understanding what the hell the name of the place was, since I couldn't read yet and had no idea what either "physical" or "whimsical" meant. I must have asked my parents what it was called like 20 times.

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HAHA heck yeah! I remember the mirror maze being so difficult it was actually scary. It was as though the employees constantly shined it up with windex so it was really hard to tell where to take your next step without slamming your face into a wall.

Does anybody remember the fact that the "prize" stand where you could redeem tickets from playing skee-ball, would let you redeem your tickets for Fake Puff Cigarettes? I can't imagine a children's entertainment center these days having an extremely difficult mirror maze much less fake puff cigarettes, but back when I was 5 this stuff was extremely fun; it was a rush.

13002-std.jpg

This reminds me of a novelty store in Parkdale Mall back in the 1970s. This was during Watergate. They sold masks of President Nixon called "Tricky Dicky" masks.

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  • 1 month later...

Right next door to the Physical Whimsical was a Time Out Arcade. My parents' bakery was right next to the mall, so I used to walk over and hang out at the arcade during the summer. Yeah, a little kid could walk around Sharpstown by himself back then. One year, my aunt sent me twelve dollars for my ninth birthday. I took it to the arcade, blew it in about an hour and never felt so guilty in my entire life.

I never got to go to PW. My parents would never pay for such a thing. I did, however, once purchase a sucker with a fake bug in it from the little junk kiosk attached to it that faced the food court.

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  • 8 months later...

I am so excited to see that there are other people who remember this place. My aunt use to take my cousins and I here during the summer -about 1987-89 - to the Sharpstown Location. Looking at the pics brings back some incredible memories, although by the time we started going they had changed some of the play equipment. Those gyro-sphere rides replaced where the castle stood (the ones you strap into and spin around). The ball pit was still around but I do not remember the mirror maze upstairs. Instead I think the put in trampolines...? I do remember spending quality time in the shadow room.

Along 59 South in the Stafford area, they had a similar playplace. It was short lived, maybe a year or two but I believe it was another PW location. This one I remember as having a different feel. They had a very tall climbing tower (made of rope levels that you had to climb up through) and they had several small rides.

Recalling all this makes me remember yet another place. It was near Westhiemer and east of 6. It was an indoor facility with bowling, mini golf, bumper cars, arcades galore, a small water park and this PW type area with very long slides that required burlap sacks. It had the Discovery Zone feel with crawling tubes, ball pits etc. Does anyone else remember this place and can possibly put a name to it?

Thanks for posting the pictures!

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I think the place you're thinking of is Fame City. There's an entire thread dedicated to it here --> http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...?showtopic=6339

The place is still standing, and walking through it is very different, yet it brings back a lot of memories. Its pretty ghetto now. The building is dilapidated and the glass exterior is in need of repair. The adjacent water park has been torn down. If you walk behind the building, you can see old equipment piled up like the bumper cars that were used for that bumper car basketball game. If you have any memories of Fame City in its glory days, then I suggest visiting it now. Although its a bit sad, it definitely brings back some memories. In fact, it would make some great camera fodder .... hmmmmmmm .... hehe.

Edited by Bengiann
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  • 5 years later...

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