When owner Stan Goldin decided to open the Whimsic Alley, he wanted to create a place that catered to the whimsies of every man, woman and child. In fact, if you put the two words in the store’s name together, that’s exactly what you get: WhimsicAl-ley. Since opening its doors in 2003, the shop has been luring visitors from all over the world.

You see, Whimsic Alley is so much more than a store. Once Goldin decided what the central theme would be – he’s a huge fan of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books – he hired Hollywood set designer Paul-Felix Montez to create the shop’s interior. Using Rowling’s books and their subsequent films as his guide, Montez succeeded in creating a setting where fantasies can indeed come to life.

From its cobblestone-like floors to the various mini-shops that pepper the store, anyone that has ever read the books or seen the films will feel like they have actually set foot onto Diagon Alley, the place where Harry and all the wizarding world shop for supplies.

The main area of Whimsic is the HP Wizard Store which carries the largest collection of licensed Harry Potter merchandise amassed under one roof. You’ll find everything from broomsticks, crystal balls and potion bottles to stuffed owls and hippogriffs. Just imagine an item, and it will probably be here.

The shop called Phoenix Wands offers 20 different styles of handcrafted wooden wands. Fancy the wand Hermione or Sirius uses? You can get one just like it, complete with storage case. If you want to dress-up like your favorite Hogwarts student, Habber & Dasher Wizard Wares is at your service. They’ve got robes, school sweaters, scarves and ties from each of the four Houses.

My favorite mini-shop found in Whimsic Alley is Pilcher & Bott’s Confectioners. Here you can get Harry Potter licensed candies. But beware, you won’t find your average nuts and chews like at See’s. Unicorn droppings and Troll Boogers are just a few of the sugary “delights” sold at Pilcher & Bott’s.

Even though Whimsic Alley is known primarily as “The Harry Potter Store,” a few of its areas carry items from other pop culture phenomena like “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy” and The Nightmare Before Christmas. So, give in to your inner-child’s whimsy and visit the store. Just watch out for all the mini-wizards scampering about dueling with their newly purchased wands.

Whimsic Alley is open Wed, Thu & Fri 12 p.m.-5 p.m. and Sat & Sun 11 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call (310) 453-2370 or visit www.whimsicalley.com.