PLAYguide: Family Favorites

2016 Family Favorite Winners: Medical

Top-notch health care for you and your little ones.

Top-notch health care for you and your little ones.

Pediatric Orthodontics

ORLANDO PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY AND ORTHODONTISTS
907 Outer Rd., Suite A, Orlando
407-898-5437
4769 The Grove Dr., Suite 118, Windermere
407-898-5437
orlandopediatricdentistry.com
Parents love the fact that their kids can stay with the same office from their very first dentist appointment to their first lost tooth to their first lost retainer (it’s bound to happen!). From infants to adolescents, Orlando Pediatric Dentistry provides care every step of the way. The team here offers braces for children, teens and adults.

Pediatric Dentist

DR. TROY KING, DENTISTRY FOR CHILDREN
1390 City View Center, Oviedo
407-977-9990
pediatricdentistorlando.com
With 16 children of his own, Dr. King knows how to keep your child calm and comforted during routine cleanings and other procedures. He is committed to teaching your child excellent dental hygiene habits and maintaining genuine relationships with his patients and parents. The super friendly hygienists introduce new patients to dental tools in a fun, childlike way. The nautical office theme boasts a ship that kids can watch cartoons inside and a video game room.

Family Therapy

HOPE COUNSELING CLINIC
410 N. Dillard St., Ste. #103, Winter Garden
407-654-5700
hopecounsel.com
Hope Counseling Clinic offers Biblical counseling to apply God’s truth and help fi nd the power of His healing. By using several therapeutic techniques, Hope Counseling Clinic can help with cognitive behavioral therapy, solution-focused brief therapy, relational therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy and family systems therapy. Services include individual counseling, marriage and couple’s counseling, children and family counseling, group counseling and adoption counseling.

Pediatric Orthopedic

JEWETT ORTHOPAEDIC CLINIC
1401 Minnesota Ave., Winter Park
701 Platinum Pt., Lake Mary
jewettortho.com
Jewett Orthopaedic Clinic is known for working with athletes on all levels, even professionally ranked athletes, so it’s comforting to know they are available for your child. With two walk-in clinics in Winter Park and Lake Mary and a team of extraordinary doctors and surgeons, your child will be back on the fi eld or you’ll be back to work in no time.

Pediatric Dermatologist

DR. TACE RICO, MD FLORIDA CENTER FOR PEDIATRIC DERMATOLOGY
615 E. Princeton St., #416, Orlando
407-303-1687
flpediatricdermatology.com
Dr. Rico is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in laser surgery, birthmarks, contact dermatitis, genodermatoses and hemangiomas. Also, she understands the frustration that comes with having teen dermatology issues and works with the patient to solve these issues.

Pediatrician

INTERLACHEN PEDIATRICS
846 Lake Howell Rd., Maitland
1000 W Broadway St., Oviedo
407-767-2477
intpeds.com
With two locations and a group of nine highly trained and compassionate doctors and nurses, Interlachen Pediatrics focuses on care that includes excellence, integrity and teamwork. The practice offers early-morning walk-in hours, flu shots and well-child care.

Integrative Pediatrics

THE FRANZ CENTER
3160 Southgate Commerce Blvd., Ste. 64, Orlando
407-857-7099
thefranzcenter.com
With a mission to “empower the lives of those we touch with education of mind, body and spirit,” The Franz Center offers a holistic mind/body approach to your child’s health care.

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2016 Family Favorite Winners: Shop/Pamper

Pigtails and Crewcuts

Pigtails and Crewcuts

Kids Salon

PIGTAILS AND CREWCUTS
pigtailsandcrewcuts.com
This kid-centric salon with locations in Winter Springs and Dr. Phillips makes fretting over a haircut a thing of the past! Kids will laugh and smile as they sit in airplane and racecar salon chairs while getting their newest hair-do. Host your child’s next birthday party here for a super-fun experience! With exceptional service and unique hair services, your child will feel like a superstar.

Mom’s Boutique

SOPHIE & TREY
136 N. 4th St., #1290, Lake Mary
844-232-7364
sophieandtrey.com
This on-trend boutique is perfect for young moms who love affordable style. With three different stores, Sophie & Trey, 4th & Ocean and Tria, all owned by a local mom and located next to each other in the same plaza, you are sure to find the outfit of your dreams.

Kids Boutique

TUGBOAT AND THE BIRD
318 N. Park Ave., Winter Park
407-647-5437
tugboatandthebird.com
This locally owned boutique offers hard-to-find brand name clothing for children. Find unique toys, gifts and locally made accessories and décor for children’s rooms. Amazing customer service keeps this boutique a favorite among local families.

Resale/Consignment Shop

ONCE UPON A CHILD
onceuponachild.com
Looking for a little extra cash? Stop by Once Upon A Child, a children’s resale shop. You can sell your gently used items or to shop for new ones. Once Upon A Child has four locations in Central Florida.

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2016 Family Favorite Winners: Maternity

Full Circle Yoga

Full Circle Yoga

Prenatal Yoga

FULL CIRCLE YOGA
972 N. Orange Ave. B, Winter Park
407-644-3288
fullcircleyoga.com
These specialized prenatal yoga classes focuses on breath awareness, flexibility and strength to increase comfort during pregnancy. Yoga prepares your body for the birthing experience. This class is open to all expectant mothers, no matter how far along in their pregnancy. Once your special one leaves the womb and enters the world, bring him or her to Mom & Baby yoga classes at Full Circle. No prior yoga experience is required.

Baby Concierge/Planner

CONSIDER ANY THING DONE, LLC
consideranythingdone.com
352-895-7535
Bringing a new baby home can be overwhelming. Call on Alisha Champ to help with setting sleep and feeding schedules, calming fussy babies as well as assistance with potty training and more.

Birth Hospital

WINNIE PALMER HOSPITAL
83 W. Miller St., Orlando
321-843-2584
winniepalmerhospital.com
Winnie Palmer Hospital helps more than 14,000 babies enter the world each year. This prestigious hospital is known for the world-class experience of its doctors and nurses — just what a mama-to-be needs to put her mind at ease. Winnie Palmer is home to one of the nation’s largest and most successful neonatal intensive care units. The hospital staff will also assist mothers with developing a birth plan, including exploring resources and options available at the facility for before, during and after delivery.

Postpartum Doula

DOULAS OF ORLANDO
doulasoforlando.com/services-2
321-804-2969
The goal of Doulas of Orlando is for their clients to feel heard, supported and like a part of the decision-making process when it comes to the birth and postpartum experience. The expert team strives to provide each family with professional and customized emotional, physical and educational support throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum.

Midwife

MAGGIE MCCARTHY, LM, BIRTH IN AWARENESS
407-234-7482
birthinawarenessfl.com
In 1998, Maggie began her journey as a certified doula and is now a licensed midwife. She’s worked as a birthing doula, childbirth educator, hypnobirthing instructor and prenatal massage therapist, offering patients a plethora of experience. As a midwife, Maggie serves pregnant women and their families in the greater Central Florida area, offering services such as home birthing, full prenatal care, lab work, childbirth education and more.

Birthing Center

THE BIRTH PLACE CENTER
213 S. Dillard St., #340, Winter Garden
407-656-6938
commonsensechildbirth.org
The Birth Place Center allows you to have your baby your way. With a midwifery team ready to assist you, the team offers comprehensive prenatal care and delivery at a natural birth and water birth center, delivery at the hospital, childbirth consultant concierge services, postpartum office visits, six-week postpartum exams and in-house lactation consultations.

Obstetrics and Gynecology

ELLEN EYE, MD | PREMIER OB-GYN
531 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland
321-221-4926
premierob-gyn.com
Ellen Eye is a well-practiced obstetrician and gynecologist at Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology located in Maitland. Dr. Eye has a passion for helping women of all ages. From puberty to menopause, Dr. Eye will be there every step of the way, backed by her years of experience and studies.

Maternity Massage

THE SALT ROOM
1804 N. Mills Ave., Orlando
407-965-3065
saltroomorlando.com
The Salt Room offers prenatal massages to pamper expectant mothers. The prenatal massage reduces muscle pain and swelling, increases circulation and induces relaxation. The session also includes salt therapy, which offers an organic immune boost for both you and your baby.

Baby Prep Class

WINNIE PALMER MOTHER/BABY T.E.A.
83 W. Miller St., Orlando
321-843-2584
winniepalmerhospital.com
Winnie Palmer provides a variety of childbirth classes to prepare you for all stages of your pregnancy. The Preparation for Birth class provides the mother and father with lessons on the Lamaze technique. Certified and knowledgeable instructors share information about the labor and birth process and other topics, such as labor options, pain relief, Cesarean birth and postpartum recovery. Other classes include Baby Inside You, Prenatal Breastfeeding, Prenatal Yoga and Preparing for a Healthy Baby.

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2016 Family Favorite Winners: Kiddie Culture

Orlando Repertory Theatre Youth Academy

Orlando Repertory Theatre Youth Academy

Performing Arts Program

ORLANDO REPERTORY THEATRE YOUTH ACADEMY
1001 E. Princeton St., Orlando
407-896-7365
orlandorep.com
The REP receives a resounding applause for its brilliant and engaging productions for young audiences. The REP also offers sensory-friendly performances for some productions, designed for children with sensitivities to bright lights, loud noises and intense action. The REP Youth Academy offers an array of classes, camps, workshops and performance opportunities for kids, even casting its students in full-scale productions.

Museum

ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER
777 E. Princeton St., Orlando
407-514-2000
osc.org
No shocker here. The Orlando Science Center is the local fave escape when it’s raining, when it’s too hot or when you just can’t think of anything to do. Everyone always has a great time seeing, touching and playing at Orlando’s favorite museum.

Big Kids Music Class

SCHOOL OF ROCK
5420 Deep Lake Rd., Ste. 1024, Oviedo
407-706-3900
oviedo.schoolofrock.com
With a rockin’ collection of instructors, instruments and proven music programs, your young rocker will learn the skills needed to reach rock star status.

Baby and Toddler Music Class

KINDERMUSIK BY GROW AND SING STUDIOS
407-970-2774
growandsing.com
Grow and Sing Studios is staffed by music professionals who offer several Kindermusik classes for you and your child to experience together in an enriched musical program. In addition to Kindermusik classes, Grow and Sing Studios also offers private lessons, group guitar classes and private parties. Your first class is free!

Kids Art Class

CREALDÉ SCHOOL OF ART
310 N. Dillard St., Winter Garden
407-671-1886
crealde.org
Crealdé offers the creative and inspiring art classes for families in the Central Florida area. With photography, painting, sculpture and ceramics, Crealdé guides children and adults who aspire to artistic excellence. Classes in Winter Garden and Winter Park.

Historical Site

FORT CHRISTMAS
1300 N. Fort Christmas Rd., Christmas
407-254-9310
orangecountyfl.net
There’s something about historical forts that gets kids (and parents) excited. The park includes a replica of a fort built in 1837 during the Second Seminole Indian War, a traditional Florida Cracker house and eight pioneer homes, a schoolhouse and lunchroom, a sugar cane mill and other historical farming equipment.

Free family-friendly events: Fun on the Farm every Wednesday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.Cracker Christmas on December 3 & 4, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.Bluegrass Festival on March 18 & 19, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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2016 Family Favorite Winners: Eats

Here's the dish on local parents/ favorite places to celebrate food with their children.

Here’s the dish on local parents/ favorite places to celebrate food with their children.

Family Style Restaurant

TIJUANA FLATS
tijuanaflats.com
Tijuana Flats has quickly become a family favorite among Central Florida families, and for good reason! The restaurant was founded by a University of Central Florida grad. Tijuana Flats offers fast service and quality Mexican food in an eclectic environment. With tons of hot sauce options, graffiti on the walls and colorful strung lights, your kids will be too distracted to cause any fuss.

Kids Cooking Class

PUBLIX APRONS ORLANDO COOKING SCHOOL
7524 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando
407-226-9796
publix.com/aprons
Located conveniently inside Publix Supermarket, this cooking school invites people of all ages to cut up in the kitchen and learn the basics of how to put a meal together. Classes are designed to entertain, amuse and inspire young learners while teaching cooking techniques and covering trendy topics.

Farmers Market

WINTER PARK FARMERS MARKET
200 W. New England Ave., Winter Park
407-599-3397
cityofwinterpark.org
The Winter Park Farmers Market occurs every Saturday on Park Ave. It features local artisans, food companies, sweets, agriculture and more. Walk around the family-friendly atmosphere, and try out some new snacks while scoping out unique local vendors. Pets are welcome; there are even pet-centric vendors who offer yummy homemade treats for your furry family member.

Sweet Treat

JEREMIAH’S ITALIAN ICE
Jeremiahsice.com
Jeremiah’s serves up a vast array of deliciously unique Italian ice, gelati and soft-serve ice cream fl avors. Jeremiah’s has 10 locations in the Orlando area. This super cool treat spot swears by its company motto: Live life to the coolest!

Froyo Spot

MENCHIE’S
menchies.com
With seven convenient locations across Central Florida, it’s no wonder we all crave Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt on the regular. Menchie’s serves its own custom blend of unique and delish flavors. Kids love to load up on the toppings, which include everything from chocolate chips to granola. Menchie’s cows are not treated with artificial growth hormones. Plus, Menchie’s offers gluten-free, vegan and high-fructose corn-syrup-free options daily.

Kid-Friendly Upscale Restaurant

HOLLERBACH’S WILLOW TREE CAFÉ
205 E. 1st St., Sanford
407-321-2204
hollerbachs.com
If you’re looking for authentic German food and music, this is the place. Located in downtown Sanford, this mom-and-pop restaurant is great for a group. Parents enjoy the German beer and Wiener Schnitzel, and kids love Polka dancing to the German folk songs performed live (select evenings). Oh, and did we mention each child’s dish comes with gummy worms? Prost!

Kids Play Area at a Restaurant

CHIK-FIL-A
chick-fil-a.com
Fried chicken and a rockin’ play area? Sign us up! Every Chick-Fil-A has a kids’ play gym blocked by glass walls so you can watch your child play as you eat your chicken in peace—every parents’ dream, right? Chick-Fil-A always keeps the play gym clean and offers a sanitary wipe station outside the play area doors so kids can wash their hands before and after playing.

Kids Eat Free Spot

STEAK ‘N SHAKE
steaknshake.com
Every weekend, kids eat free at Steak ‘n Shake! What kid doesn’t love a cheeseburger or a basket of chicken tenders? This family-friendly restaurant offers one free kids meal for every $8 spent by an adult on Saturdays and Sundays. Dine-in only; this offer does not stand for drive-through or take-out orders.

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2016 Family Favorite Winners: Outdoor

Wekiwa State Park

Wekiwa State Park

Swimming Hole and Canoe/Kayaking Spot

WEKIWA SPRINGS STATE PARK
1800 Wekiwa Cir., Apopka
407-884-2009
floridastateparks.org
Wekiwa’s crystal-clear waters are begging for you to jump in! Maintaining a chilling 72 degrees year-round, the springs are the perfect place to cool off on hot summer days. Swimming is open from 8 a.m. until the park closes, and there is now a hydraulically powered swim lift available for swimmers who need assistance getting in and out of the water. Flotation devices are welcome. Bring your snorkeling gear and see the wildlife come to life.

Camping Site

FORT WILDERNESS AT WALT DISNEY
4510 North Fort Wilderness Trl., Lake Buena Vista
407-824-2900
disneyworld.disney.go.com
This campground is fully equipped with four types of campsites, unique recreation opportunities and direct transportation to the parks and pools. Campsites are available for families with tents, campers and even 45-foot RVs, allowing for 10 guests per site. Each campsite has privacy-enhancing landscaping, water, cable and electrical hook-ups for a true glamping experience. Public bathrooms, including showers and bathing areas, are located throughout the campgrounds. Pets are welcome!

Hiking Spot for Kids

DISNEY WILDERNESS PRESERVE
2700 Scrub Jay Trl., Poinciana
407-935-0002
floridahikes.com/disneywilderness
You may not spot Mickey Mouse among the 12,000-acre conservation area, but you will be able to feast your eyes on the natural beauty that rests right here in Central Florida. This trail offers a 2.5-mile hike with beautiful Lake Russell sitting pretty for your enjoyment. Resting benches and picnic tables are available on the trail for you, so take a rest and enjoy the pine trees and tall grasses surrounding you.

Boating Spot

WINTER PARK CHAIN OF LAKES
407-599-3399
cityofwinterpark.org
The Winter Park Chain of Lakes offers residents and visitors an easy way to spend their afternoons and weekends fishing, tubing, paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, skiing, going on leisurely boat rides and more. Boat ramps are available for public use, and some lakes in quieter locations are designated “No Motor Boat Lakes.”

Bike Trail

SEMINOLE WEKIVA TRAIL
100 E. 1st St., Sanford
407-665-2001
seminolecountyfl.gov
This trail, built on the original Orange Belt Railway, offers 14 miles of biking, running, walking and rollerblading. Picnic tables, restrooms, water fountains and sports fields are scattered along the trail. You can enter the trail at multiple trailheads. Visit Seminole County’s website to plan your adventure.

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2016 Family Favorite Winners: Play

Orlando Science Center

Orlando Science Center

Entertainment Center

ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER
777 E. Princeton St., Orlando
407-514-2000
osc.org
Entertaining and educational … That was the winning combination for families to vote the Orlando Science Center as their fave place to play. The newly renovated KidsTown is even bigger and better than before, putting this science mecca at the top of our list of the best places to play. You could go 100 times and still learn something new during each visit, making annual family memberships one of the best values around.

