Wednesday Jan 16

September 2013

Readers' Choice 2013: Kids Play

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Readers' Choice 2013

Kids Play

day camp

BEST DAY CAMP: CAMP JAMES

“Camp James is the best real old school camp that I could send my son to in SoCal! We all (husband, son and I) LOVE LOVE LOVE Camp James. Where else can he spend the day playing outdoors in water and on land and have all of the activities he could possibly want and it’s all in 1 location – no field trips required! Our son comes home happy and tired – what more could we want from a camp?” -Michelle Ortiz, Cypress

101 N Bayside Drive, Newport Beach | 949-729-1098 | www.campjames.com.


overnight camp

BEST OVERNIGHT CAMP: RAWHIDE RANCH

The closest thing in Orange County to the “Old West,” is the 37-acre Rawhide Ranch, and it has been selected as this years winner for overnight camp. Camp goers will gain experience in archery, horseback riding, vaulting, riflery, swimming, animal care and drama. Campers will also enhance their sleepover experience by spending the night in a teepee, cowboy bunkhouse, western fort or even in a covered wagon!

Fun fact: Rawhide Ranch celebrates 50 years this year!

6987 W Lilac Road, Bonsall | 760-758-0083 | www.rawhideranch.com


dance studio

BEST DANCE STUDIO: FRECKLED FROG LEARNING CENTER

Once again, our readers have selected Freckled Frog Learning Center as their favorite place for dance classes. Focusing on positivity, creativity and imagination, the Freckled Frog learning center is the perfect place for your little one to learn to dance. And is there anything cuter that your child in a dance recital? We think not.

We love watching the children smile and learn dance in a fun, non competitive and positive environment!” -Stacy Reese, Director

18555 Yorba Linda Blvd. Yorba Linda | 714-779-3764 | www.freckledfroglearningcenter.com.


music school

BEST MUSIC SCHOOL: OCSHA

“The students of the Orange County School of the Arts continue to amaze me with their inspiring creativity and unwavering dedication to not only the arts, but their academic pursuits as well. OCSA is proud to offer a creative, challenging and nurturing environment that offers bright and talented students unparalleled preparation for higher education and a profession in the arts.” -Ralph S. Opacic, Ed.D. OCSA Founder and Executive Director, OSHA


BEST THEATER SCHOOL: ACTING ACADEMY FOR KIDS

“I think AA4K is the best acting program, the Acting Academy for Kids is committed to the best of both worlds. The kids have a great time interacting together and of course, being on stage. But do not let the big smiles and loud laughs fool you. Every day they develop their skills and acting style. There is a reason that not only do kids keep coming back, but the audiences do too.” -Rebecca Krol, San Juan Capistrano

Camino Real Playhouse | 31776 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano | 92675 714-747-4915 | www.actingacademyforkids.com


BEST MARTIAL ARTS CLASS: ATA IRVINE BLACK BELT ACADEMY

“My son, Benjamin has been attending J.P. Do's Taekwondo studio for two years now and we absolutely love it. The staff becomes like family and I wish there was a school like this when I took up martial arts when I was a child. It's a family oriented school using techniques that are fun so that young kids pick it up quickly and enjoy coming to class. You can tell how good the school is because there isn't much turnover in staff or students. Benjamin has learned a lot and made many friends during his time here and he looks forward to becoming a leader so that he can help teach the new class of kids that join.” -Chris Nishi, Irvine

15435 Jeffrey Road, Irvine | 949-552-3602 | www.ATAIrvine.com.


swim

BEST SWIM CLASS: WATERWORKS

“Waterworks has been great for both my kids. They have learned to swim in a non threatening environment and now love the water! It’s also a great place for birthday parties!” -Vicky Kranser, Newport Beach

Locations in Newport Beach and Huntington Beach | www.waterworksswim.com


gymnastics

BEST GYMNASTICS CLASS: TIE! AZARIAN AND WILDFIRE

It’s a tie for best gymnastics program! From Preschool all the way to Junior Olympic Competitive Gymnastics, Azarian strives to see that every child who participates receives the same quality instruction regardless of their ability and are made to feel as special as they truly are. With several locations throughout Orange County, you are sure to find one close to you! Tustin based Wildfire offers classes ranging from beginner to elite levels and a state-of-the-art, air-conditioned training facility, and a dedicated, experienced staff.

Azarian Gymnastics Training Center| 1 Argonaut, Aliso Viejo | 949-455-1020 | www.azariangymnastics.com
Wildfire Gymnastics 14761 Bentley Circle, Tustin | 714-832-1315 | www.wildfiregymnastics.com


sports

BEST SPORTS PROGRAM: AYSO

And the best sports program goes to....AYSO! What makes AYSO unique is that parents are asked to pledge to be cheerleaders and not critics for their kids and asked to help keep a fun, encouraging and positive environment when watching games. Sounds good to us!

