Central California Parent Magazine’s Twelfth Annual Readers’ Choice Awards

By Central California Parent

Keeping kids outfitted, finding fabulous places for fun and even knowing where to grab a bite to eat are all in a day’s work for us parents. To make it easier we decided a little networking was in order. So once again Central California Parent Magazine polled all you moms and dads out there to tell us what’s worth raving about—and we heard you loud and clear! Thanks to everyone who filled out the Reader’s Choice Award Ballot—we’re sure lots of other families will enjoy checking out your picks.

Most Amusing

Roeding Park’s Storyland (890 W. Belmont Ave., Fresno 559-264-2235) where fairy tales come alive as kids walk into the pages of a storybook comes through loud and clear as one of the winners in our Entertainment & Amusement Centers category. Close behind are Blackbeard’s (4055 N. Chestnut Diagonal, Fresno 559-292-9000) and Boomers (7354 N. Abby St., Fresno 559-432-9684) with their arcades, miniature golf, race track and more for family fun.

Best Beasts

The Chaffee Zoo, open every day of the year in Fresno’s Roeding Park (894 W. Belmont Avenue, Fresno 559-498-5910), continues to be the favorite place to see animals. The zoo is home to more than 730 mammals, birds, reptiles and the Winged Wonders Bird Show.

Waterpark Pick

When the mercury soars past 100 degrees families flee to waterparks! Wild Waters (Clovis 559-299-9453)

makes the biggest splash with families, followed by The Island Waterpark and Family Fun Village (Fresno 559-277-6800).

Ideal Indoor Sport Center

The Jungle Party House (located in Sierra Vista Mall, Fresno 559-325-1021) scored a goal with our readers this year. Skywalk, Fresno’s Ultimate Trampoline Arena (10432 Highway 41, Madera 559-326-2022) is second on the list for flying through the air and fun any day!

Must See Museum

There’s nothing musty about The Discovery Center (1914 N. Winery Avenue, Fresno 559-251-5533), where science, nature and regional history adventures await. Also popular is ImagineU Children’s Museum (210 N. Tipton Street, Visalia 559-733-5975).

Standing Ovation

Children’s Musical TheaterWorks (2425 N. Fresno St. #101, Fresno 559-442-3150) received a standing ovation from Fresno families. California Arts Academy’s theater productions (4750 N. Blackstone Avenue and 1401 N. Wishon Avenue, Fresno 559-222-6539) also received rave reviews.

Party Pleasers

The Little Gym (9525 Sommerville Drive, #109, Fresno 559-433-3434) jumps in to take the cake for best party place, followed by 2xtreme Jump Arena (5940 E. Shields Avenue, #104, Fresno 559-765-0208).

Want the entertainment to come to you? Our readers voted E&M Reptile (559-539-2944) and Oklin Bloodworth (559-284-2671) number one kids’ party entertainers.

Fantastic Gymnastics 

Families flip for The Little Gym’s activities for kids (9525 N. Sommerville Dr., Fresno 559-433-3434) including parent/child classes, gymnastics, dance, sports skills and karate. Gymnastics Beat (5620 West Barstow Ave #103, Fresno 888-GYM-BEAT or 559-271-9400) with a variety of gym programs for kids came tumbling in second.

Palette Pleaser

Mini Monets voted The Artist in Me (First and Herndon, Fresno www.theartistinme.us) the best art studio where children and adults can experience the intuitive art process together. California Arts Academy (4750 N. Blackstone Avenue, Fresno 559-222-6539) comes in second for their drawing, sketching, painting, improvised art and color theory art classes for preschoolers to teens.

Finest Footwork

The Dance Studio of Fresno (7491 N. Palm Bluffs Avenue, Fresno 559-432-0267) receives the most accolades for classes in tap, ballet, hip hop and more. California Arts Academy (4750 N. Blackstone Avenue and 1401 N. Wishon Avenue, Fresno 559-222-6539). waltzes in a close second.

Super Strokes

The water’s great and so is the instruction at Jan Thomas Swim School (1849 N. Willow Avenue, Clovis 559-299-2468) voted best swim school fins down by families. SwimAmerica (1205 N. Willow Avenue, Clovis 324-SWIM (7946) came in second by a stroke.

Most Noteworthy

Fresno School of Music (1085 E. Herndon Avenue, Fresno 559-439-6609) hits a high note offering piano lessons (group and private) for kids.

Karate Kudos

Pacific Martial Arts (Fresno and Clovis, 559-226-2600) achieves a black belt in this category. Bell’s Kenpo Karate (3622 W. Shaw Avenue, Fresno 559-276-8873), Ultimate Martial Arts (7731 N. First Street, Fresno 559-261-2805) and Quan’s Bushido-Kai Martial Art (6687 N. Blackstone Avenue, Fresno 559-439-9320) are also popular.