Bowling Alley

SPLITSVILLE
1494 East Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista
407-938-PINS
splitsvillelanes.com
Does bowling strike your fancy? At Splitsville, it sure will! Located right in Disney Springs, you can enjoy an afternoon of touristy sightseeing, shopping, eating and bowling. This Disney-themed bowling alley has live entertainment and a food and beverage menu that surpasses any bowling alley food you’ve ever had.

Petting Zoo

GREEN MEADOWS FARM
1368 S. Poinciana Blvd., Kissimmee4
07-846-0770
greenmeadowsfarm.com
Channel your inner farmer at Green Meadows Farm, which is home to an array of farm animals for you and your little one to meet up close. Green Meadows Farm offers small rides and attractions, special events, festivals and holiday-themed attractions. Ride the train, sit on the antique tractor, ride a pony or even milk a cow!

Splash Pad and Park Playground

FT. MELLON SPLASH PAD
600 E. 1st St., Sanford
407-688-5103
sanfordfl.gov
Fort Mellon Park is a playground with a view. Overlooking Lake Monroe, families enjoy basketball and tennis courts, grilling out and modern playground equipment. Feeling hot from running around? Let your little ones cool off in the splash pad.

Skating Center

SEMORAN SKATEWAY
2670 Cassel Creek Blvd., Casselberry
407-834-9106
semoranskateway.com
Roll on over to this groovy roller-skating rink for public skate sessions, public learn-to-skate classes, beginners learn-to-skate classes, birthday parties and even adult skate night! Admission is just $9 for public skate sessions, which occur every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Adrenaline Rush for Kids

ZOOMAIR ADVENTURE COURSE AT CENTRAL FLORIDA ZOO
3755 NW Hwy. 17-92, Sanford
407-330-0767
zoomair.us/orlando/index.html
Climb along this eco-adventure ropes course in the treetops above the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens. There are two courses for kids over 54 inches tall, and there’s also a special kid’s course built closer to the ground for the little ones. ZOOmAir is perfect for family bonding, light exercise, team building and a fun day outdoors.

Family Resort

GAYLORD PALMS RESORT
6000 W. Osceola Pkwy., Kissimmee
407-586-0000
marriott.com
This is the local family-fave place to staycation and feel like VIP celebrities! The Gaylord Palms Resort celebrates Florida’s history, culture and natural beauty and includes a larger-than-life pool and water park for kids, an arcade, luxury spa and more.

Free Storytime

BARNES & NOBLE MUSICAL STORYTIME WITH MR. RICHARD
2418 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando
407-894-6024
Mrrichard.net
Let your little ones grow their imaginations at Mr. Richard’s Musical Sing-Along Storytime at the Colonial Towne Center Barnes & Noble. Listen to Mr. Richard read and sing-along to a children’s classic. Clap your hands and stomp your feet; you won’t want to miss these beats! These storytimes are offered on select Fridays at 10 a.m.

Indoor Play Lounge

AMAYA PAPAYA
3385 U.S. Hwy. 17-92, Ste. 269, Casselberry
407-339-7529
amayapapaya.com
Amaya Papaya is Central Florida’s original indoor open play center (for children) and lounge (for parents). Amaya Papaya is a hub for parents with young kids to come together and enjoy the humor of parenthood while their children play and learn together during hands-on activities and special events.

Botanical Gardens

HARRY P. LEU GARDENS
1920 North Forest Ave., Orlando
407-246-2620
leugardens.org
Families love to escape to this enchanting oasis hidden minutes away from Downtown Orlando. This historic place brings natural beauty to life to inspire visitors to appreciate and understand our botanical world. The gardens also offers monthly movie nights on the lawn and a free monthly story time for kids presented by the Orlando Public Library.

Mall Playground

ALTAMONTE MALL
451 E. Altamonte Dr., Altamonte Springs
407-830-4422
altamontemall.com
Kids (and parents) love the Altamonte Mall play area. Equipped with a treehouse jungle gym, your child is transported from dreary shopping trip with mom to a land of play and imagination. Your child can climb on top of platforms and through logs and tree trunks. Altamonte Mall ensures that this play area is clean and hygienic for your little climbers.

Indoor Bounce

MONKEY JOE’S
9101 International Dr., Orlando
407-352-84845
471 Lake Howell Rd.
407-478-4000
monkeyjoes.com/locations/pointe-orlando
Bouncing, sliding and climbing, oh my! Monkey Joe’s is the center for all things fun. This infl atable play center offers more than just blow-ups and bounce houses. It also offers arcade games, prizes and concessions. The playground is designed for kids ages 12 and under and includes a Mini Monkey Zone for toddlers under 3 to play safely. Host your birthday party here, or just come for a day of fun.

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2016 Family Favorite Winners: Party

Consider Any Thing Done, LLC

Consider Any Thing Done, LLC

Birthday Party Planner

CONSIDER ANY THING DONE, LLC
consideranythingdone.com
352-895-7535
Need some help? Consider Any Thing Done — literally! From help with the theme and decorating to ordering and picking up the cake, Consider Any Thing Done has got you covered. Each service is tailored to personally work for your family to provide peace-of-mind and happiness.

Mobile Birthday Party

THE MERMAID ACADEMY
844-308-5056
themermaidacademy.com
The Mermaid Academy makes a sailor’s myth come to life with three different party packages. Each party package includes instructor-led mermaid fun. Each guest will receive a swimmable mermaid tail. The Mermaid Academy comes to your backyard pool, the neighborhood country club or a secret swimming spot.

Birthday Party Venue

ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER
777 E. Princeton St., Orlando
407-514-2000
osc.org/education/birthday-parties
Play and celebrate at the Orlando Science Center! Super Science Parties include the birthday child’s choice of a themed-party experience, all-day admission for 20 guests, reserved tickets for one giant-screen film in the Dr. Phillips CineDome or the Digital Adventure Theater, educational and fun activities for the kids, a personal party host, a private party room for activities, a personalized birthday cake from Publix and more! Why spend time planning a birthday party and buying all the materials when the Orlando Science Center can do it all for you?

Character Rentals

ONCE UPON A PARTY
407-476-7007
facebook.com/orlandoprincessparty
Once Upon a Party brings the magic to you with realistic character and princess parties. Employees have backgrounds in theater and performing arts as well as childcare. These professional entertainers will make your child’s dream party a reality.

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2016 Family Favorite Winners: Education

One School of the Arts, Longwood

One School of the Arts, Longwood

Religious Preschool and Religious Elementary School:

ONE SCHOOL OF THE ARTS
1675 Dixon Rd., Longwood
407-774-0168
oneschool.net
One School of the Arts (OSOTA) builds a foundation for your child—academically and spiritually—by focusing on fundamental core subjects while integrating Christian values into classroom culture. OSOTA encourages innovation, creativity and collaboration among students.

Non-Religious Preschool

ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER
777 E. Princeton St., Orlando
407-514-2000
osc.org
Did you know that the Orlando Science Center offers an in-house preschool program? Offered Monday through Friday, your preschooler will enjoy hands-on activities and skill-building centers while building their brainpower with the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum.

Private Non-Religious Elementary School

STARCHILD ACADEMY
Several locations in Central Florida
starchildacademy.com
Looking for an accelerated style of education for your elementary student? StarChild Academy excels in this style of learning with an advanced core curriculum and emphasis on subjects such as science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The specialized technology program immerses students in topics such as robotics, 3D design and printing, computer animation, game design, programming and website development. StarChild Academy has seven locations in Central Florida.

Part-Time Home School

CENTRAL FLORIDA HOMESCHOOL ACADEMY
1045 Azalea Ln., Winter Park
321-972-5601
cfhacademy.com
With two-day and four-day programs in Winter Park and a three-day program in Winter Garden, Central Florida Homeschool Academy makes it easy to find the perfect schedule for your child. The CORE program guides students in an academically rigorous curriculum that includes math, language arts, science, ancient history and Latin. The ENRICH program offers engaging opportunities to study Spanish, American Sign Language, art history, music theory, LEGO robotics and more. Your child’s experience is customizable and personalized for his or her needs.

Public Elementary School

GALILEO SCHOOL FOR GIFTED LEARNING
3900 E. State Rd. 46, Sanford
321-249-9221
galileogiftedschool.org
Galileo School for Gifted Learning is a tuition-free, public charter school for grades K-8 located in Seminole County. At Galileo, students set their own learning pace. When achievement increases, the curriculum advances so that students continue to move forward. Students are fully immersed in a full-time gifted education program. Galileo partners with UCF to provide professional training and development for teachers. Open houses will be held at 3 p.m. on November 16, 2016, December 14, 2016 and January 11, 2017

Progressive Non-Traditional School

WALDEN COMMUNITY SCHOOL
4595 Howell Branch Rd., Winter Park
407-677-8225
waldencommunityschool.com
This small, progressive private school is a hidden gem tucked away in Winter Park next to an equestrian center. With no grades, plenty of outdoor time and hands-on learning experiences, kids will look forward to going to school. The student to teacher ratio is capped at 10 to 1, ensuring your student receives plenty of attention and assistance. Walden provides a challenging curriculum in a relaxed and friendly environment.

Homeschool Classes

ZOOVENTURE AT THE CENTRAL FLORIDA ZOO
3755 NW Hwy. 17-92, Sanford
407-323-4450
centralfloridazoo.org
ZOOventure is the definition of unconventional. Let your child learn and thrive in the living classroom with interactive programs, personal attention, up-close wildlife encounters and more. ZOOventure classes are offered for students ages 6-8 and 9-12. The Central Florida Zoo also offers homeschool day camps and homeschool family workshops. Your child will roar with confidence after attending ZOOventure.

Summer Camp

HEATHROW GOLF & SPORTS CAMP
Heathrow Racquet Club
150 Tournament Dr., Heathrow
407-333-1475
heathrowcc.com
No need to be a member of the Heathrow Country Club to attend these fun weeklong camps. With a half-day camp for tots and a full-day camp for older kids, campers get unparalleled tennis and golf instruction balanced with fun water games, swimming at the Heathrow pool and more. Camps run weekly from June to August.

Dance Studio

ORLANDO BALLET SCHOOL
Several locations around Central Florida
orlandoballet.org
As one of the finest training academies in the world, Orlando Ballet School has earned countless awards and titles that uphold its prestigious name. This American Ballet Theatre–certifi ed school features a breakthrough eight-level program that combines the basics of dancer health and child development. Training is age-appropriate and consists of outcome-based guidelines to provide the highest quality ballet training to students of all ages. Three campuses are located throughout Central Florida

Gymnastics Studio

It was a TIE!

GYMNASTICS USA
Longwood & Winter Garden
gymnasticsusa.us
Gymnastics USA, formerly Ace Gymnastics, aims to make gymnastics accessible for anyone interested in the sport. The You and Me program lets kids up to 2 years old start learning coordination and motor skills; the Ribbon Club is for preschoolers who want to get a start in gymnastics; and the Red White and Blue program offers gymnastics lessons to ages 5-12. There is also a special program just for homeschool kids! With classes, camps, after-school programs and even Birthday parties, there are plenty of opportunities to try out one of the two convenient locations.

MY GYM
Orlando, Maitland, & Lake Mary
mygym.com
My Gym is a place where fun meets fitness for kids! Little gymnasts of any skill level can find a class or camp that fits them, from the Waddlers class for babies & toddlers to Zumba Kids for ages 6-12. Kids who want to get more serious about dance can even try a ballet class! Parents love taking advantage of the Parents’ Night Out events, which give kids four hours of action-packed fun at the gym so mom and dad can enjoy a quiet date. My Gym also offers several great Birthday party packages.

After-School Program

METRO GYMNASTICS
Several locations around Central Florida
orlandometrogymnastics.com
Metro Gymnastics, with several facilities in Central Florida, offers gymnastics and swim classes for all ages as well as birthday parties, special events, day camps and more. They even have an award-winning team of gymnasts. After-school programs include trampoline time, rock-wall activities and—everyone’s favorite—time in the foam pit!

Karate Dojo

CHAMPIONSHIP MARTIAL ARTS
championshipmartialarts.com
Championship Martial Arts offers a Lil’ Dragons Program for kids ages 3-6, a children’s program for kids ages 6-12 and even a Kinder Kicks program for toddlers. Regardless of the program, the mission remains the same: To encourage and motivate students and provide the skills needed to help them succeed in life, such as confidence, discipline, self-esteem, focus and physical well-being.

Tutor Center

MATHNASIUM
3030 E. Semoran Blvd., Apopka
407-682-6284
mathnasium.com
All 700+ Mathnasium centers offer customized learning plans for students based on their assessment. This program offers unlimited and unscheduled attendance for a fl at-rate, monthly membership. As the official “M” in STEM, students can follow programs while being assisted by professional math tutors who provide insight and encouragement.

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2016 Family Favorite Awards: Check out the Winners!

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-3-27-20-pmThanks to everyone who voted for our Family Favorites 2016. We are so excited to reveal the winners! So without further ado … here they are! Your favorite places and spaces in these categories:

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Registration Open for Spring Classes at DPC School of the Arts

dpc-florida-hospital-school-of-the-arts

Registration is now open for 2017 Spring Semester classes at the Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts. Classes begin Monday, January 16.

Students of any age can take part in classes for dance, vocals, instruments, acting, and musical theater. Check out all of the available classes below:

Dance & Movement

Jazz I (Ages 8-12, 13+)
“Fun” and “high energy” characterize the Jazz I dance class. Students practice isolations, leaps, learn jazz techniques and vocabulary. Students gain the competencies to complete jazz-centric dance combinations and execute complete jazz dance routines.

Jazz II (Ages 13+)
The Jazz II dance course builds on fundamentals of the style. Students focus on honing their technique and learning new and more challenging combinations.

Dance Technique I (Ages 6-8)
Dance Technique brings the foundation of all movement to young dancers. Ballet positions and terminology, along with movement, pattern and rhythms, establish the foundations for all dance instruction.

Dance Technique II (Ages 9-12)
Dancers build on the basic teachings from Dance Technique I and learn to expand their structured dance training and vocabulary.

Dance Improvisation (Ages 12+)
This free-thinking and free-flowing dance class encourages students to explore their creativity and individuality through prompts, movement exercises and guided movement. The class focuses on the concept of improvisational dance in solo and group situations. Movers of all levels are welcome in this class as students work collectively to create new and exciting works.

Tap I (Ages 12+)
Tapping is an exciting way to start dance training. This introductory course shapes the students’ rhythm and musicality through learning the steps and basic techniques of tap dancing.

Tap II (Ages 13+)
Tap is an important part of the Broadway and musical theater craft. This intermediate tap course builds on students’ prior knowledge of technique and movements by adding more advanced steps and combinations.

Hip-Hop I (Ages 6-9, 10-13, 14+)
This high energy, fun Hip-Hop class teaches basic steps, while building flexibility, precision, technique and style. Using upbeat music from various genres in addition to the latest Hip-Hop hits, this class begins with a basic warm-up to stretch and tone the body, followed by across-the-floor progressions, concluding with work on a fun and energetic combination.

Creative Movement (Ages 3-5)
Perfect for the young dancer, this class focuses on creative movement that builds on the necessary gross motor skills needed for primary dance instruction. Students learn self-discipline, confidence, coordination and rhythm while moving to upbeat and age appropriate music. Students engage in dramatic music movement and learn introductory dance positions and steps.

Move with Me – Baby Wearing Dance Class (Adults with Babies)
This is a movement class for adults with young ones in wearable carriers. Move with Me provides early exposure to music, movement and dance. Geared towards creating an environment for community interaction, this class devotes equal focus to the parent/caretaker, the child and the bond between them. Appropriate for all carrier-age children, from birth to toddler. Nursing mothers and siblings are welcome.

Music

Vocal Performance I (Ages 8-13 and 14+)
Vocal Performance provides singers with a proper foundation in diction, vocal production and an awareness of their body in both classical and contemporary music. Students also learn how to honestly express themselves through their song, communicate with the musicians, enhance their stage presence and effectively apply their vocal and performance techniques.

Advanced Vocal Performance (Ages 8-13 and 14+)
For the advanced singer, this class focuses on performance and vocal production for performance. Maintaining one’s instrument and creating that pitch-perfect performance every time requires more rigorous training, and this class provides that for the advanced vocalist.

Yamaha Music School

Yamaha Music School Young Musicians I & II (Ages 7-9)
This three-year course provides effective and enjoyable musical training for young students. They develop keyboard-playing skills, ear training, rhythm training, note-reading and writing, keyboard harmony, arranging, ensemble playing and music appreciation. This class is taught by qualified teachers in a group environment and is designed to promote confidence, team spirit and group dynamics.
To enroll, students must be 6 years of age by February 15 and must have access to a keyboard for practicing. Once the course is completed, students can take the Yamaha Student Grade 9 Exam to confirm musical achievement. Teachers refer to the exam results to correctly place students in advanced courses of study.

Yamaha Keyboard Encounters I (Ages 10-13) and Adult I (Ages 15+)
This class is an innovative keyboard music program for those interested in learning to play the piano. These classes are taught in small groups, combining technology with an effective and enjoyable approach. Students study piano technique, read music and learn to play various musical styles.

Yamaha Young Education System Junior Music I (Ages 4-5)
A comprehensive and fun music curriculum designed for 4 and 5 year olds, this class offers ear-training using solfege, basic keyboard playing skills, rhythm and notation, music appreciation, creativity and singing various musical styles. This is a 2-year program capitalizing on the young child’s developmental characteristics to train basic musical skills. Parents/Guardians are required to actively participate in their child’s music lessons, helping to cultivate a life-long love for music. (Advance level courses, II – IV, as well as Junior Music X, are available for students in the junior music program).
To enroll, students must be 4 years of age by February 15 and must have access to a keyboard for practicing. Once the course is completed, students can take the Fundamental Skills Survey to confirm musical achievement. Teachers refer to the survey results to correctly place students in advanced courses of study.

