2015 Readers’ Choice Awards
Central California Parent Magazine’s Eleventh Annual Readers’ Choice Awards
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.
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.
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.
When the mercury soars past 100 degrees families flee to waterparks! The Island Waterpark and Family Fun Village (Fresno 559-277-6800) makes the biggest splash with families, followed by Wild Waters (Clovis 559-299-9453).
Ideal Indoor Sport Center
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) and Aerosports Trampoline Park (4155 E. Ashlan Avenue, Fresno 559-554-9981) are 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 The Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County (19450 Avenue 21 ½, Chowchilla 559-665-7107).
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.
Gymnastics Beat (5620 W. Barstow, Fresno 559-271-9400) jumps in to take the cake for best party place, followed by Aerosports Trampoline Park (4155 E. Ashlan Avenue, Fresno 559-554-9981).
Want the entertainment to come to you? Our readers voted E&M Reptile (559-539-2944) number one kids’ party entertainer. Wild Child Adventures (559-352-3667) came in a close second.
Families flip for Gymnastics Beat’s youth and adult gymnastics, tumbling, cheer and pep conditioning, and toddler and pre-kinder development. (5620 West Barstow Ave #103, Fresno 888-GYM-BEAT or 559-271-9400) The Little Gym (9525 N. Sommerville Dr., Fresno 559-433-3434) and My Gym (1990 N. Fowler Avenue #109, Clovis 559-765-2565) with a variety of gym programs for kids came tumbling in second.
Mini Monets voted California Arts Academy (4750 N. Blackstone Avenue, Fresno 559-222-6539) as the best art studio for their drawing, sketching, painting, improvised art and color theory art classes for preschoolers to teens. Children’s Art Studio (809 E. Lansing Way, Fresno 559-226-4791) comes in second with their art fun classes.
California Arts Academy receives the most accolades for classes ranging from ballet to Irish dance (4750 N. Blackstone Avenue and 1401 N. Wishon Avenue, Fresno 559-222-6539). The Dance Studio of Fresno (7491 N. Palm Bluffs Avenue, Fresno 559-432-0267) waltzes in a close second.
The water’s great and so is the instruction at SwimAmerica (1205 N. Willow Avenue, Clovis 324-SWIM (7946), voted best swim school fins down by families. Jan Thomas Swim School (1849 N. Willow Avenue, Clovis 559-299-2468) came in second by just a stroke.
Fresno School of Music (1085 E. Herndon Avenue, Fresno 559-439-6609) hits a high note offering piano lessons (group and private) for kids.
Bell’s Kenpo Karate (5460 W. Spruce Avenue, Fresno 559-276-8873) achieves a black belt in this category. Dethrone Base Camp (3069 W. Bullard Avenue, Fresno 559-252-3820) 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, The Tutoring Club (779 Herndon Avenue, #105, Fresno 559-325-3512) help kids make the grade in reading, math, writing, college prep and more! Also scoring high are 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 Cullinan Education Center (8485 N. Fresno Street, Fresno 559-435-3276 and 613 N. Akers, Visalia 559-635-7601).
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 Fresno Christian School (7280 N. Cedar Avenue, Fresno 559-299-1695) and St. Anthony’s School (5680 N. Maroa, Fresno 559-435-0700)
Grade A Preschool
Top marks go to Brighten Academy Preschool (1825 Austin Avenue, Clovis 559-294-1310; 290 N. Villa Avenue, Clovis 559-298-7880). Also praised by parents: The Growing Patch (5560 W. Spruce, Fresno 559-435-4934 or 559-970-1514).
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) and 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 tied for THE best place for pizza.
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 Chick-fil-A (8040 N. Blackstone Avenue, Fresno 559-432-3622 and 765 E. Shaw Avenue, Fresno 559-226-1967) and McDonald’s (many locations throughout the Central Valley).
Whether you need a spoon or a straw, mouthwatering treats that top the list are found at Yogurtland (170 E. Paseo Del Centro, Fresno 559-431-1171). Menchie’s, Coldstone and Yodigity come in a cool second.
Mall with the Most
River Park (on Blackstone Avenue north of Herndon Avenue) with its outdoor ambiance is tops with families when it’s time to shop or just hang out. Fashion Fair Mall (645 E. Shaw Avenue, Fresno 559-224-1591) garnered it’s share of votes.
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) is second for greeting the newest member of the family.
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).
Children say “cheese” most often for Kimi-G Photography (9626 W. Barstow, Fresno 559-448-6337).
Hairdo’s Done Right
Whether it’s that emotional first hair cut, a bang trim or a buzz cut, the shear favorite is 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). Cool Cuts 4 Kids (635 N. Herndon Avenue, Clovis 559-325-7348) came in second by a hair.