Best ABC’s and 1-2-3’s

Voted the Valedictorian of tutoring centers, Cullinan Education Center (8485 N. Fresno Street, Fresno 559-435-3276 and 613 N. Akers, Visalia 559-635-7601) help kids make the grade in reading, math, writing, college prep and more! Also scoring high are Kumon (1170 E. Champlain Dr. 559-433-9344 and 6701 N. Milburn Avenue, Fresno 559-372-5939, 729 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford 559-583-0477), Mathnasium (6021 N. Palm Avenue in Opus 1 Shopping Center, Fresno 559-449-0104 and 2950 E. Nees Avenue, #107 at Willow, Fresno 559-862-4598) and California Learning Connection (2505 W. Shaw Avenue, Fresno 559-228-9100)

Premier Private School

Fairmont Private School (435 W. Fairmont, Fresno 559-226-2347) made the grade for their kindergarten and first grade program. Also receiving top marks are St. Anthony’s School (5680 N. Maroa, Fresno 559-435-0700) and Immanuel Schools (1128 S. Reed Avenue, Reedley 559-638-2529).

Grade A Preschool

Top marks go to Kids Kare Schools (various locations in Fresno, Clovis and Madera 559-275-1169) Also praised by parents: Brighten Academy Preschool (1825 Austin Avenue, Clovis 559-294-1310; 290 N. Villa Avenue, Clovis 559-298-7880, 2016 Shaw Avenue, Clovis 559-299-8100), The Growing Patch (5560 W. Spruce, Fresno 559-435-4934 or 559-970-1514) and the Huggins Early Education Center at Fresno State (5005 N. Maple Avenue, Fresno 559-278-0225).

Winning Work Out

GB3 (Clovis 559-323-4414; Fresno 559-297-8656; Palm 559-438-3003) has the most muscle when it comes to working up a sweat.

Favorite Family Night Out

Families flock to Red Robin (In Fresno: Sierra Vista Mall, 559-299-4500 and River Park Shopping Center, 559-436-4200; in Visalia: Walnut and Mooney Blvd., 559-436-9200) for the casual atmosphere, great kid’s menu and reasonable prices.

Pizza with Pizzaz

No matter how you slice it or top it Me n’ Eds (locations in Fresno, Clovis, Madera and Oakhurst) is THE best place for pizza. John’s Incredible Pizza (7095 N. Cedar Avenue, Fresno 559-323-1111) with its virtual games, bumper cars, laser tag, glow golf and an infinite variety of video games came in a close second.

Fast Food Find 

When the wheels on the mini-van go ‘round and ‘round all around the town, you’re sure to hear the refrain “I’m hungry!” from the back seat. In-N-Out (call 800-786-1000 for all locations) came in as the real crowd pleaser followed by Panda Express (many locations throughout the Central Valley).

Tummy Yummies

Whether you need a spoon or a straw, mouthwatering treats that top the list are found at Menchie’s (Riverside Country Club Avenue, Fresno 559-277-0277, 3090 W. Shaw Avenue, Fresno 559-274-9002 and 785 W. Herndon Avenue, Clovis 559-298-2878) and Coldstone (7971 N. Blackstone Avenue, Fresno 559-449-8155 and 5076 N. Palm Avenue, Fresno 559-225-0437). Leilani Shave Ice (1097 E. Champlain Drive, Fresno 559-840-2102 and 1177 N. Willow Avenue, Clovis 559-900-7950) came in a cool second.

Mall with the Most

Sierra Vista Mall (Clovis and Shaw Avenues, Clovis 559-299-0660) with its variety of retail stores, movie theater and restaurants is tops with families when it’s time to shop, catch a movie or just hang out. River Park (on Blackstone Avenue north of Herndon Avenue) garnered it’s share of votes.

Special Delivery

Birthdays are best at Clovis Community Medical Center (2755 Herndon Avenue, Clovis 559-324-4000). St. Agnes Medical Center (1303 E. Herndon Avenue, Fresno 559-450-3000) and Kaiser Hospital (7300 N. Fresno Street, Fresno 559-448-4500) are second for greeting the newest member of the family.

Finest Fashions

Resale clothing

Looking for lots of clothes but don’t want to break the bank? Welcome to the world of resale! Parents recommend Just Between Friends (consignment sales twice a year in Fresno and Visalia 559-623-9205).

Picture Perfect

Children say “cheese” most often for JC Penny Portrait Studio (555 E. Shaw Avenue, Fresno 559-227-5813).

Hairdo’s Done Right

Whether it’s that emotional first hair cut, a bang trim or a buzz cut, the shear favorite is Cool Cuts 4 Kids (635 N. Herndon Avenue, Clovis 559-325-7348). Supercuts (Clovis 559-324-9253; Fresno 559-434-1452; Tulare 559-686-7147; Hanford 559-583-6591; Madera 559-674-9710; Visalia 559-627-4366) came in second by a hair.

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