Rock Band (Ages 12+)
Students gain insight into performing together as an ensemble. Students are grouped into a band based on instrument, musical tastes and age. Band members learn the process of rehearsing and performing, band etiquette, stage presence, equipment set-up and more.

Guitar I (Ages 10-13) and Adult Guitar I (Ages 16+)
This class is for the beginner. Learn chords, simple strums, simple finger-picking and tuning in a fun, relaxed group setting. Students are introduced to the basic elements of rhythm and harmony that allow one to make music in no time.

Adult Guitar II (Ages 16+)
Builds on the basics learned in Guitar I. Students develop proper left and right-hand techniques. You will learn more about reading music, musical terms, chording, alternating bass and how to move smoothly from one chord to another. Have fun learning to play duets and other simple melodies and exploring many different genres of music. Students must bring their own acoustic guitar with an extra set of strings.

Strings I (Ages 10+)
This class is open to anyone with an interest in learning string instruments such as cello, viola, violin and bass. Learn basic instrument set-up and position. Playing in a small group teaches how to match pitch, bow articulation, tone and, best of all, how to play together.

Strings III (Ages 13+)
This class is the next step for those interested in the string section. Students play simple songs that use their new skills and are introduced to the music of the great composers. They play games to develop rhythmic skills and a musical ear and also learn the basics of reading music.

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s WeBop (Ages 2-3)
WeBop is an early-childhood jazz education program developed by Jazz at Lincoln Center for children that invites families to stomp, strut and swing to the rhythms of jazz. These 45-minute classes are structured for participation in groups of two: child and adult. They offer a creative outlet for children to explore jazz through movement, songs, storytelling and play, all as they learn about the core concepts, instruments and great performers of jazz.

Theater Arts

Creative Drama (Ages 6-8)
In a nurturing and supportive environment, young participants explore an improvisational form of drama where they are encouraged to imagine, perform and reflect on real or imagined experiences. Through stories, games and movement, young students make the connection between the magical world of theater and make believe. There is an emphasis on personal expression, creative imagination, confidence and socialization.

Creative Drama II (Ages 8-10)
This class is a continuation of Creative Drama I. Students build on the confidence they have developed. Storytelling, imagination and ensemble work strengthens young actors’ skills, building a foundation for the more complex work of scene study waiting for them in Acting I/II/III.

Acting I (Ages 10-13 and 14+)
Through improvisation, script analysis and scene study, entry-level students are introduced to the fundamentals of acting and performance. Special emphasis is placed on interpretation, character development and ensemble work.

Acting II/III (Ages 10-13 and 14+)
The intermediate/advanced scene study class allows students to build on the tools they gained in Acting I. Students are introduced to higher level character analyses, stretching their abilities as they attack more difficult acting problems through situations that are foreign and unfamiliar. Recognizing and understanding the subtext of a scene is explored as students examine the texture, tone and timing found in plays of contemporary and classic writers to bring subtle nuances to their performances. Students also gain an intermediate skill set of production responsibilities that an actor should possess to contribute to a piece of successful theater.

Sensory Friendly Theater (Ages 12+)
Theater training includes the skills of speaking, interacting, applying memorized text appropriately, listening, non-verbal communication and interpreting. For those on the autism spectrum, these skills can be challenging. In this fun and safe environment, students will learn to interact with others and project in their performance. Students with an affinity for drama will grow through the chance to practice with their peers. Students new to drama will experience a fun and engaging craft that will enhance their social skills.

Musical Theater

Musical Theater Performance I (Ages 7-10, 10-13 and 13+)
Students integrate singing, dancing and acting into one creative expression through Broadway songs, scene work and choreography. This collaborative learning experience introduces basic acting principles, vocal techniques and fun beginning choreography. The emphasis for this class is on building a confident proficiency to execute all three art forms that make up a modern musical.

Advanced Musical Theater Performance (Ages 10-13 and 13+)
This class builds on the techniques and skills developed in Musical Theater Performance I, while introducing more challenging material. Students work on advanced musical theater training techniques, an expanded repertoire and the business acumen required for the musical theater profession.


Prospective students can visit drphillipscenter.org/classes, call 407.455.5551, or schedule a time to register in person at the arts center by emailing classes@drphillipscenter.org.
Early registration is encouraged by January 2, 2017.


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The Prego Expo Ticket Giveaway!

Surprise!
prego-expo

PLAYGROUND Magazine is giving away 1 Mommy & Guest ticket to The Prego Expo Registry Event & Brunch at the Babies”R”Us in Altamonte Springs on Sunday, November 13.

This event is an opportunity for mommy-to-be to build her registry in style! Get a swag bag, enjoy a complimentary brunch, explore shopping & giveaways, and learn more about what it means to be a mom!

This event is for pregnant women and their guests only!

Enter to win admission for 1 soon-to-be mom and 1 guest using the widget below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Disney On Ice Presents Follow Your Heart

image001-2

Tickets are on sale today for Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart Featuring Disney•Pixar’s Record-Breaking Animated Hit Finding Dory and Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out

This Disney On Ice extravaganza is visiting Orlando at the Amway Center from September 2 through September 4 for a total of six performances.

Just keep swimming with Dory, Nemo, Marlin and new pal Hank from Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory as they embark on a life-changing excursion to find her parents and discover the true meaning of family. Cheer with the Emotions from Disney•Pixar’s Inside Out –Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust– as they help Riley find the confidence to win the hockey championship and experience the emotional rollercoaster of growing up. Venture to wintery world of Arendelle where Olaf and Kristoff help reunite royal sisters Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen and learn love is the most powerful magic of all. See Cinderella, Rapunzel, Tiana and the Disney Princesses make their dreams come true through their virtues of bravery, kindness and perseverance. And celebrate true friendship with Buzz Lightyear, Woody and The Toy Story gang. Make unforgettable memories with Mickey, Minnie and all your Disney friends when Disney On Ice presents Follow Your Heart skates into Orlando!

Tickets for Disney on Ice presents Follow Your Heart start at $18. Click here or here to purchase tickets for you and your family. You can also purchase tickets at the Amway Center Box Office.

Showtimes: 
Friday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, September 3 at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m.
Sunday, September 4 at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Check out the Winners!

2015FamFaveWinner

The winners are in! Thanks to everyone who voted for our 2015 Family Favorite Awards. We are so excited to reveal the winners! Congratulations to the people and places that make Central Florida such an awesome place for families to live.

Explore the winners list by area:

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Dr. Phillips, Windermere

Yellow Dog Eats

Yellow Dog Eats

Family Favorite Playground: R.D. KEENE PARK
10900 Chase Rd., Windermere
407-876-6696 www.orangecountyfl.net
We happen to know some serious slide connoisseurs, and R.D. Keene Park located on Lake Isleworth delivers. This playground boasts spiral slides, tube slides and wavy slides galore, and the best part of all? The playground is covered, offering a shady place to play even on those long summer days.

Family Favorite Splash Pad: DR. P. PHILLIPS COMMUNITY PARK
8249 Buena Vista Woods Blvd., Orlando
407-254-9038 www.orangecountyfl.net
There’s just something about aiming a water cannon at a sibling (or mother!) that kids fi nd irresistible. This splash pad offers play areas for both little kids and big kids and is open year-round, weather permitting.

Favorite Family Tutor/Tutoring Center: HUNTINGTON LEARNING CENTER
5060 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando
407-290-1111 www.dr__phillips.huntingtonhelps.com
Since opening its first location in 1977, Huntington Learning Center® has grown to serve students at hundreds of locations nationwide, making it one of the most well-established names in the tutoring industry. The Dr. Phillips location offers support for academic skills, subject-based tutoring and exam prep.

EDITOR’S Favorite Family Restaurant: YELLOW DOG EATS
1236 Hempel Ave., Gotha
407-296-0609 www.yellowdogeats.com
This place is a true original dreamed up by Chef Fish Morgan, and delivered to us with love in a quirky little package. Housed in an old country store, Morgan and his team deliver inventive gourmet sandwiches, salads and barbecue with flavor and flair. In a sea of chain restaurants, Yellow Dog Eats stands out for its authenticity. We recommend the Fluffy Love—a peanut butter, banana and marshmallow fluff sandwich served with a side of animal crackers.

Family Favorite Indoor Play: CRAYOLA EXPERIENCE
8001 S. Orange Blossom Tr., Orlando
407-757-1700 www.crayolaexperience.com/orlando
Discover the magic of color at Crayola’s premier and one-of-a-kind family attraction. Twenty-fi ve hands-on projects and 70,000 square feet of colorful fun await families in Orlando. Color, chemistry and digital technology combine to create a day of family fun and colorful keepsakes.

EDITOR’S Favorite Sweet Treat: COLD STONE CREAMERY
8145 International Dr., Orlando
407-492-1880 www.coldstonecreamery.com
Cold Stone Creamery is a staple for ice cream lovers. No trendy frozen yogurt shops for these purists! Sure, frozen yogurt is on the menu if you’re so inclined, but Cold Stone enthusiasts come here for the ice cream, which is made fresh daily.

EDITOR’S Favorite Outdoor Play: TIBET-BUTLER PRESERVE
8777 Winter Garden Vineland Rd., Windermere
407-876-6696 www.orangecountyfl.net
Tibet-Butler Preserve’s 440 acres on the Butler Chain of Lakes offer visitors a glimpse of natural Florida’s diverse environment, which is home to an array of indigenous wildlife (the kind that do not appear in animated feature films!). Wildlife experts offer an extensive menu of Eco Education classes for $2 per person per hour (chaperones are free). Topics include everything from animal walks for preschoolers to guided hikes for elementary kids to astronomy classes for middle schoolers.

Family Favorite Free Play: SHADOW BAY PARK/LAKE CANE TENNIS CENTER
5100 Turkey Lake Rd., Orlando
407-254-9175 www.orangecountyfl.net
Seventeen immaculate tennis courts are just the beginning of what this park has to offer. Bring your bikes to explore both concrete and dirt trails. Located on the Florida Birding Trail, families can also explore three miles of nature trails while keeping an eye out for birds, butterfl ies, tortoises, bobcats, foxes and more. After your nature walk, your little ones can explore the castle-themed playgrounds, one of which offers partial-shade coverage.

Family Favorite Farmer’s Market: WINDERMERE FARMER’S MARKET
Fridays from 9 a.m.–2 p.m.Between 5th and 6th on Main St., Windermere
www.facebook.com/WindermereFarmersMarket
Hosted on Fridays in front of Town Hall, local vendors offer fresh produce, crafts, breads, cheeses, coffees and more. Friendly, local charm right in our own backyard.

Favorite Family Pediatrician:DR. GREGORY GORDON
Pediatric Associates of Orlando
2920 Maguire Rd., Ocoee
407-654-6506 www.pa-orlando.com
Orlando parents have spoken: they love Pediatric Associates of Orlando. The practice has two locations—one in Ocoee/ Windermere and one in Downtown Orlando—and parents in both neighborhoods vote two thumbs up for this practice when it comes to caring for their most precious family members. The Dr. Phillips/ Windermere neighborhood gives a special shout-out to Dr. Gregory Gordon, one of several pediatricians in the practice.

Family Favorite Summer Camp: SEAWORLD EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
7007 SeaWorld Dr., Orlando
800-406-2244 www.SeaWorldCamps.com/Orlando
From parent/child day camp for preschoolers to wildlife career exploration for middle schoolers, SeaWorld’s educational programs take summer camp to new depths. Your little scientists will spend the week exploring animal habitats and behaviors behind-the-scenes at SeaWorld Orlando. For an extra special experience, families can even sign up for sleepovers. Imagine singing campfire songs with your new dolphin friends!

Family Favorite Pediatric Dentist: DR. MICHAEL DIMAURO
7424 Doc’s Grove Cir., Orlando
407-352-4800 www.drmikeorlando.com
Dr. Phillips/Windermere families trust Dr. Michael “Mike” DiMauro and his team with their kids’ smiles. Clients appreciate Dr. Mike’s commitment to ensuring his patients and their parents understand the details of the treatment program, whether routine or complex. Most importantly, parents commend Dr. Mike and his team for taking the time to put their children at ease and make each appointment educational and even fun (well, as much fun as a dentist appointment can be).

Family Favorite Gymnastics: ORLANDO METRO GYMNASTICS
4658 L.B. McLeod Rd., Orlando
407-246-1200 http://omgmcleod.wpengine.com
At Orlando Metro Gymnastics, a private gymnastics club located in southwest Orlando, your kids can start off as tumbling toddlers, grow into recreational gymnastics students, and eventually evolve into competitive gymnasts. From toddlers to teenagers, Orlando Metro Gymnastics offers the full range of gymnastics and cheer instruction. The facility also offers an after-school program and camps that include trampoline time, rock wall activities, and even time in the foam pit!

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Winter Garden, Ocoee

Historic Downtown Winter Garden

Historic Downtown Winter Garden

Family Favorite Playground: CHAPIN STATION NEIGHBORHOOD PARK
501 Crown Point Cross Rd., Winter Garden
407-656-4155 www.cwgdn.com/resident/parks
With two playgrounds to choose from, kids can leap bridges in a single bound and scale walls lickity split before exploring the butterfly garden. Ample benches under shady trees provide a great resting spot for watchful eyes and the figure-eight-shaped sidewalk lets little scooter riders and roller bladers zoom around for hours.

Family Favorite Splash Pad: DOWNTOWN HISTORIC WINTER GARDEN SPLASH PAD
300 W Plant St., Winter Garden
407-656-4111 www.cwgdn.com/resident/parks
Relatively new, the Winter Garden splash pad washes area competition away. Nothing says an afternoon of fun more than streaming fountains and squealing kiddos. Be sure to bring buckets and toys for your little water babies to enjoy.

Family Favorite Private School: FOUNDATION ACADEMY
North Campus: 125 E. Plant St., Winter Garden 407-656-3677 South Campus: 15304 Tilden Rd., Winter Garden
407-877-2744 www.foundationacademy.net
With two campuses, aspiring Einsteins from preschool to high school learn about God, academics, arts and athletics—the foundations for success at this learning local.

Family Favorite Kids Store: LEARNING EXPRESS
2564 Maguire Rd., Ocoee
407-614-8383 www.learningexpress.com
Hop aboard the Learning Express in Ocoee. No need to repeat “don’t touch” over and over again. Here, toys are set up everywhere for the kids to explore while you find that perfect birthday or holiday gift. Be sure to check their events calendar; Learning Express offers a whole bunch of entertaining programs.

Family Favorite Sweet Treat: TWISTEE TREAT
1500 Maguire Rd., Ocoee
407-877-6888 www.twisteetreat.com
Show of hands … anyone else avoid driving down Maguire so the kids don’t spy that awesome ice cream cone building in the distance? It’s okay, swing by and partake in the yummy goodness of Twistee Treat. Brains will freeze with the fun over the vast choices of flavors you can add to your sweet snack.

Family Favorite Outdoor Play: OAKLAND NATURE PRESERVE
747 Machete Trail, Oakland
407-905-0054 www.oaktownusa.com
Butterfly gardens, hands-on discovery center, and, if you go the right route, zebras are found at this fun preserve. The long bridge trail takes trekkers out on a safe swamp tour, ending over a large lake where you may spy some gators. Take the path less traveled and discover the adjoining property, which houses zebra and other exotic animals. The education room provides a myriad of hands-on animal remnants and old time tools to discover.

Family Favorite Indoor Play: LET’S SKATE ORLANDO
14207 W. Colonial Dr., Winter Garden
407-614-3812 www.letsskateorlando.com
Let’s Skate is great for birthday parties, a family afternoon of roller skating, or playdates with friends. Let’s Skate has the coolest themed party rooms around! Plus, they offer skate mates that help beginner skaters stay balanced.

Family Favorite Free Play: WINTER GARDEN FARMER’S MARKET
104 S. Lakeview Ave., Winter Garden
352-394-8618 www.wintergardenfarmersmarket.com
Any given Saturday morning, you’ll find the town perusing the Winter Garden Farmer’s Market. Adults, kids and even dogs are welcome to hang out, enjoy a tasty snow cone, grab local grub and tap their toes to the beat of the live musicians.

EDITOR’S Favorite After School Program: ICE GOLF ACADEMY
16301 Phil Ritson Way, Winter Garden
407-907-5975 www.Icegolfacademy.com
There’s nothing chilly about the instructors of ICE Golf Academy. Pro golfer expertise warms up your petite putter to the game of golf through the teaching of technique, building of skills, and an emphasis on having fun on the course. This program tees off from the U.S. Kids Golf platform and drives your pre-PGAer toward a passion for the game as she strives to achieve Elite level. Watch out. One day, you’ll be her caddy.

Family Favorite Gymnastics: GYMNASTICS USA
13175 W. Colonial Dr., Winter Garden
407-544-3628 www.gymnasticsusa.info
Somersaulting into our lives recently, families are flipping over Gymnastics USA. With programs for kids from beginners to competitors, this gym provides quality instruction while maintaining the safety of the athletes. Added bonus: the gym has an indoor, matted playground with swings for siblings who aren’t taking classes. Now you can stay and watch your future gold medalist practice in peace.

Family Favorite Art Class: CREALDE
310 N. Dillard St., Winter Garden
407-671-1886 www.crealde.org
Crealde creates the perfect art class for families in Winter Garden. Whether it is photography, painting, sculpture or ceramics, adults and children aspire towards artistic excellence.