Locations throughout OC | 800-USA-AYSO | www.ayso.org.


horseback riding

BEST HORSEBACK RIDING: IRVINE REGIONAL PARK

"We love coming here with our boys because it allows for them to be in an environment that they are not able to be in on a daily basis. It is place for them to be "BOYS" or "CowBOYS" as they say as well as develop their appreciation of Nature." -Gina Rimshaw, Yorba Linda

1 Irvine Park Road, Orange | 714-973-6835 | www.ocparks.com


playground

BEST PLAYGROUND: TIE! HERITAGE PARK AND IRVINE PARK

A tie again! The best park award goes to both Heritage Park in Irvine and Irvine park in Orange! Both parks offer so many activities to choose from, and you’ll find yourself spending an entire day with your family, then going back again and again to experience all they have to offer. You’d be hard pressed to find a family who doesn’t love these parks!

1 Irvine Park Road, Orange | 714-973-6835 | ocparks.com
14301 Yale Ave, Irvine | 949-724-6750 | www.cityofirvine.org


skate park

BEST SKATE PARK: VANS SKATE PARK

For the fourth year in a row, Vans has been voted favorite Skate Park by our readers. With a wide assortment of ramps, pipes, stairs and many other trick and stunt oriented architecture, Vans Skate Park is where recreational skaters and bikers alike can enjoy challenging courses and develop riding technique. Not to mention it is incredibly fun to watch these kids get rad!

20 City Blvd. W #A2. Orange | 714-769-3800 | www.skate.vans.com


BEST ROLLER RINK: HOLIDAY SKATE CENTER

Remember the good ol’ days of roller skating in your youth? How about having the same nostalgic experience with a modern twist with your own family! Holiday Roller Rink is the winner this year for best roller rink in OC. All ages skating, birthday or private parties and even fundraiser options are all available here. Roll on down and check it out!

175 N Wayfield St Orange | 714-997-5283 | www.holidayskate.com


indoor play

BEST INDOOR PLAY PLACE: PRETEND CITY

Raining or too cold to go outside? Don’t worry-OC has the perfect spot for your child to foster curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. Oh yeah, and they will have a blast! Once again, our readers have chosen Pretend City as Orange County parents’ go to place during a wet, rainy day. Did I mention that they will have a blast?!

"Pretend City is an amazing hands-on children's museum where my boys can explore and express their imagination." -Cynthia Arvesen, Huntington Beach

29 Hubble. Irvine | 949-428-3900 | www.pretendcity.org


merry-go-round

BEST MERRY-GO-ROUND: IRVINE SPECTRUM

“We absolutely love going to the Irvine Spectrum Merry-Go-Round! My kids love the bright lights and the animals. It’s beautiful!” -Sarah Rapoport, Huntington Beach

In case you were wondering: There are three rows of animals, with the outer row featuring armored horses, in keeping with the Spanish-themed architecture of Irvine Spectrum Center. The unique menagerie includes a rabbit, deer, bears, tigers, and a cat with a fish in its mouth.


story telling

BEST STORY TELLING: HUNTINGTON BEACH CENTRAL LIBRARY

Storytime at Huntington Beach Central Library is more like seeing live theater that listening to a story. The charismatic storyteller, in an actual amphitheater, engages the children in songs and games all while reading a story. When storytime is over, go out to the children’s book section-you won’t believe how many things there are to keep your little one busy! It’s no wonder HB Central library is this year’s readers choice for best storytelling place!

Fun Fact :This summer, the HB Central Library had 3,661 children sign up for Summer Reading, and they read 271,730 books!

7111 Talbert Ave, Huntington Beach | 714-375-5107 | www.huntingtonbeachca.gov


live theater

BEST CHILDRENS’ LIVE THEATER: ACTING ACADEMY FOR KIDS

What is unique about the Acting Academy for kids is that they are held in actual playhouses. This is why readers have chosen Acting Academy once again for Best Live Theater. Seeing your children perform live on a real stage is an authentic experience you and your family will cherish forever.

Camino Real Playhouse | 31776 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano | 714-747-4915 | www.actingacademyforkids.com


BEST HAIRCUT: COOL CUTS 4 KIDS

"We love Cool Cuts for Kids! They know how to cut my wild boys' hair to keep them looking super cool. And who doesn't love a few lollipops at the end?" -Candace Rock, Huntington Beach

Locations throughout OC | www.coolcuts4kids.com


BEST INDEPENDENT TOY STORE: TOY TOWN

“Toy Town is simply terrific! I love that you can call ahead and ask for what you want and when you get there, it will be wrapped and ready to go. They offer a personal service second to none. More importantly, Toy Town is part of our community and is always an active participant and an important contributor to our local schools and other local charities.” -Suzanne Picariello, Ladera Ranch

25632 Crown Valley Parkway, Ladera Ranch | 949-364-8697


Other Readers' Choice Sections

Introduction  Family Fun • Food Health Care
Mom & Dad House & HomeEducation

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