This young child is loving her visit to Animal Kingdom, in downtown State College, Pa. on April 6, 2021. Everyone knows the well known saying comparing something to “a kid walking into a candy shop”, and how you can see the true sparkle in their eyes. Capturing the curiosity and excitement from this little girl felt just like that. Unfortunately, the sad story of the magic of toy stores fading is coming true, as we live in a world full of advanced technology and devices during and even before the pandemic.

Shown below is Betsy Hunter, working behind the register at Animal Kingdom in State College, Pa. on April 6, 2021. In an interview, she says “If we were open I was here, I was the only person at this store ever as the pandemic hit.” Many parts of the pandemic hit Animal Kingdom very hard, including the loss of football weekends. You may be reading this questioning why that is so important, which probably means you are unaware of just how many alumni visit every single time there is a football game in State College. Alumni of all ages visit, including families with young children. During normal football weekends, thousands of parents and children wander around downtown State College, and stroll into all of the small businesses right near College Ave. Without these weekends, there were no children begging their parents to buy them that toy shown in the window display.

Thankfully, Hunter explains just how supportive and compassionate the State College community has been. She has had people walk in and say they have come to Animal Kingdom specifically, so they can shop locally instead of ordering from large enterprises.