EDITOR’S Favorite Kids Night Out: FLORIDA FILM ACADEMY
270 W. Plant St., Winter Garden
407-654-8400 www.flfilmacademy.com
Florida Film Academy hosts Friday Club Night for kids ages 6 to 12. Each month, parents drop off students from 5:30-9:30 p.m. and the kiddos create a themed film in four hours, have a pizza party and more!

Family Favorite Consignment Store: ONCE UPON A CHILD
8937 W. Colonial Dr., Ocoee
407-297-9499 www.onceuponachildocoee.com
Once upon a time, there was a brilliant idea. Thus, Once Upon a Child was born. The consignment shop for kid stuff rocks every parent’s world by letting you sell your old stuff and buy gently loved stuff at a fraction of the cost. It’s the perfect fairy tale: cute kids in cute clothing with change to spare for the castle.

Family Favorite Birthday Party Location: SKY ZONE
2510 S. Hwy 27, Clermont
352-404-4134 www.skyzone.com
The Sky is the limit at Sky Zone in Clermont. Party-goers will bounce off the walls (it’s okay; they’re supposed to) when they attend birthday parties here. Let them eat cake and then release them to the trampolines for a hoppin’ great time.

Family Favorite Support/Therapy: HOPE COUNSELING CLINIC
410 N. Dillard St., Winter Garden
407-654-5700 www.hopecounsel.com
Hope Counseling Clinic in Winter Garden offers loving guidance and a safe place to share your worries, anxieties and concerns. Therapists offer expertise in a range of topics, including children, family and marriage counseling. It’s not just a name; hope will spring up after your time spent with these amazing professionals.

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Lake Nona, Hunters Creek, St. Cloud

Moss Park

Moss Park

Family Favorite Playground & Splash Pad: LAKEFRONT PARK
1104 Lakeshore Blvd., St. Cloud
407-957-7298 www.stcloud.org
St. Cloud’s recently renovated Lakefront Park is located along beautiful Lake Tohopekaliga and offers a bike path and grass walking path, playground, splash pad, family picnic pavilions, sand beach, volleyball court, picnic tables, fishing pier and a performing arts pavilion. Entry to the splash pad is free with lots of shaded seating.

Family Favorite Sweet Treat: MENCHIE’S
9685 Lake Nona Village Pl., #104, Orlando
407-856-4811 www.menchieslakenona.com
This Orlando fro-yo staple has expanded to Lake Nona! Located in the Lake Nona Village plaza off Narcoossee Road, families can create their own fro-yo masterpiece with multiple flavor choices and tons of toppings.

Family Favorite Outdoor Play: MOSS PARK
12901 Moss Park Rd., Orlando
407-254-6840 www.orangecountyfl.net
This is a great Orange County park for the family with a large play space, walking trails, shaded areas and swimming. This is an awe-some locale to get up close with nature without traveling too far.

EDITOR’S Favorite Farmer’s Market: LAKE NONA BACK TO NATURE FARMERS MARKET
8374 Upper Perse Cir., Lake Nona
www.facebook.com/LakeNonaFarmersFreshMarket
This farmer’s market takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Crescent Park in Laureate Park. Look out for fresh produce, artisan gifts, crafts and more.

EDITOR’S Family Favorite Restaurant: SWEET MAMA’S
10743 Narcoossee Rd., Orlando
407-282-7737 www.sweetmamasrestaurant.com
Sweet Mama’s is a Lake Nona staple for American fare and comfort food to die for. Think made-to-order breakfast classics, filling lunch and wholesome dinner plates. Don’t forget about the freshly baked pies and desserts made from scratch.

Family Favorite Pediatrician: LAKE NONA PEDIATRICS
9145 Narcoossee Rd., Ste. 103, Orlando
407-243-2040 www.nemours.org
Lake Nona is home to the new Nemours Children’s Hospital. Lake Nona Pediatrics, in association with Nemours, provides children and families with quality, professional primary care services with special attention to preventive care and whole-child wellness.

Family Favorite Pediatric Dentist: PEDIATRIC DENTAL GROUP
9161 Narcoossee Rd., Ste. 101-B, Orlando
407-737-7767 www.pediatricdentalgroupflorida.com
This pediatric dental practice goes above and beyond oral health by creating an individual treatment plan for every child. Your child’s plan will combine the right behavioral management techniques and one-on-one care in a way that works for him or her.

Family Favorite After School Program: NORTHLAKE PARK YMCA
9055 Northlake Pkwy., Orlando
www.ymcacentralflorida.com/y-locations/lake-nona
Far from just childcare, the Northlake YMCA’s after-school program provides children with the support, activities and the nurturing environment they need to keep learning, growing and thriving.

Family Favorite Music Studio: GROW AND SING STUDIOS
Northshore at Lake Hart Recreation Center 9339 N. Shore Golf Club Blvd., Orlando
407-970-2774 www.growandsing.com
Parents love this Kindermusik program that includes a variety of classes for children from newborns up to age 7. Little ones will learn about rhythm, and even play their own instruments.

Favorite Family Gymnastics: ORLANDO GYMNASTICS
11821 S. Orange Blossom Trl., Orlando
407-850-4123 www.orlandogymnastics.com
Orlando Gymnastics has all skill levels covered, including preschool gymnastics, recreational gymnastics classes for boys and girls, tumbling classes, cheerleading, after-school program, summer and holiday camps, birthday parties, and open gym nights for kids.

Family Favorite Indoor Play Birthday Party Location: PEANUT’S PLAYHOUSE
1034 Pennsylvania Ave., Saint Cloud
407-556-3900 www.peanutsplayhouse.net
Peanut’s Playhouse is a unique and creative play space and a favorite among St. Cloud families. This mom owned establishment is a great spot for your next birthday or teat party or just a day of indoor play.

Family Favorite Dance Studio: IN MOTION DANCE
2125 Orinoco Dr., Ste. 5, Orlando
321-206-9717 www.inmotiondanceproject.com
From jumps and twirls to leaps and bounds, from first-timer minis to seasoned national dance champions, all types of dancers call In Motion Dance Project home. With a faculty of trained and experienced dance instructors and choreographers, In Motion strives to provide a fun, nurturing environment.

Family Favorite Karate Dojo: CHAMPIONSHIP MARTIAL ARTS
13832 Narcoosee Rd. Unit B-105, Orlando
407-641-1768 www.championshipmartialarts.com/eagle-creek
Conveniently located right outside of Eagle Creek in the Publix plaza, this nationally known martial arts studio makes sure their students know martial arts can be for anyone.

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Oviedo, Waterford Lakes, Avalon Park

Center Lake Park

Center Lake Park

Family Favorite Splash Pad: CENTER LAKE PARK
299 Center Lake Ln., Oviedo www.cityofoviedo.net
This brand-spankin’-new splash pad is yet to be discovered (until now!). It’s free, open daily from 7 a.m.–9 p.m., and adjacent to a life-sized outdoor chess set, playground and a grassy area overlooking the lake. Parents, enjoy the outdoors and catch up on some reading. This new splash pad at Center Lake Park is a great new play area where you and your family can slow down and enjoy the moment.

Family Favorite Outdoor Activity: BLANCHARD PARK
2451 N. Dean Rd., Orlando
www.ocfl.net
Jay Blanchard Park is a family-friendly park that is open seven days a week. The park is surrounded by the paved eight-mile Little Econ Greenway Trail. A river runs through the park, providing scenic views. Canoeing and other activities are allowed, so come and enjoy Mother Nature in a fun environment.

Family Favorite Private School: MONTESSORI SCHOOL OF EAST ORLANDO
2526 Percival Rd., Orlando
407-447-5860 www.mseastorlando.com
This school offers a one-of-a-kind Montessori education with a 1:8 teacher to student ratio and a superior performing arts program. Students enjoy classes in ballroom dance, yoga, art, drama, and Spanish in addition to academic subjects. Little learners also enjoy gardening and nature hikes on the 3.5-acre campus that includes peacocks roaming around the playground. This is a unique learning environment for children to develop in a natural Florida setting.

Family Favorite Tutor/Tutor Center: KUMON MATH AND READING CENTER
312 N. Alafaya Trl., Orlando
407-658-6284 www.kumon.com
Kumon is an after-school math and reading program for kids ages 3 and up. They put students in groups to work collaboratively on math games, making learning fun and engaging for students.

Family Favorite Preschool: PRIMROSE SCHOOL AT AVALON PARK
13461 Tanja King Blvd., Orlando
407-737-1500 www.primroseschools.com
This private preschool provides accredited programs for your toddler with a goal to “help children have fun while building active minds, healthy bodies, and happy hearts.” They have several locations throughout Central Florida.

Family Favorite Kids Store: ONCE UPON A CHILD
2504 S. Alafaya Trl., Orlando
407-413-5823 www.onceuponachild.com
Once Upon a Child is a children’s resale shop. Stop by to sell your gently used items or to shop for “new” ones.

Family Favorite Sweet Treat: JEREMIAH’S ITALIAN ICE COMPANY
1024 Lockwood Blvd., Oviedo 407-542-0505
877 N. Alafaya Trl., Orlando 407-277-7769
www.jeremiahsice.com
Yummy! Jeremiah’s Italian Ice Co. has 40 flavors of Italian ice, gelati, and soft serve ice cream that you can mix together in any style that you please! They even have a drive-thru for orders on-the-go.

EDITOR’S Favorite Sweet Treat: INSOMNIA COOKIES
12101 University Blvd., Ste. 225, Orlando
877-632-6654 https://insomniacookies.com
If you haven’t experienced warm, delicious cookies from Insomnia Cookies near UCF, you haven’t lived. Stop in for a sweet treat after dinner or order them online and have them delivered to your house until 3 a.m.!

Family Favorite Indoor Play: O2B KIDS
1175 Oviedo Mall Blvd., #1005, Oviedo
407-542-8899 www.o2bkids.com
This new all-in-one facility is a kiddie utopia. O2B Kids has done an awesome job of turning a children’s play area into a fun learning environment. This business offers families everything from preschool, homeschool, after school and summer camp programs to free play, drop-off childcare and enrichment classes. They will host your kids’ next birthday party. Most activities are included in a monthly membership price for each child. Call for a tour. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.

Family Favorite Storytime: BARNES & NOBLE
481 N. Alafaya Trl., Orlando, FL 32828
407-275-1765 www.barnesandnoble.com
Barnes & Noble is a high-quality book store that features daily storytime for kids and young adults. Check out the special nights for book lovers! Check out its website for a storytime schedule.

Family Favorite Kids Night Out: MY GYM
11555 Lake Underhill Rd., Orlando
321-422-4888 www.mygym.com/waterfordlakes
My Gym’s Parent’s Night Out is a 3 1/2 hour drop-off program offered twice per month. Your children will be entertained with games, activities and arts and crafts. All of the kids have the chance to ride the 60 ft. zipline and play in the ball pit. Pizza and dessert is served. Children as young as 18 months are welcome. Enjoy your night on the town knowing that your kids will be looked after by an attentive staff. Check the website for schedule.

Family Favorite Farmer’s Market: GOOD NEIGHBORS FARMER’S MARKET
1101 Lloyds Ln., Oviedo www.goodneighborsfarmersmarket.com
After a summer hiatus, the Good Neighbors Farmer’s Market is back open on Saturdays from 9 a.m-3 p.m. The farmer’s market side of the farm is now free, and the petting zoo side is $10 per person.

Family Favorite Restaurant: FRESH-TO-ORDER
851 N. Alafaya Trl., Orlando
407-203-2060 www.freshtoorder.com
Fresh-to-Order is a new restaurant located in Waterford Lakes Town Center that supplies you with quick, healthy meals on the go. Their menu consists of soups, panini sandwiches, kids’ plates, salads, burgers, and even a specialty diet menu for those who are trying to be extra healthy. You can eat in or take out. Enjoy a chef-inspired experience!

Family Favorite Pediatric Dentist: DR. MARCY KEOWN
1549 South Alafaya Trl., Ste. 200, Orlando
407-482-1405 www.mlkdmd.com
Dr. Marcy serves infants, children, teens and kids with special health care needs in a child-friendly environment.

Family Favorite Music Studio: GROW AND SING STUDIOS
407-970-2774 www.growandsing.com
Grow and Sing Studios is staffed by music professionals who offer several Kindermusik classes for you and your child to experience together in an enriched musical program at Oviedo Mall and the University Universalist Unitarian Society. In addition to Kindermusik classes, Grow and Sing Studios also offers private lessons, group guitar classes and private parties. Your first class is free!

Favorite Family Dance Studio: AVALON DANCE STUDIO
12001 Avalon Lake Dr., Studio K, Orlando
407-380-3444 www.avalondance.net
This dance company offers dance styles such as salsa, ballroom, hip-hop, and jazz. They also host events and parties.

Family Favorite After-School Program: MAGIC CURTAIN PRODUCTIONS
2860 S. Alafaya Trl., Orlando
407-282-8368 www.magiccurtainproductions.com
Magic Curtain Productions is a local theater that offers opportunities for performers and community locals to get involved in the art and perform in front of live audiences. They host auditions and after-school care as well as classes and camps.

Family Favorite Karate Dojo: KARATE ZOO
11602 Lake Underhill Rd., Orlando
407-278-0829 www.karate-zoo.com
Karate Zoo offers after-school enrichment activities on campus for Orlando schools and a great summer camp program. Karate Zoo offers a no-contact curriculum that focuses on leadership, bully prevention, self-confidence, focus and respect. This program is good for boys and girls and instills knowledge, skills and abilities for several aspects of life while incorporating karate.

Family Favorite Birthday Party Location: SPARKLED PINK
457 Avalon Park S. Blvd., #200, Orlando
407-277-2184 www.sparkledpink.com
Sparkled Pink is a girls spa, party and boutique venue where kids can come together to celebrate all things girly and pink. They offer party packages and spa services, such as dazzling haircuts, manicures, pedicures, facials, make-up and much more. Choose from party packages such as A Day on Madison Avenue, La Bella Princess Tea Party, Jazz It Up Rock Star Party, and several others.

EDITOR’S Favorite Historical Site: FORT CHRISTMAS
1300 N. Fort Christmas Rd., Christmas
407-254-9310 www.orangecountyfl.net
The park includes a replica of a fort built in 1837 during the Second Seminole Indian War, a traditional Florida Cracker house and eight pioneer homes, a schoolhouse and lunchroom, a sugar cane mill and other historical farming equipment.

Family Favorite Summer Camp: A KIDS GYM
1495 Evans St., Oviedo
407-365-6800 www.akidsgym.com
A Kids Gym has perfected its summer camp program over the past 15 years. Kids get to enjoy a field trip almost every day. Each week is carefully planned with local activities such as bowling and swimming. On Thursdays, campers take field trips to places like Daytona Lagoon and The Crayola Experience. These campers never get bored.

Family Favorite Performing Arts Program: WINTER SPRINGS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
1425 Tuskawilla Rd., # 145, Winter Springs
407-359-5309 www.winterspringsarts.org
Commonly referred to as “The Stage”, this is a wonderful place for kids to feel accepted and supported while having lots of fun. The Winter Springs Performing Arts Center offers classes such as tap and improv and stage productions for children ages 5 and up. Even if you’re not an actor, your family will enjoy watching the performances.

Family Favorite Free Play: OVIEDO MALL PLAYGROUND
1700 Oviedo Mall Blvd., Oviedo
407-977-2400 www.myoviedomall.com
The indoor playground at Oviedo Mall is definitely the go-to gathering spot for families looking to beat the heat and let the kids burn off some extra energy. Go prepared with some snacks and have free fun, and maybe meet new friends.

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Apopka

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Family Favorite Historical Site: WEKIWA SPRINGS STATE PARK
1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka
407-884-2009 www.floridastateparks.org/park/Wekiwa-Springs
Located at the headwaters of the Wekiva River, the beautiful vistas within this park offer a glimpse of what Central Florida looked like when Timucuan Indians fi shed and hunted these lands. Relax in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic or take a swim in the cool spring. Thirteen miles of trails provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. Canoeists and kayakers can paddle along the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run. Canoe and kayak rentals are available. Options for camping include a full facility campground and primitive camping areas.

Family Favorite Art Class: THE CRAFT SHACK
218 W. Church Ave., Longwood
407-448-1375 www.thecraftshackstudio.com
Located in the heart of historic Longwood, this arts and crafts creative space is perfect for private parties and art classes. Fostering creativity in both kids and adults, The Craft Shack offers budding artists an outlet for their artistic play.

Family Favorite Pediatric Dentist: DR. DAVID DONALD
Children’s Dentistry of Longwood
365 Wekiva Springs Rd., Ste. 121, Longwood
321-295-7893 www.longwoodpediatricdentist.com
With five children of his own, Dr. David Donald knows how to make a dentist visit fun! Patients can even play video games in the waiting area. Dr. Donald is also trained to see medically compromised children and those with dental emergencies.

Family Favorite Gymnastics: ACE GYMNASTICS
400 Gold Medal Ct., Longwood
407-831-2582 www.acegymnastics.net
With classes for all ages from beginner to competition, Ace Gymnastics offers everything your budding Olympian needs to get fi t. With tumbling classes, summer camps, gymnastics and birthday parties, Ace is the place for kiddos to burn off that extra energy.

Favorite Family Private School: CHAMPION PREPARATORY ACADEMY
1935 S. Orange Blossom Trl., Apopka
407-788-0018 www.championprep.org
If you’re looking for a super personalized educational experience, look no further. Champion has programs running from VPK through 12th grade, including homeschooling programs. They strive to provide educational programs, support and resources to aid students in reaching their fullest potentials.

Favorite Family Tutor/Tutoring Center: MATHNASIUM
3030 E. Semoran Blvd., Apopka
407-682-6284 www.mathnasium.com
Mathnasium is a tutoring program located throughout Orlando with several locations that aim to figure out what students currently know and what they need help improving upon. Students are able to follow programs while being assisted by professional math tutors who provide them insight and encouragement.

EDITOR’S Favorite Preschool: GO PLAY
482 E. Altamonte Dr., Altamonte Springs
407-767-7529 http://goplaytoday.net
If you don’t live near Altamonte Springs, your preschooler is missing out on this unique preschool opportunity. Children experience play-based learning by rotating through a variety of dynamic centers, such as the Construction Zone, Ollie’s Playhouse Theater and the Design and Discovery Station, just to name a few. There are no classrooms. We’ve never seen anything like it. Schedule a tour later in the day so you don’t miss the daily 4 p.m. parade!

Family Favorite Kids Store: CHILDREN’S PLACE
451 E. Altamonte Dr., Altamonte Springs
407-339-7511 www.childrensplace.com
Looking for good prices on trendy clothing for girls, boys, toddlers and babies? Look to the The Children’s Place, a kids clothing store located in Altamonte Mall and several other local malls. They also carry shoes and other accessories. Let the kids express themselves through clothing!

Family Favorite Sweet Treat: B CUPCAKES
3030 E. Semoran Blvd., #196, Apopka
407-788-2253 www.bcupcake.com
With more than 20 scrumptious flavors, you’ll be in cupcake heave at B Cupcakes, a gourmet cupcake shop and bakery. Special order or customize your cupcakes for special events. Each cupcake is made from scratch using pure ingredients and baked fresh daily.

Family Favorite Outdoor Play: WEST ORANGE TRAIL
501 Crown Point Cross Rd., Winter Garden
407-654-1108 www.ocfl.net
West Orange Trail is a 22-mile rail trail that brings you closer to a bit of Orlando’s history, traveling through the historical Orange Belt Railway system, Oakland, Winter Garden, and down Plant Street, which is lined with shops and restaurants. You also pass through woods and orange groves. You can conquer the trail by bike, horseback riding, on foot or even wheelchair!

Favorite Consignment Shop: ONCE UPON A CHILD
1046 Montgomery Rd., Altamonte Springs
407-960-7902 www.onceuponachild.com
This is a children’s resale store. Stop by to sell your gently-used items today or shop for “new” ones.

Family Favorite Private School: ANNUNCIATION CATHOLIC ACADEMY
593 Jamestown Blvd., Altamonte Springs
407-774-2801 www.annunciationacademy.org
Annunciation Catholic Academy is a vibrant parish school committed to teaching the faith and Catholic traditions to the leaders of tomorrow. This school is recognized locally and nationally for its commitment to serving others, achievements in academics and innovations in technology.

Favorite Family Indoor Play: LUCKY MONKEY
924 W. SR 436, #1800, Altamonte Springs
321-316-4647 www.luckymonkeyorlando.com
Lucky Monkey is an indoor playground for children up to 8-years- old who can take part in laser dances, bubble parties, dancing with Lucky and playing around with monkey mascots.

Favorite Family Dance Studio: TURNING POINTE DANCE STUDIO
145 Wekiva Springs Rd., Ste. 145, Longwood
407-862-5500 www.turningpointedance.com
Turning Pointe Dance Studio is a family-oriented studio where you can enroll your family in classes at any level. Professional dancers groom beginners into graceful dancers, delivering classes in ballet, tap, contemporary, jazz and hip-hop dance, to name just a few.

Favorite Family Performing Arts Program: WEKIVA RIVER PLAYERS
407-262-1801 www.wekivariverplayers.org
Local theater at its finest, the Wekiva River Players is an educational theater program that has performed more than 90 shows. Each year, this theater ensemble produces six junior shows for elementary and middle school performers and one full-length production for high school performers.

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Lake Mary, Heathrow, Sanford

Central Florida Zoo's Tropical Splash Ground

Central Florida Zoo’s Tropical Splash Ground

Family Favorite Splash Pad, Family Favorite Outdoor Play, Family Favorite Storytime, Family Favorite Summer Camp Family & Favorite Birthday Party Location: CENTRAL FLORIDA ZOO
3755 N.W. Hwy. 17-92, Sanford
407-323-4450 www.centralfloridazoo.org
Enter the natural Florida environment of the Central Florida Zoo, a relaxing, entertaining and educational experience for the entire family. See over 500 animals, enjoy the ZOOm Air Adventure Park aerial ropes course and zipline, or bring your swimsuit to cool off in the Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground. Preschoolers and their caregivers can even enjoy a free storytime and an animal encounter at the Rainforest Pavilion. Check the website for the seasonal schedule. For kids ages 6 to 12, the Central Florida Zoo offers fun and educational summer camp programs, including half- and full-day camps. Children can choose from a wide variety of themes based on their interests. Celebrate birthdays at the wildest place in town! Birthday parties include admission for each guest; access to the Splash Ground; train and carousel ride for each guest; one-hour hosted celebration in party room; and a party host to serve food and drinks, facilitate games with prizes, lead the birthday song and more.

Family Favorite Playground: FORT MELLON PARK
600 E. 1st St., Sanford
407-688-5103 www.sanfordfl.gov
Fort Mellon Park is perfect for a family fun day. You’ll fi nd basketball and tennis courts, BBQ grills and playground equipment. Bonus: there’s a separate playground for kids ages 2 to 5.

Family Favorite Tutoring Center: SYLVAN LEARNING LAKE MARY
136 N. 4th St., Lake Mary
407-688-2017 http://locations.sylvanlearning.com
With locations all over Central Florida, Sylvan tutors use a personal approach and interactive technology to help kids learn math, reading, writing and more, turning frustration into confidence!

Family Favorite Preschool: HOLY CROSS LUTHERAN ACADEMY PRESCHOOL
780 N. Sun Dr., Lake Mary
407-936-3636 http://thehcla.org/early-childhood
At Holy Cross Lutheran Academy, the early childhood staff is committed to making your child’s transition from home to school a fun, welcoming and loving experience. They offer a creative curriculum that addresses each child’s individual needs and learning styles. The teachers deliver engaging, interactive activities that make the classrooms come alive.

Family Favorite Sweet Treat: MENCHIE’S
3005 W. Lake Mary Blvd., Lake Mary
407-878-2811 www.menchies.com
For a healthier sweet treat, parents are turning to frozen yogurt. Of course, the kids love it because they can make it their own by adding yummy toppings (well, maybe not so healthy but delicious!).

EDITOR’S Favorite Family Restaurant: HOLLERBACH WILLOW TREE CAFÉ
205 E. 1st St., Sanford
407-321-2204 www.hollerbachs.com
If you’re looking for authentic German food and music, this is the place. Located in downtown Sanford, this mom-and-pop restaurant is great for a group. Parents will enjoy the German beer and Wiener Schnitzel, kids will love Polka dancing to the German folk songs performed live. Die show ist wunderbar!

Family Favorite Farmer’s Market: LAKE MARY FARMER’S MARKET
100 N. Country Club Rd., Lake Mary
407-585-1416 www.lakemaryfl.com/farmers-market
Downtown Lake Mary is rocking on the weekends with a Saturday farmer’s market that is sure to delight. Find small plants, honey, baked goods and produce from local farms. Plus, it’s dog-friendly.

EDITOR’S Favorite Summer Camp: HEATHROW TENNIS AND SPORTS CAMP
Heathrow Racquet Club
407-333-1475 www.heathrowcc.com
No need to be a member of the Heathrow Country Club to attend these fun weeklong camps. With a half-day camp for tots and a full-day camp for older kids, campers get unparalleled tennis instruction balanced with fun water games, swimming at the Heathrow pool and more. Camps run weekly from June to August.

Family Favorite Pediatrician: DR. MITCHELL MADDEN
Physician’s Associates Lake Mary
719/725 Rodel Cove, Lake Mary
407-302-3130 www.paof.com/physicians/mitchell-madden-md
With a knack for calming down kiddos, this board-certified pediatrician and University of Florida grad loves the outdoors and was instrumental in the development of Florida’s first infant heart transplant team.

Family Favorite Music Program: SEMINOLE COUNTY MUSIC TOGETHER
590 Rinehart Rd., Ste. 5, Lake Mary
407-844-4414 www.seminolemusictogether.com
Music Together is a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum. Join a community of families at their Westbrook Dance Academy location to share songs, instrument play, and rhythm and movement activities in a relaxed, playful and non-performance-oriented setting.

EDITOR’S Favorite Birthday Party Location: AIGUILLE ROCK CLIMBING CENTER
999 Charles St., Longwood
407-332-1430 www.aiguille.com
For active children who like a challenge, consider a birthday party at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center. During a party, all belaying (that’s rock climbing speak for the person who controls the rope attached to each climber) is in the hands of the staff, allowing parents to sit back, take pictures and cheer on your little climbers.

Family Favorite Dance Studio: XTREME DANCE STUDIO
4932 FL-46, Ste. 1048, Sanford
407-330-7002 www.xtremedance.net
From beginning dancers to experienced company dancers, Xtreme has a class for every skill level. From hip-hop to ballet, your kiddo will find a class that fits his or her personality. The studio is owned by Sheri Metcalf, a professional dancer and artistic director who has danced with Kool and the Gang, KC and the Sunshine Band, Sisqo and Donna Summer.

EDITOR’S Favorite Educational Activity: LAKE MARY HISTORICAL MUSEUM
158 N. Country Club Rd., Lake Mary
407-585-1481 www.lakemarymuseum.com
Give your kids a crash history lesson at The Lake Mary Historical Museum, which exists to preserve and promote the history of the city and the surrounding area with a collection of artifacts, photographs, documents and other materials related to the history of Lake Mary and the surrounding area. Admission is free!

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Casselberry, Maitland, Fern Park

Lake Lily

Lake Lily

Family Favorite Playground: MAITLAND COMMUNITY PARK
1400 Mayo Ave., Maitland
407-539-0042 www.itsmymaitland.com
This family-friendly park includes playgrounds, courts, picnic spots, gazebos and an indoor meeting place and is an overall convenient spot for families of the community to come together.

Family Favorite Outdoor Playground: AUDUBON BIRDS OF PREY
1101 Audubon Way, Maitland
407-644-0190 http://fl .audubon.org/audubon-center-birds-prey
This urban environmental audubon center focuses on the rescue, medical treatment, rehabilitation and release of Florida’s raptors. From owls to bald eagles, the creatures here do not disappoint.

EDITOR’S Favorite Farmer’s Market: MAITLAND FARMER’S MARKET
701 Lake Lily Dr., Maitland
407-539-6268 www.itsmymaitland.com
Pack up the minivan and head to this fabulous farmer’s market. Every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. around Lake Lily Park, you can check out local fare and enjoy a tree-covered playground for the kids!

Family Favorite Summer Camp: RDV SPORTSPLEX ICE DEN
8701 Maitland Summit Blvd., Orlando
407-916-2550 http://rdvsportsplex.com
RDV Sportsplex Ice Den is an indoor ice skating rink for ages 3 and older. They offer public skating, hockey and skate games, parties and events, figure skating and an on-site pro shop.

Family Favorite Restaurant: TIJUANA FLATS
1955 Aloma Ave., Winter Park
407-679-2132 http://tijuanaflats.com
This brainchild of UCF graduates has quickly become a family favorite. Tijuana Flats offers fast service and quality Mexican food in a fun environment. It’s worth mentioning that it’s so loud in there, no one will hear your child’s random screeching.

Family Favorite Sweet Treat: JEREMIAH’S ITALIAN ICE
111 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, Florida
407-599-9991 www.jeremiahsice.com
Jeremiah’s serves up authentic flavors of Italian ice and soft serve ice cream for you to mix together in fabulous flavors.

EDITOR’S Favorite Kids Store: MAISON BABY
485 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland
407-605-2860 www.maison-baby.com
Maison Baby is a boutique that carries a wide selection of anything you may need for your child. From baby carriers and wraps, to strollers and bathtubs – Maison Baby offers brand name baby gear at reasonable prices, making all of your parenting dreams come true.

Family Favorite Pediatrician: INTERLACHEN PEDIATRICS
846 Lake Howell Rd., Maitland
407-767-2477 www.intpeds.com
Interlachen focuses on care that includes compassion, excellence, integrity, and teamwork and has a team of nine physicians.

Family Favorite Pediatric Dentist: DR. KELLY MANSOUR
1650 Maitland Ave., Maitland
407-628-2286 www.ibrushteeth.com
Doctor Kelly Mansour is a pediatric dentist at Pediatric Dentistry of Central Florida. A University of Florida grad, this South Florida native now practices in Orlando. Visit her in Maitland to get your smile to shine.

EDITOR’S Favorite Historical Site: MAITLAND ART CENTER
231 W. Packwood Ave., Maitland, FL 32751
407-539-2181 http://artandhistory.org/maitlandartcenter
The Maitland Art Center recently became the first National Historic Landmark in Orange County and the 44th in the state of Florida. Founded in 1937 by visionary artist and architect Jules André Smith, the Maitland Art Center was built in the rare Mayan Revival style, ornate with copious sculptural reliefs drawing on Mesoamerican, Asian and African iconographies. Originally, it was a colony that provided a place for artists to live, experiment with new forms and escape the demands of daily life. It currently offers family art programs. Register for them on their website.

Family Favorite Gymnastics: LEGACY GYMNASTICS
143 Atlantic Dr., Maitland
407-831-3547 www.legacygymnasticscenter.com
Legacy offers gymnastics classes and lessons for all ages and challenges them to become the best they can be through a curriculum-based approach.

Family Favorite Dance Studio: DANCE CENTERS OF ORLANDO
410 Ridge Rd., Fern Park
407-340-6890 www.dancecentersoforlando.com
The Dance School at Dance Centers of Orlando provides dance instruction and choreography in ballet, pointe, jazz, jazz funk, lyrical, modern, contemporary tap, musical hip hop, and tumbling—all taught by working dancers. It also provides fun acrobat classes, including silks and lyras, and classes for little dancers ages 3 to 5.

Family Favorite Indoor Playground, Family Favorite Storytime, Family Favorite Kids Night Out & Family Favorite Birthday Party Location: AMAYA PAPAYA
3385 S. US Hwy. 17/92, Ste. 269, Casselberry
407-339-7529 www.amayapapaya.com
Amaya Papaya is Central Florida’s original indoor open play center (for children) and lounge (for parents). Amaya Papaya’s is a hub for parents with young kids to come together and enjoy the humor of parenthood while their children (ages newborn to 5-years-old) play and learn together during hands-on activities and special events.

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Winter Park, Baldwin Park, Audubon Park

Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 1.17.36 PM

Casa Feliz

Family Favorite Historical Site: CASA FELIZ
656 Park Ave. N., Winter Park
407-628-8200 www.casafeliz.us
Casa Feliz is a beautifully restored Spanish farmhouse designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II. Overlooking the golf course in the heart of Winter Park, Casa Feliz offers a home museum where special events are held.

EDITOR’S Favorite Preschool:BRIGHT HORIZONS PRESCHOOL
1700 Fire House Ln., Orlando
407-895-8339 www.brighthorizons.com
This beautiful campus is in a great location in Baldwin Park, conveniently located next to Audubon Park Elementary School. The unique curriculum allows a child’s individual interests to become the launchpad for academic learning. It’s no wonder there is usually a waiting list for enrollment.

Family Favorite Storytime: WINTER PARK PUBLIC LIBRARY
460 E. New England Ave., Winter Park
407-623-3300 www.wppl.org
Winter Park Public Library offers programs including Mother Goose Time for babies and toddlers, Time for Twos for 2-year-olds, On Your Own Time for 3- to 5-year olds (without their caregivers), and Pajama Time for kids 5-years-old and under and their families.

Family Favorite Sweet Treat: KELLY’S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM
3114 Corrine Dr., Orlando
321-226-8685 www.kellyshomemadeicecream.com
Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream serves handcrafted ice cream flavors, Italian ices, and wine sorbets. They are located on Corrine Drive and are open seven days a week. Go all in and book them to cater your special event. Treat your sweet peeps!

Family Favorite Outdoor Play: BALDWIN PARK
www.baldwinparknetwork.com
Baldwin Park is located in a quaint neighborhood centered around a lake and a unique shopping center. You can stroll around and treat yourself to the many food and beverage options or exercise around the lake. The dock makes it easy to relax on the water and enjoy picnics or family time.

EDITOR’S Favorite Family Indoor Play: GRAMMY’S INDOOR PLAYGROUND
4270 Aloma Ave., Winter Park
407-960-1827 www.grammysindoorplayground.com
This is a great little spot for babies, toddlers and preschoolers to play, make new friends, and enjoy Grammy’s story time. Guests may pay per visit or buy a package. For an additional fee, try an enrichment class in art, yoga, Spanish, and more!

Family Favorite Restaurant: GATORS DOCKSIDE
4982 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814
321-972-1974 www.gatorsdockside.com
Gators Dockside is a neighborhood restaurant focused around sports and a family-friendly atmosphere where you can enjoy delicious food while playing games and experiencing great service. They are known for their grilled wings, juicy burgers, sandwiches, ribs and more. Get your grub on at Gators Dockside!

Family Favorite Farmer’s Market: WINTER PARK FARMER’S MARKET
200 W. New England Ave., Winter Park
407-599-3397 https://cityofwinterpark.org
The Winter Park Farmer’s Market occurs every Saturday on Park Avenue. It features local artisans, local food companies, sweets, agriculture and more. Walk around the family-friendly atmosphere and try out some new snacks while scoping out unique local vendors.

Family Favorite Summer Camp: MEAD GARDENS NATURALIST CAMP
1500 S. Denning Dr., Winter Park
407-599-2800 www.meadgarden.org
This camp is for kids ages 5 to 12 who enjoy nature, the outdoors, animals, plants, critters, and exploring. Mead Gardens provides opportunities to embrace and respect the nature surrounding us.

Family Favorite Music Studio: GROW AND SING STUDIOS
407-970-2774 www.growandsing.com
Grow and Sing Studios is staffed by music professionals who offer classes for your family and kids to engage in enriched music experiences. They offer lessons, classes, and parties, and your first class is free!

Family Favorite Gymnastics Family Favorite After School Program: BALDWIN PARK METRO GYMNASTICS
4915 New Broad St., Orlando 407-644-0847 http://baldwinpark.orlandometrogymnastics.com
Metro Gymnastics has facilities located all over Orlando and has a location in Baldwin Park area. They offer gymnastics and swim classes for all ages, as well as birthday parties, special events, day camps, and more. They even have an award winning team of gymnasts!

Family Favorite Dance Studio: DANCE 360
4867 New Broad St., Orlando
407-704-6800 www.dance360orlando.com
Dance 360 offers classes in ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop, lyrical, and improv styles. Classes are split up by age groups and are offered Mondays through Saturdays. They also have several camps and an in-house competitive team.

Family Favorite Kids Store: TUGBOAT & THE BIRD
318 N. Park Ave., Winter Park407-647-5437 www.tugboatandthebird.com
This locally owned boutique offers hard-to-fi nd brand name clothing for children. In addition to clothing, they have unique toys, gifts and locally made accessories and décor for children’s rooms. The great customer service that each shopper experiences keeps this boutique a favorite among local families.

EDITOR’S Favorite Private School: WALDEN COMMUNITY SCHOOL
4595 Howell Branch Rd., Winter Park
407-677-8225 www.waldencommunityschool.com
This small and progressive private school is a hidden gem tucked away in Winter Park next to an equestrian center. There are no grades, shoes are optional and kids spend a lot of time outdoors. The student to teacher ratio is capped at 10 to 1. Walden provides a challenging curriculum in a relaxed and homey environment.

Family Favorite Birthday Party Location: MY GYM
473 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland
321-214-9363 www.mygym.com/orlando
My Gym is designed specifically for kids (ages 6 weeks to 10 years) to develop physical skills such as balance, coordination and flexibility. Enroll in classes or host your child’s birthday party here. You can book your classes online, too!

Family Favorite Support/Therapy: BALDWIN PARK KIDS CLUB
www.meetup.com/baldwin-park-kids-club
Baldwin Park Kids Club is for children ranging from newborns to 5-year-olds who want to engage with other kids around the local area for play dates and other activities. But this club isn’t just for the kids! The club offers mom’s night out dates and volunteer activities, too. The Baldwin Park Kids Club strives to bring local families together and create friendships through planned activities. You can join their membership to be in-the-know on the latest events and get-togethers.

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: College Park, Lake Ivanhoe

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Cookie Cousins

Family Favorite Playground: DARTMOUTH PARK

822 Dartmouth St., Orlando
407-246-2283 www.cityoforlando.net/parks/dartmouth-park
Just over three acres, Dartmouth Park and its playground are popular among neighborhood families for picnics and children’s birthday parties. The park has two pavilions and lots of shade to keep kiddos cool.

Family Favorite Tutoring Center: CLUB Z! TUTORING
407-628-3100 www.clubztutoring.com/orlando
Let the tutor come to you with Club Z! Tutoring. Club Z! Tutoring of Orlando offers one-on-one, in-home tutoring for all subjects, from pre-k to pre-med and everything in between.

Family Favorite Preschool: COLLEGE PARK UNITED METHODIST CDC
644 W. Princeton St., Orlando
407-841-6020 http://cdc.cpumc.org
The mission of the College Park United Methodist Child Development Center is to accept each child as a unique individual who is blessed with talents and gifts and who is worthy of recognition and praise, and to provide each child a safe, loving and effective Christian environment that promotes growing and learning.

Family Favorite Kids Night Out: NYPD PIZZA
2912 Edgewater Dr., Orlando
407-422-6973 www.nypdpizzeria.com
You’ll find more than just awesome pizza at this neighborhood joint. Choose from pasta, calzones and local brews on tap at this East Coast-style restaurant. Wednesday is kid’s night. Children make a pizza free with each adult entrée.

Family Favorite Restaurant: THE TAP ROOM AT DUBSDREAD
549 W Par St., Orlando
407-650-0100 www.taproomatdubsdread.com
With tons of outdoor seating, The Tap Room at Dubsdread is a dream for families with spirited children. Choose from an easy, kid-friendly menu and watch the golfers on the Dubsdread course.

Family Favorite Pediatrician: DR. MICHAEL MIDDLETON
200 East Marks St., Orlando
407-284-6480 www.middletonpediatrics.com
Middleton Pediatrics is a family-centered pediatric medical home in the Central Florida community. They provide the highest level of pediatric care and pride themselves on building relationships with local families.

Family Favorite Consignment Shop: BOUTIQUE FOR A WEEK
www.boutiqueforaweek.net
Boutique for a Week is a pop-up style kid’s consignment sale where you can both sell and buy your kids gently used and unused items. It’s held once or twice per year at different locations. Check the website for dates and times. Beyond clothing, they also sell strollers, cribs, high chairs, swings, bouncy seats, toys, maternity clothes, nursery furniture, and more.

Family Favorite Birthday Party Location & Family Favorite Sweet Treats: COOKIE COUSINS
2322 Edgewater Dr., Orlando
407-420-7940 www.thecookiecousins.com
These cookies are truly the best in Central Florida—buttery goodness! Take the kids for a sweet treat and try the delicious chocolate chip cookie sandwiches. Bring the friends and party down at Cookie Cousins, where they let the kiddos roll out the dough and cut cookies. While the cookies bake, the kids can eat lunch and open presents. After lunch, decorate the cookies and box them up for a special take-home favor.

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2015 Family Favorite Awards: Downtown Orlando, Thornton Park, SoDo

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Lake Eola

Family Favorite Outdoor Play: LAKE EOLA PARK
512 E. Washington St., Orlando
407-246-4484 http://cityoforlando.net/parks/lake-eola-park
Lake Eola Park is the heartbeat of the greater Orlando area. For families in Central Florida, it’s a treasured place for outdoor play. Swan boat rides, modern playground equipment, a weekly farmer’s market, seasonal family festivals, art sculptures, a Chinese pagoda and even a dog-friendly open air restaurant are situated on the path around Orlando’s iconic fountain. On any given day, you’ll find Lake Eola Park full of families enjoying Orlando’s most unique and cherished destination.

Family Favorite Farmer’s Market: ORLANDO FARMER’S MARKET AT LAKE EOLA PARK
Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Corner of E. Central Blvd. and N. Eola Dr.
www.orlandofarmersmarket.com
Sure, technically it’s a farmer’s market, but it’s really an event. Each Sunday, Lake Eola Park features an eclectic array of vendors selling everything from local honey and organic produce to handmade arts and crafts. Add in live entertainment, a beer and wine garden, and fun for the kids (and pets, too!), and you have the perfect Sunday afternoon.

Family Favorite Playground: DELANEY PARK
1055 Delaney Avenue, Orlando
407-246-2283 http://cityoforlando.net/parks/delaney-park
Situated on 7.25 shady acres right in the middle of one of Orlando’s oldest and loveliest neighborhoods, Delaney Park is home to ball fi elds, playgrounds and picnic facilities.

Family Favorite Kids Store and Consignment Store: ONCE UPON A CHILD
4900 E. Colonial Dr., Orlando
407-292-3500 www.onceuponachildorlandofl.com
If you haven’t heard of Once Upon a Child, you must be living under a giant pile of Gymboree dresses, because this is THE place to buy and sell new and gently used clothing, toys, and gear for your little ones. Sell the items your kids no longer wear, and walk out with an overflowing bag of new-to-you items in the next size up.

Family Favorite Storytime: TRINITY LUTHERAN SCHOOL CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER (CDC) READ-IN
123 E. Livingston St., Orlando
407-488-1919 http://school.trinitydowntown.com
A few times throughout the year, two teachers at Trinity Lutheran School CDC bring books to life for students ages 3 and up. Stacy Carrol and Colby Howard use costumes and interactive, dramatic storytelling techniques to engage their wide-eyed audience, often enlisting middle school students to help round out the cast.

Family Favorite Historical Site: ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER
65 E. Central Blvd., Orlando
407-836-8500 www.thehistorycenter.org
The History Center offers a diverse range of exhibitions spanning over 12,000 years of Florida history designed to engage visitors in smart, fun and challenging ways. The History Center offers an extensive menu of educational programs, including holiday camps, discovery days, scout programs and even overnight camp-ins for a real-life Night at the Museum!

Family Favorite Pediatrician: PEDIATRIC ASSOCIATES OF ORLANDO
414 N. Mills Ave., Orlando
407-841-7290 http://pa-orlando.com
“As first-time parents, we knew that choosing a pediatrician for our little one was one of the most important decisions we would make. After our initial meet and greet with Pediatric Associates of Orlando, we were sold! We’ve seen several doctors at the Downtown Orlando location, and all have shown genuine care for our son. Dr. Britton, in particular, has been amazing—he listens to all of our concerns, answers our MANY questions and spends as much time as we need. Great doctors at a great practice!” Jenn Thekan, mom to Weston (4 months)

Family Favorite Indoor Play: ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER
777 E. Princeton St., Orlando
407-514-2000 www.osc.org
For over 60 years, the Orlando Science Center has designed and delivered educational and engaging exhibits to inspire interest in the world of science. You could go 100 times and still learn something new on each visit, making annual family memberships one of the best values around. In addition to its daily programming, the Orlando Science Center brings us community events such as Maker Faire Orlando and Otronicon. Check out the extensive menu of education programs, including camps, homeschool programs, afterschool programs, and even its very own preschool.

Family Favorite Preschool: WEEKDAY SCHOOL
106 E. Church St., Orlando
407-996-5864 www.weekdayschoolorlando.org
Weekday School offers a theme-based, interdenominational Christian curriculum that emphasizes an integrated approach to teaching and learning. Weekday School serves approximately 150 children ages 2 ½ to 5 years old.

Family Favorite Private School, After School Program and Summer Camp: THE CHRIST SCHOOL
106 E. Church St., Orlando
407-849-1665 www.thechristschool.org
This K–8 school located in the heart of downtown Orlando on the campus of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando offers over 250 families an academically rigorous interdenominational Christian curriculum. The Christ School REACH Program stands for Recreation, Enrichment, Academic support, Character development, and Health. The Christ School after school program offers opportunities for games and free-play; freedom to explore activities such as art, music and drama; support with academic assignments; opportunities to engage and build friendships; and time to nurture their own emotional, spiritual and physical health.

Family Favorite Performing Arts Program: ORLANDO REPERTORY THEATER
1001 E. Princeton St., Orlando
407-896-7365 www.orlandorep.com
The REP receives a resounding applause for its brilliant and engaging productions for young audiences. The REP also offers sensory-friendly performances of some productions, designed for children with sensitivities to bright lights, loud noises and intense action. The REP Youth Academy offers an array of classes, camps, workshops and performance opportunities for kids, even casting its students in their own full-scale productions.

Family Favorite Birthday Party Location: AIRHEADS
33 W. Pineloch Ave., Orlando
407-505-5867 www.airheadsusa.com
Turn your kid’s birthday party over to the party planners at AirHeads trampoline arena. Choose a package for 12–24 kids to bounce, jump and spring their way around this huge facility. All packages include pizza and unlimited soda. Custom birthday packages are available. Each package includes jumping for two parents (but keeping up with the kids is harder than you might think!).

Family Favorite Restaurant: VANBARRY’S PUBLIC HOUSE
4120 S. Orange Ave., Orlando
407-704-8881 www.orlandopublichouses.com
Vanbarry’s is what happened when the visionaries behind Finnhenry’s (Downtown) and Ollie’s (College Park) became parents. It’s a perfect evolution of their laid-back, simple yet still inventive vibe, which has translated into a welcoming family restaurant that features indoor and outdoor dining, a full bar, daily live music, and homemade pickles! As a nod to its downtown roots, Vanbarry’s lets kids climb all over one of the Lake Eola swan boats.

Family Favorite Sweet Treat: TWISTEE TREAT
4500 Curry Ford Rd., Orlando
407-394-1461 www.twisteetreat.com
Despite the trendy frozen yogurt shops and gourmet dessert options sprinkled through this neighborhood, it looks like families still choose the classic Twistee Treat. We’ll take classic vanilla with rainbow sprinkles, please!

Family Favorite Gymnastics: STICK IT!
6208 S. Orange Ave., Orlando
407-438-6878 www.stickitgymnasticsorlando.com
Kids can start out as tiny tumblers and work their way up to competitive-level athletes. In addition to full-service gymnastics and cheer training, Stick It! also offers summer camps and birthday parties. Plus, we really like the name!

Family Favorite Art Class: THE POTTERY STUDIO
363 N. Parramore Ave., Orlando
407-246-4488 http://cityoforlando.net/recreation/pottery-studio
A little-known secret is that the City of Orlando offers residents access to its very own pottery studio. This inviting and artistic space offers family nights to families with kids who have completed kindergarten, and the adorably named Mudslingers program to families with children ages 3 to 5.

Family Favorite Dojo: CHAMPIONSHIP MARTIAL ARTS
4511 Hoffner Ave., Orlando
407-641-1872 www.championshipmartialarts.com
Championship Martial Arts offers a Lil’ Dragons Program for kids ages 3 to 6, a Children’s Program for kids ages 6 to 12, and even a Kinder Kicks program for toddlers. Regardless of the program, the mission remains the same: To encourage and motivate students and to provide the skills needed to help them succeed in life, such as confidence, discipline, self-esteem, focus and physical well-being.

Family Favorite Support/Therapy: YOUR BRIGHT SIDE
1212 Mount Vernon St., Orlando
407-648-1000 www.yourbrightsideplc.com
At Your Bright Side, the focus is on the positive side of intervention. The practice aims to facilitate collaboration among family members and offers school support and strategy, social functioning support, and family relationship support. Parent Testimonial:“I love Your Bright Side therapy for my boys because it’s been a positive, uplifting place where the kids want to go to get their needs met! The therapists, the atmosphere, and especially the therapy dog are all so enthusiastic and inviting. The therapists truly want to help my boys! It’s not just a job for them; I drive 45 minutes just so my boys can get what they need!” ~ Mindy King

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners

2014FamFaveAwardWinner

We are so excited to reveal the winners! Congratulations to the people and places that bring such great services to Central Florida families. Explore the winners you selected by clicking the links below:

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Shop & Pamper

Best Children’s Boutique

Tugboat and the Bird
Tugboat and the Bird specializes in the unique and has become a one-stop resource for children’s clothes, accessories and toys. It has Winter Park charm and a gracious staff to assist you. 318 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-5437, www.tugboatandthebird.com

Best Toy Store

Lighten Up
This place will awaken your playful senses with its wide variety of specialty toys. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you’re sure to find entertainment among the vast selection of products. We love the assortment of educational toys and hard-to-find brands. 348 S. Park Ave., Winter Park 407-644-3528

Best Kids Resale Store

Once Upon a Child
Resale has never been easier. Drop off the items your children have outgrown, and then shop and play in-store while a worker prepares your offer. No appointment is necessary. With six locations around Central Florida and a huge selection of quality children’s clothes, baby gear and toys, it’s a convenient way to recycle and reuse. www.onceuponachildorlandofl.com

Best Local Baby Supply Store

MacroBaby
With more than 30,000 products from which to choose, this is your go-to location for all things bambino. You’re guaranteed to find a plethora of options, from bottles to blankets. Be sure to check out the in-store clothing boutique for exceptional gifting items and seasonal outfits. 1361 Florida Mall Ave., Orlando, 877-240-5379, www.macrobaby.com

Sparkled Pink

Sparkled Pink

Best Spot for Kids Mani-Pedi

Sparkled Pink
You’ll be tickled pink when you discover this fab little pampering spot in Avalon Park. This full-service salon caters exclusively to young girls while offering quality products and themed birthday parties. The Sparkled Pink space is a fun and trendy atmosphere that will make every girl feel glamorous. 457 Avalon Park S. Blvd., Ste. 200, Orlando, 407-277-2184 www.sparkledpink.com

Best Spot for Kids Haircut

Pigtails and Crewcuts
Truly a salon for the kids to call their own, Pigtails and Crewcuts has a captivating kid-friendly environment. The salon even carries a custom line of children’s hair care products. Check out the braiding classes. It’s a great way to transform the dreaded haircut experience into a positive one. 7536 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Ste. 300, Orlando, 407-351-1017, www.pigtailsandcrewcuts.com

Words by Tammara Kohler

Owner of Fused Fashion, Tammara Kohler is one of Orlando’s most sought-after wardrobe stylists and fashion event producers. She is also a local mother of four adorable children. Instagram: @fusedfashion @styletot

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Shop & Pamper

Best Children’s Boutique

Tugboat and the Bird
Tugboat and the Bird specializes in the unique and has become a one-stop resource for children’s clothes, accessories and toys. It has Winter Park charm and a gracious staff to assist you. 318 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-647-5437, www.tugboatandthebird.com

Best Toy Store

Lighten Up
This place will awaken your playful senses with its wide variety of specialty toys. Whether you’re a kid or a kid at heart, you’re sure to find entertainment among the vast selection of products. We love the assortment of educational toys and hard-to-find brands. 348 S. Park Ave., Winter Park 407-644-3528

Best Kids Resale Store

Once Upon a Child
Resale has never been easier. Drop off the items your children have outgrown, and then shop and play in-store while a worker prepares your offer. No appointment is necessary. With six locations around Central Florida and a huge selection of quality children’s clothes, baby gear and toys, it’s a convenient way to recycle and reuse. www.onceuponachildorlandofl.com

Best Local Baby Supply Store

MacroBaby
With more than 30,000 products from which to choose, this is your go-to location for all things bambino. You’re guaranteed to find a plethora of options, from bottles to blankets. Be sure to check out the in-store clothing boutique for exceptional gifting items and seasonal outfits. 1361 Florida Mall Ave., Orlando, 877-240-5379, www.macrobaby.com

Sparkled Pink

Sparkled Pink

Best Spot for Kids Mani-Pedi

Sparkled Pink
You’ll be tickled pink when you discover this fab little pampering spot in Avalon Park. This full-service salon caters exclusively to young girls while offering quality products and themed birthday parties. The Sparkled Pink space is a fun and trendy atmosphere that will make every girl feel glamorous. 457 Avalon Park S. Blvd., Ste. 200, Orlando, 407-277-2184 www.sparkledpink.com

Best Spot for Kids Haircut

Pigtails and Crewcuts
Truly a salon for the kids to call their own, Pigtails and Crewcuts has a captivating kid-friendly environment. The salon even carries a custom line of children’s hair care products. Check out the braiding classes. It’s a great way to transform the dreaded haircut experience into a positive one. 7536 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Ste. 300, Orlando, 407-351-1017, www.pigtailsandcrewcuts.com

Words by Tammara Kohler

Owner of Fused Fashion, Tammara Kohler is one of Orlando’s most sought-after wardrobe stylists and fashion event producers. She is also a local mother of four adorable children. Instagram: @fusedfashion @styletot

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Date Night

Best Restaurant

Enzo’s on the Lake
The charming and secluded Enzo’s on the Lake takes first-timers by surprise. Converted from a sprawling lakeside villa, this enchanting restaurant sits on the shores of Lake Fairy and features a spectacular outdoor sculpture garden. It’s the perfect place for a sunset champagne toast before heading inside for classic Italian cuisine and doting service. 1130 S. U.S. Highway 17-92, Longwood, 407-834-9872, www.enzos.com

Highball & Harvest

Highball & Harvest

Editor’s Pick

Highball and Harvest
This newly opened Ritz-Carlton Orlando restaurant takes the local food movement to a whole new level by bolstering its Low-Country and Cajun-inspired cuisine with provisions from the on-site 7,000-square-foot Whisper Creek Farm. Organize a couples night out, and book the interactive cocktail, where you’ll get a firsthand tutorial on how the bar chefs mix up the restaurant’s nine signature cocktails. 4012 Central Florida Pkwy., Orlando, 407-206-2400 www.ritzcarlton.com

The Wine Room

The Wine Room

Best Moms Night Out

The Wine Room
With more than 150 wines available by the 1-, 2.5- or 5-ounce pour, this Park Avenue DIY tasting bar features something to please every palate. Lots of comfy lounge chairs are available, as are savory cheese flights to perfectly pair with the vino. 270 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-696-9463, www.thewineroomonline.com

Best Dads Night Out

Liam Fitzpatrick’s
About a dozen flat-screen TVs and a slew of beers on tap make this Lake Mary watering hole a favorite among the men. With lots of guy grub on the menu, including burgers, shepherd’s pie and pastrami sandwiches, it serves as a stellar dinner spot and a fun place to watch the game. 951 Market Promenade Ave., 407-936-3782, www.liamfitzpatricks.com

Truffle & Triffle

Truffle & Trifles

Best Couples Cooking Class

Truffles and Trifles
For nearly three decades, couples have been cooking up love-filled feasts during the monthly date night cooking classes at Truffles and Trifles. Sweethearts can sip their bring-your-own wine while creating three or four dishes to be enjoyed alongside a 10- to 12-course candlelight dinner. 711 W. Smith St., 407-648-0838, www.trufflesandtrifles.com

Top 5 Cooking Classes for Couples

1. Truffles and Trifles
2. Griffin Cooking School at JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes
3. East End Market
4. Publix Aprons Cooking School
5. Farris and Foster’s Chocolate Factory

Best Couples Massage

Motherlove Massage
Set adrift together during a side-by-side massage at this whole family massage center specializing in everything from shiatsu to Thai yoga massage. PLAYGROUND Tip: Afterward, grab a bite at South and York, a spectacular farm-to-fork restaurant located nearby. 1073 Willa Springs Dr., 407-493-6657, www.motherlovemassage.com

Hidden Gem

Bodyscape Massage Therapy
Up your massage skills during a private couples massage class at this Baldwin Park spa. Within two hours, the skilled massage therapist will deliver a totally tailored tutorial on the art of sending your boo to a state of bliss. 1324 Lake Baldwin Ln., 407-893-3933, www.bodyscapemt.com

St. Augustine Photo by Kristen Manieri

St. Augustine Photo by Kristen Manieri

Best Weekend Getaway

St. Augustine
After driving less than two hours from Orlando, you’ll be arriving in America’s oldest city for a few days filled with everything from sightseeing and walking food tours to gourmet eating and hours on the beach. St. Augustine, a favorite Spanish-infused town, is steeped in a bygone romance that oozes from the architecture, landmarks and dozens of quaint B&Bs that dot the brick streets.

Editor’s Choice

Asheville
Hop on a quickie Allegiant flight out of Sanford, and escape to Asheville, N.C., where epic mountain views and quintessential farm-to-fork cuisine await. Hike through the picturesque foliage, sip beer of your choice from a slew of local breweries, and wander through the Biltmore during a jam-packed weekend jaunt you’ll never forget.

Best Kids Night Out Program

Spark! Family Enrichment Center
Drop off your kids ages 4 to 12 at Spark for a night filled with crafts, games and entertainment while you enjoy some guilt-free mommy and daddy time. The event is typically held the third Friday of the month, and the fee ($25 per child) includes dinner. 5965 Red Bug Lake Rd., #221, Winter Springs, 407-679-7775, www.sparkec.net

Swan & Dolphin

Swan & Dolphin

Editor’s Choice

Swan and Dolphin Resort
This sprawling Orlando resort offers a sweet perk for guests: two complimentary hours of Camp Dolphin with the same-day purchase of an entree at Shula’s Steak House, Todd English’s Bluezoo or Il Mulino New York Trattoria. Kids are occupied and fed while you snag some quiet time at one of three fab restaurants.

Words by Kristen Manieri

Kristen Manieri is a local mom of two and the editor and founder of the Orlando Date Night Guide, which houses 600-plus ideas and recommendations for sharing fun and meaningful quality time together in the greater Orlando area.
www.orlandodatenightguide.com

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Kiddie Culture

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Orlando Repertory Theatre

Best Kids Theater

Orlando Repertory Theatre
What kid doesn’t love fancy costumes and meet and greets with actors after the shows? The Rep is the go-to kid-friendly theater that offers fun shows with all your kiddo’s fave characters. Dr. Phillips and Altamonte Springs, www.orlandorep.com

Best Family Festival

Kids Fringe at Orlando Fringe Festival
Kids Fringe is a special part of the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival just for kids and families! Located in the sculpture gardens of The Mennello Museum of American Art, Kids Fringe offers performances by Fringe artists, workshops, hands-on art activities and more. The best part is it’s free. www.orlandofringe.org

Best Family Program or Tour

Kennedy Space Center
From the KSC Bus Tour, which gives you an up-close view of a launch pad and the massive Saturn V rocket, to the IMAX theater, which features images of the Hubble Space Telescope and life aboard the International Space Station, there’s a lot to experience at KSC. A 40-minute drive from Orlando, KSC provides an important, yet fun, history lesson. Titusville, 321-449-4440, www.kennedyspacecenter.com

Orlando Science Center Photo By RF Photography

Orlando Science Center Photo By RF Photography

Best Museum for Kids

Orlando Science Center
It’s no surprise the Orlando Science Center won your pick for best museum for kids. It’s full of learning opportunities disguised as playtime. There’s always a new exhibit to explore. Consider the yearlong membership to save money on each visit. You’ll also save on the center’s coveted camps! Winter Park, 407-514-2000, www.osc.org

Best Story Time

Orlando Public Library
From tales for tiny tots to songs, and folk and animal tales, the Orlando Public Library is the place for story time fun. The story time is held Fridays and Saturdays at the downtown library, and your kiddos will be enthralled by fascinating stories, flannel and big book stories, plus rhymes, songs and poetry. Orlando, 407-835-7323, www.ocls.info

Editor’s Choice

Discover, inspire, and create at The Craft Shack set in a charming historic house in Longwood. Local mom Debbie Helton is a whiz at arts and crafts enrichment with a recycled flair. Check the online schedule for mommy-and-me classes, open studio, after-school classes, homeschool classes, Girl Scout events, ladies nights out and birthday parties. Or rent the space for private events. Longwood, 407-448-1375, www.thecraftshackstudio.com

Hidden Gem

The Public History Center is the area’s best- kept secret. A partnership with the University of Central Florida’s History Department has enhanced programming at this facility. The building was once a public school, but is now a place for kids to learn about Florida history. We love the fact that each room has a different theme with plenty of hands-on activities to take students back in time. In the Pioneer Room, for example, kids can explore a log cabin, try on authentic clothing and work with pioneer tools. Sanford, 407-936-1679, www.scps.k12.fl.us/studentmuseum

Words by Tracey Velt

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Staycation

Best Resort Kids Club

Ritz-Carlton
You voted this the best spot for kids to have some fun while parents enjoy their free time. The Ritz Kids program at the Orlando Ritz-Carlton has creative, fun activities for kids ages 4 to 12, such as obstacle courses, eco-focused projects, crafts, dance parties and bike rides. 4040 Central Florida Parkway, 407-206-2400, www.grandelakes.com

Best Resort Pool for Families

JW Marriott
Swimming at JW Marriott is no ordinary adventure. The JW Marriott Lazy River is always a family favorite, as you drift under waterfalls and bridges. The poolside dining and bar area is open for quick bites and cocktails, and the zero-entry pool is perfect for lounging. 4040 Central Florida Parkway, 407-206-2300, www.grandelakes.com

Disney's Art if Animation

Disney’s Art if Animation

Best Resort Family Suite

Disney’s Art of Animation
What’s not to love about spacious accommodations inspired by favorite Disney animated movies? Families staying at the resort can immerse themselves in outdoor storybook landscapes seen in such classics as Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King and The Little Mermaid. 1850 Animation Way, 407-939-5000, https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts

Best Resort on a Budget

Disney’s All-Star Resorts
These resorts are a great family staycation option on Disney property. Plus, the family will love picking a themed resort of the three options: All-Star Sports, All-Star Movies and All-Star Music. Reasonable rates start at $98 a night. 1701 W. Buena Vista Drive, 407-939-5000, https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts

Best Theme Park (for Kids Under 8)

Magic Kingdom
This Disney park won for both the “under 5” and “ages 6 to 8” categories. It’s no wonder, since the Magic Kingdom touts multiple rides and adventures for the preschool pack, plus families can take advantage of the FastPass. The recently redone Dumbo ride even has an indoor play area, where families can wait until they’re next up in line. It’s great for kids ages 6 to 8 because they can ride basically everything in the park. And being that they are out of the preschooler phase, they have more steam to stay out later to enjoy evening festivities. 3111 World Drive, 407-939-5277, https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/magic-kingdom

Best Theme Park (for Kids Ages 9 to 12)

Universal Studios
The kiddos have reached that age where they are ready for some big-kid adventure, and Universal Studios definitely delivers. Despicable Me and Transformers 3D are just two of the attractions that scream tween heaven. 6000 Universal Blvd., 407-363-8000, www.universalorlando.com

Dad’s Favorite Theme Park

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
Of course, dad is up for an adventure! Kiddos and dad (heck, even mom can join!) can hop from coaster to coaster and cap off the day with a Butterbeer (nonalcoholic) at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 6000 Universal Blvd., 407-363-8000, www.universalorlando.com

Mom’s Favorite Theme Park

Epcot
What’s not to love about absorbing some culture? The annual Food and Wine Festival as well as the Flower and Garden Festival make Epcot the winner for Orlando moms. 3111 World Drive, 407-939-5277, https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/magic-kingdom

SeaWorld Antartica Penguin Habitat

SeaWorld Antartica Penguin Habitat

Best Theme Park on a Budget

SeaWorld
A day at SeaWorld means the perfect combination of education and fun without breaking the bank. The Fun Card lets you pay for a day and come back all year. 7007 Sea World Drive, 888-800-5447, www.seaworldparks.com

Best Theme Park Show

Festival of the Lion King
This long-running, live Animal Kingdom show has a new home at the Harambe Theater. It still captivates audiences daily with the songs, dances, characters and atmosphere that take you to the African savanna. 2901 Osceola Parkway, 407-939-5277, www.animalkingdom.com

Best Theme Park Special Event

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party
Dress up in your favorite costume, and collect delicious candy throughout the Magic Kingdom. The attendance is capped at a maximum number of people, and Disney characters dress up in their own Halloween costumes. 3111 World Drive, 407-939-5277, https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/destinations/magic-kingdom

Best Water Park

Aquatica
This local water park offers more slip-and-slide diversity than your average park. Check out this park’s newest addition, Ihu’s Breakaway Falls. 5800 Water Play Way, 888-800-5447, www.aquaticabyseaworld.com

Words by Amanda Keefer

An Orlando mom of two girls, Amanda Keefer blogs about food and travel for Orlando families at TheMammaMiaBlog.com.

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Education & Enrichment

Best Private School (religious)

The Christ School
106 E. Church St., Orlando, 407-849-1665, www.thechristschool.org

Best Private School (non-religious)

Park Maitland School
1450 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-647-3038, www.parkmaitland.org

Best Public School

Dommerich Elementary School
1900 Choctaw Tr., Maitland, 407-623-1407, www.des.ocps.k12.fl.us

Best Alternative/Non-Traditional School (It was a tie!)

Ampersand School
893 E. State Rd. 434, Longwood,407-960-7994, www.ampersandschool.com

Montessori School of East Orlando
2526 Percival Rd., Orlando, 407-447-5860, www.mseastorlando.com

Best Montessori School

Maitland Montessori
200 N. Swoope Ave., Maitland, 407-628-0019, www.maitlandmontessori.org

Spark! Family Enrichment Center

Spark! Family Enrichment Center

Best Tutor Center, Best Homeschool Support Resource & Best Music Class

Spark! Family Enrichment Center
5965 Red Bug Lake Rd., Winter Springs, 407-679-7775, www.sparkec.net

Editor’s Choice

Kindermusik by Grow & Sing Studios
Several class locations within Central Florida, 407-970-2774, www.growandsing.com

Best Preschool/Day Care

Primrose Schools
Several locations throughout Central Florida, www.primroseschools.com

Hidden Gem

A Kids Gym Learning Academy, 1495 Evans St., Oviedo, 407-365-6800, www.akidsgym.com

Best Field Trip

Green Meadows Petting Farm
1368 S. Poinciana Blvd., Kissimmee, 407-846-0770, www.greenmeadowsfarm.com

Best Gymnastics Facility

Legacy Gymnastics Center
143 Atlantic Dr., Maitland, 407-831-3547, www.legacygymnasticscenter.com

Best Dance Studio

The Center for Contemporary Dance
3580 Aloma Ave., #7, Winter Park, 407-695-8366, www.thecenterfordance.org

Best Karate Dojo

Championship Martial Arts
Several locations within Central Florida, http://championshipma.com

Best Performing Arts Program

Winter Springs Performing Arts Center
1425 Tuskawilla Rd.. #145, Winter Springs, 407-359-5309, www.winterspringsarts.org

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Education & Enrichment

Best Private School (religious)

The Christ School
106 E. Church St., Orlando, 407-849-1665, www.thechristschool.org

Best Private School (non-religious)

Park Maitland School
1450 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-647-3038, www.parkmaitland.org

Best Public School

Dommerich Elementary School
1900 Choctaw Tr., Maitland, 407-623-1407, www.des.ocps.k12.fl.us

Best Alternative/Non-Traditional School (It was a tie!)

Ampersand School
893 E. State Rd. 434, Longwood,407-960-7994, www.ampersandschool.com

Montessori School of East Orlando
2526 Percival Rd., Orlando, 407-447-5860, www.mseastorlando.com

Best Montessori School

Maitland Montessori
200 N. Swoope Ave., Maitland, 407-628-0019, www.maitlandmontessori.org

Spark! Family Enrichment Center

Spark! Family Enrichment Center

Best Tutor Center, Best Homeschool Support Resource & Best Music Class

Spark! Family Enrichment Center
5965 Red Bug Lake Rd., Winter Springs, 407-679-7775, www.sparkec.net

Editor’s Choice

Kindermusik by Grow & Sing Studios
Several class locations within Central Florida, 407-970-2774, www.growandsing.com

Best Preschool/Day Care

Primrose Schools
Several locations throughout Central Florida, www.primroseschools.com

Hidden Gem

A Kids Gym Learning Academy, 1495 Evans St., Oviedo, 407-365-6800, www.akidsgym.com

Best Field Trip

Green Meadows Petting Farm
1368 S. Poinciana Blvd., Kissimmee, 407-846-0770, www.greenmeadowsfarm.com

Best Gymnastics Facility

Legacy Gymnastics Center
143 Atlantic Dr., Maitland, 407-831-3547, www.legacygymnasticscenter.com

Best Dance Studio

The Center for Contemporary Dance
3580 Aloma Ave., #7, Winter Park, 407-695-8366, www.thecenterfordance.org

Best Karate Dojo

Championship Martial Arts
Several locations within Central Florida, http://championshipma.com

Best Performing Arts Program

Winter Springs Performing Arts Center
1425 Tuskawilla Rd.. #145, Winter Springs, 407-359-5309, www.winterspringsarts.org

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Maternity

Best Midwife

Kaleen Richards
Feel empowered with Kaleen Richards, a nurse practitioner midwife at Tree of Life Birth and Gynecology in Deland. After starting her career as a doula and birth educator, Richards soon moved to midwife, where she works to develop strong bonds with her patients. She’s respectful of your wishes and will empower you to achieve a natural childbirth. Check out the new birth center opening in College Park in December. Tree of Life Birth Center, 335 S. Woodland Blvd., Deland, 386-279-0145, www.treeoflifebirthfl.com

Cynthia Koerner DoulaBest Labor Doula

Cynthia Koerner
Cynthia Koerner has been working in the birth field since 2002, and (bonus!) she is also a lactation consultant and massage therapist. Her passion for supporting women has driven her to educate soon-to-be parents on the many birth options available. She strives to help you choose the right one for you and your baby. Birthingwithheart@gmail.com, 407-341-6718, www.birthingwithheart.com

pat lindsey lactationBest Lactation Consultant

Pat Lindsey
With more than 30 years’ experience helping moms breast-feed and babies nurse successfully, Pat Lindsey is a board-certified lactation consultant with a special touch. She started her career with La Leche League in Orlando and later established her private practice in Maitland. An office visit with Pat includes a complete assessment of mother and baby, allowing Pat to offer guidance and support for a comfortable breast-feeding experience. Maitland, 407-215-0400, patibclc@aol.com, www.patlc.com

Best OB-GYN

Dr. Melissa Moore
Dr. Melissa Moore of Winter Park OB-GYN has been practicing in Orlando since 1999. In this time, she has developed an outstanding reputation and has been nominated several times as one of the best baby doctors in Orlando. Dr. Moore also is very involved in Juvenile Diabetes Research, currently serving on the board of directors. Winter Park OB-GYN, 100 N. Edinburgh Dr., Ste. 200, Winter Park, 407-645-5565

Best High-Risk OB-GYN

Dr. Ahmed Al-Malt
Dr. Al-Malt at Fetal Diagnostic Center of Orlando specializes in the diagnosis, treatment and management of high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Al-Malt is committed to providing the highest level of expertise through compassion and dedication to excellence. Fetal Diagnostic Center of Orlando, 615 E. Princeton St., Ste. 240, Orlando, 407-897-3737, www.fetaldiagnostic.com

Best Fertility Doctor

Dr. Gary W. DeVane
Dr. Gary W. DeVane developed the first in vitro fertilization (IVF) program in Orlando, earning him recognition as a leading fertility doctor. His goal is to provide high-quality IVF treatment using cost-effective minimal approaches to ensure that all couples have access to this treatment. You can find Dr. DeVane at the Center for Reproductive Medicine, of which he is a founding partner. Offices in Orlando, Lake Mary and Celebration, 407-740-0909, www.ivforlando.com

Best 3-D/4-D Ultrasound

Little Life Imaging
Little Life Imaging uses cutting-edge 3-D/4-D ultrasound technology in its Winter Garden location to bring images of your unborn baby to life. Have your gender determination celebration at Little Life’s office for up to eight guests. 213 S. Dillard St., Ste. 110, Winter Garden, 407-892-1059, www.littlelifeimaging.com

Best Support Group

Lika’s Leaking Ladies
Lika’s Leaking Ladies has a mission to help local mothers breast-feed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information and education. The group, which is overseen by an experienced lactation consultant, offers a safe place to ask questions, get answers, and share frustrations and beautiful moments with other mothers. The free group meets every Thursday at 11 a.m. Tree of Life Birth and Gynecology, 819 E. 1st St., Ste. 4, Sanford, 407-878-2757

Best Pregnancy Yoga Class

Full Circle Yoga
Full Circle Yoga’s prenatal yoga class includes work on breathing awareness, flexibility and strength to help make pregnancy more comfortable and prepare your body for birth. Open to all levels and babies who are not yet crawling. Full Circle Yoga, 972B Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-644-3288

Best Moms Group (It was a tie!)

Baldwin Park Kids Club
www.meetup.com/Baldwin-Park-Kids-Club

The Heathrow Modern Moms
www.meetup.com/Heathrow-Modern-Moms

pregnantbelly

Best Hospital for Delivery

Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies
Winnie Palmer Hospital is home to leading physicians, surgeons and specialists, as well as one of the nation’s largest and most successful neonatal intensive care units. Delivering 12,000 to 15,000 babies a year, the neonatal unit is the fourth-largest in the United States. 83 W. Miller St., Orlando, 321-843-9792, www.orlandohealth.com/winniepalmerhospital

Best Pediatrician

Dr. Lorena Acosta
Dr. Lorena Acosta is a graduate of the University of Florida and has extensive training in pediatric emergency medicine at Arnold Palmer Hospital. She has found her home at Middleton Pediatrics, where she continues to do what she loves—keep children healthy! Middleton Pediatrics, 200 E. Marks St., Orlando, 407-284-6460, www.middletonpediatrics.com

Hidden Gem

Dr. Cornelia Franz is the founder and owner of The Franz Center in Orlando, a pediatric practice specializing in integrative medicine, homeopathy and Chinese medicine. Dr. Franz also recommends and refers to massage therapists, craniosacral therapists, and practitioners in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. The Franz Center, 3160 Southgate Commerce Blvd., Ste. 64, Orlando, 407-857-8860, http://drcorneliafranz.com

Editor’s Choice

The Baby Place at Florida Hospital Altamonte features amenities often found in private birth centers. It is the only one of its kind located in a hospital. This special unit allows mothers to customize their labor and delivery experiences. Experience immediate skin-to-skin contact with your baby while working with a midwife and relaxation aides to assist with a natural birthing process. 601 E. Altamonte Dr., Altamonte Springs, 407-303-5405, www.floridahospital.com/altamonte/labor-delivery

Words by Juliana and Samantha Geisler

Juliana and Samantha Geisler are sisters-in-law and founders of The Prego Expo, Central Florida’s premier pregnancy, parenting and baby expo. The Prego Expo is designed to help expecting and new parents plan for the bumpy road ahead by bringing the best local and national services, baby products and experts under one roof. The Prego Expo is scheduled for March 29 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. www.thepregoexpo.com

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Party Time

birthdayparty

It is party time!

Best Birthday Party Location

My Gym
It’s no wonder Central Florida parents chose this as a fave party spot. Kids can sing, dance and move while certified instructors lead them in structured activities. Best of all, the workers do it all, from serving refreshments and cake to cleaning up, leaving you extra quality time with your birthday tot. Lake Mary, Maitland, Orlando/Dr. Phillips and Waterford Lakes, www.mygym.com

Best Birthday Party Planner

Lolerica Entertainment
Local dad and mom Hans and Erica Fideau started this uber-achieving party planning
service after having their daughter, Lola. Different party packages make it easy for you to determine how much work you want off your plate. Choose from royal events to superheroes and animated characters. 407-446-9421, www.lolericaentertainment.com

Best Entertainment

Lolerica Entertainment
This mom-and-pop local entertainment company screens and hires only local actors and performers to bring the super cute characters to life! Choose from princesses and princes to Elmo and Superman. www.lolericaentertainment.com

Hidden Gem

MerNation offers real-life mermaid performers as a one-of-a-kind party entertainment in your own pool. MerNation offers a wide range of birthday packages for all needs and budgets. Whether you would like a mermaid meet and greet with party guests or a full-service birthday party with in-water mermaids, activities, mermaid makeovers and a special gift for the birthday child! www.TheMerNation.com

Best Face Painter

Once Upon a Party
Once Upon a Party’s artists produce some super-wow designs, from a Batman mask to a full-face butterfly. Your kiddo will never want to wash off the cool designs.
www.onceuponaparties.com

Best Balloon Artist

Once Upon a Party
From balloon artists ready to shape balloons into animals to full-sized creations to decorate your party room, Once Upon a Party will create anything you can dream up. From arches to princesses, the creativity will amaze. www.onceuponaparties.com

Best Party Activities

Once Upon a Party
Central Florida parents spoke loud and clear that Once Upon a Party was the best place for party activities. The company will bring the characters and offer photo ops with your child’s fave character (think Elsa, Peter Pan, Captain America, Captain Jack Sparrow). Dancing, games and crafts can be customized. www.onceuponaparties.com

Editor’s Choice

Need a kid-friendly DJ? The super professional team at The Event Specialist offers a great DJ who keeps the crowd intertained with games and “sick beats.” We love the other cool offerings, such as carnival rides, a mini riding train, and photo booths. www.birthdaypackages.com

Best Bounce House Rental

Pilar’s Party Playhouses
With a huge selection of bounce houses, slides, games and water inflatables, Pilar’s Party Playhouses is a go-to for Central Florida parents who are planning birthday parties. Call or text to reserve your inflatable, and be sure to check out the website for specials. 407-913-4686, www.pilarspartyplayhouses.com

Words by Tracey Velt

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2014 Family Favorite Award Winners: Play Time

Best Mall Play Area

Altamonte Mall
Take a buying break, and let your pint-sized bargain hunter blow off some energy climbing, sliding and running as you strategize your next shopping spree. 407-830-4422, www.altamontemall.com

Best Indoor Playground

Amaya Papaya
Adults play free. That’s right, admission for your lil’ papaya includes entrance for two adults, and you can bring in outside food—that is, if you’ll want to take a break from the unending fun of the fix-it area, sensory sandbox, creativity corner, paint wall and neighborhood square. 407-339-7529, www.amayapapaya.com

SemoranSkateway

Semoran Skateway

Best Skating Rink

Semoran Skateway
Disco fever, anyone? Take the family for a spin at Semoran Skateway. Tiny tot times, adult night (must be 16 or older) and preteen skate times are but a few options at this stellar skating rink. 407-834-9095, www.semoranskateway.com

Guests Strike Up Fun at Splitsville Luxury Lanes

Guests Strike Up Fun at Splitsville Luxury Lanes

Best Bowling Alley

Splitsville
Automatic bumpers, alley-side food services, and kids getting to crash a ball into 10 pins—BOOM! Nothing says family fun like a night of bowling at Downtown Disney’s Splitsville. For the sophisticated bowlers, it even has a bar and prepared-to-order sushi. 407-938-7467, www.splitsvillelanes.com

Best Arcade

Dave and Buster’s
Here adults and kids play together in arcade heaven. With deals like eat-and-play combos, Taco Tuesdays and half-price games on Wednesdays, you’ll hit the high score with your kids. 407-541-3300, www.daveandbusters.com

Best Movie Theater

Aloma Cinema Grill
Family night out is ultra-efficient at Aloma Cinema Grill. Enjoy an adult beverage, fresh appetizers, quality entrees and yummy dessert—all served to your table. There’s no dining and dashing as you enjoy the movie while you eat. 407-678-8214, www.alomacinemagrille.com

Best Active Indoor Activity

My Gym
You’ve got your gym; they’ve got theirs. My Gym offers activities for every child from 6 weeks to 13 years old. Art enthusiasts refine motor skills with hands-on activities and physical fitness while little bundles work on audial and special exploration through music and movement. 407-644-2595, www.mygym.com

Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

Photo by Roberto Gonzalez

Best Educational Activity

Orlando Science Center
Orlando Science Center offers fun, discovery and education around every corner. Touch animal bones, learn how an orange grove functions, and brave some tough winds. These are but a few of the fabulous finds lurking around the Science Center. 407-514-2000, www.osc.org

Best Free Activity

Downtown Disney
Kiddos can dig for dino bones at T-Rex Café, build at the Lego Store and try on their fave princess dresses at the virtual dress-up mirror in World of Disney. Be sure to stop by for a taste of Ghirardelli chocolate, and cool off at the splash pad during the summer months. http://www.disneyworld.com

Hidden Gem

The Winter Garden Heritage Foundation invites kids and adults to hop aboard for a completely hands-on, self-guided tour of a retired train car. Kids love turning the steering wheel, climbing up on a passenger seat and exploring. Afterward, they’ll enjoy exploring old tractors and a fire truck, located just a stone’s throw away. www.wghf.org

Best Splash Pad

Dr. P. Phillips Community Park
It’s cheap, and it’s fenced in—need we say more? Activities for the bigger and little ones in your group, such as water cannons, padded sprinkler areas and shaded picnic tables (for mom and dad), make DP’s splash pad perfect for everyone. 407-254-9045, www.drphillips.org

Best Park/Playground

Lake Eola
We know it’s impossible to get all of your kiddos’ energy out, but Lake Eola’s playground offers a good opportunity to take on the task. Divided for itty-bitties as well as not-bitty-anymores, this playground is the perfect pick. www.cityoforlando.net

Turkey Lake Park

Turkey Lake Park

Top 5 Playgrounds in Central Florida

  1. “Castle park” (aka Community Playground) in Winter Park is completely wooden and completely fun for everyone. www.cityofwinterpark.org
  2. Chapin Stationin Winter Garden features two sections: one for younger kids and another for older kids. High climbing areas, swings and a large sandbox are but a few of the fun elements offered. Don’t forget to explore the secret butterfly garden, located near the park office. www.cwgdn.com
  3. Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, in the MetroWest area, offers many playgrounds for all ages. A game of tag on the high playground is the perfect way for adults to take some playtime with the kids and grab a belly full of laughs. www.cityoforlando.net
  4. Central Winds Park on Lake Jesup. One playground structure, three stories tall. Need we say more? www.winterspringsfl.org
  5. Fort Mellon Park in Sanford offers separate areas for various ages, basketball courts and a splash area.

Best Bike Trail

West Orange Trail
Whether your pedaling legs are prepared for five or 20 miles, the West Orange Trail is a great place for your entire team. Ample shade, beautiful scenery, the occasional playground and water locations to wet your whistle are what earned this trail the Best Bike Trail in Central Florida. www.bikeflorida.net

“Our family uses the West Orange Trail several times a week. The wide, paved, tree-lined and naturally landscaped path provides a peaceful escape for our family. It’s perfect for everyone from our 7-year-old son to grandparents. We enjoy family challenges on the trail, which include a yummy steak dinner after completing a certain number of accumulated miles. Our son Luke (9) has completed 950 miles in the last 2.5 years, and Jacob (7) has biked 250 miles in the last year and a half.” ~Kimberly Fulmer of Winter Garden

Best Hiking Trail

Wekiwa Springs State Park
Reachable wilderness is the name of the game at Wekiwa Springs. Families love sampling nature through scenic, carved-out pathways. Trail lengths vary, making some paths traversable for even your teenier tots. www.floridahikes.com

Best Mini Golf

Congo River Golf
There is no better idea than giving your child a metal club and telling him he can swing it in proximity to his siblings. Of course, we’re talking about mini golf. This is the place to be, with eight locations in Florida and scenery that puts you right in the middle of the Congo on a family adventure full of fun … and hopefully with no injuries. 407-248-9191, www.congoriver.com

Best Spot to Pick Fruit

Pappy’s Patch
Pappy’s Patch lets families waltz right into the middle of the farm and pick their own fruit. When you think you’ve got enough fruit to make pies, smoothies and afternoon snacks, Pappy’s crew will weigh it, and you pay for it. Partake of something from the concessions, such as a strawberry milkshake (when in season), and let the kids play on the playground and zip down the free (kid-sized) zip line. 407-366-8512, www.pickyourown.org

IMG_4786Best Petting Zoo

Green Meadows Petting Farm
Imagine any farm animal. You’ll find it at Green Meadows Petting Farm. Want to milk a cow? You can do that. Want to hold baby ducks? You can do that. Want to catch a chicken? Yep, you can do that too. Complete with a train ride, Green Meadows farm is the perfect place to get your petting on. 407-846-0770, www.greenmeadowsfarm.com

Best Farmers Market

Winter Park Farmers’ Market
Enjoy some outdoor time at this family-friendly market every Saturday from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. You’ll find yummy produce and plants that are grown in Central Florida. Why not gather the kiddos and grab a bite of baked goods for breakfast next Saturday? 407-599-3397, www.cityofwinterpark.org

Zoom!

Zoom!

Best Zip Line for Kids

Zoom Air Adventure Park
Zoom Air offers a treetop zip line and ropes course outside the front entrance of the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens that is perfect for the big and small adventurer. Zoom through the tree canopy, traverse rope bridges and suspended decks, and soar on zip lines. There are several different shaded courses for all adventure levels. This is one place kids (and parents) can actually act like monkeys. 407-330-0767, www.zoomair.us/orlando

Best Family-Friendly Beach

New Smyrna
Hate making the mile-long trek from the car to the beach, loaded down with toys, chairs and umbrellas? New Smyrna Beach allows guests to drive right on the sand for fun in the sun without playing the part of pack mule. 386-736-2700, www.cityofnsb.com

Words by Jenny Fauser

Jenny Fauser, a Winter Garden mom of three, enjoys getting her family out to play around town as often as she can. Jenny’s a freelance writer and marketing consultant who loves to share her love of Central Florida fun. Reach her at jenny@ttcmedia.com, and share what you love to do in the area.

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