Best Things To Do for 2016 LOVE Awards
There is a lot to love about our community. So it’s no surprise that when we ask you each year to tell us who some of the most family-friendly, fun, exciting, delicious, and influential businesses are around Philadelphia, you have no problem answering. The next time you need … anything … simply turn to this list of amazing and outstanding companies.
Use the category buttons below to surf through the winners! Or see the entire list.
Best Area Attraction
It was the first zoo in the U.S., and it’s still our favorite. A beautiful space with a multitude of animals from around the globe, we particularly love the interactive exhibits the zoo has embraced of late, including the hands-on fun of Kids Zoo U and the awe-inspiring views of stunning creatures available through Zoo360.
3400 W. Girard Ave., Philadelphia; philadelphiazoo.org
1 Riverside Dr., Camden, NJ; adventureaquarium.com
Please Touch Museum
4231 Avenue of the Republic, Philadelphia; pleasetouchmuseum.org
Best Art Classes
Philly Art Center
With three locations and oodles of classes, these neighborhood favorites in Cherry Hill, Queen Village, and Fairmount are sure to offer up the perfect creative outlet for your pint-sized Picasso. More than just art classes, the centers also offer music, birthday parties, camps, and playgroups.
Locations in Cherry Hill, Fairmount, and Queen Village; phillyartcenter.com
Palmer Pond Art Center
1431 E. Montgomery Ave., Philadelphia; palmerpondarts.com
Fleisher Art Memorial
719 Catharine St., Philadelphia; fleisher.org
Best Children’s Theater
This small theater with a dynamic and impressive line-up of shows is the perfect place to immerse kids in the magic and pull of live shows. Kid-centric shows are matched with classes, workshops, and camps for those little ones who want to move from the seats to the stage.
40 N. Second St., Philadelphia; ardentheatre.org
Walnut Street Theatre
825 Walnut St., Philadelphia; walnutstreettheatre.org
PAPAYA, PA Performing Arts for Young Audiences
Best Dance Studio
The Philadelphia Dance Academy
For dancers who are ready to turn a hobby into a skill, The Philadelphia Dance Academy provides exceptional dance training in a professional and positive environment. Programs prioritize refined technique, dancer wellness, and artistic development and aim to strike a healthy balance between structure, discipline, and cultivating the joy of dance.
“I love to see so many families in Philadelphia who value dance not only for its beauty but for the values of commitment, self-discipline, attention to detail, and perseverance that it teaches our children,” says director Lori A. Lahnemann.
219 Cuthbert St., Philadelphia; philadelphiadanceacademy.com
15 Cavalier Dr., Ambler; a2dance.com
Merge Dance Studio
4047 Cresson St., Philadelphia; mergedancestudio.com
Best Drama Classes
Curtain Call Performing Arts Center
In a nurturing and non-competitive environment, Curtain Call allows children through adults develop their acting talents, self-esteem, and make lasting friendships. Owner Anne Kessler works hard to feature every child in productions, which fosters self confidence. This focus, combined with the talents of a staff of certified educators create a well-rounded curriculum that brings together the performing arts with language arts and literacy.
“I grew up in Philadelphia and attended Philadelphia public schools,” says Kessler. “I am proud that I am a positive contributor to the arts and to education. Philadelphia is a wonderful city for performing and fine arts. I am happy to continue to be a part of that.”
3815 Church Road Suite 11, Mount Laurel; curtaincallpac.com
Yes! And… Collaborative Arts
21 W. Washington Lane, Philadelphia; yesandcamp.org
Act II Playhouse
56 E. Butler Ave., Ambler; act2.org
Best Gymnastics Program
Roth’s CrossPoint Gymnastics
Roth’s CrossPoint Gymnastics strengthens minds and bodies through gymnastics and tumbling classes, camps, and clinics for ages 1 to 17. From parent-child classes to their USA Gymnastics competitive boys and girls team, the focus is on love for the sport and instruction by knowledgeable, enthusiastic coaches.
“We enjoy watching children learn gymnastics along with so many life lessons this sport provides…courage, determination, hard work, patience, humility, and perseverance,” says owner Christina Roth. “We also love watching their confidence grow as they learn their first cartwheel or handstand. It is a privilege to coach and teach our next generation!”
7 Creek Parkway Suite 750, Boothwyn; crosspointgymnastics.com
722 Chestnut St., Philadelphia; relentless-fitness.com
500 Kenilworth St., Philadelphia; phillyinmovement.com
Best Indoor Play Space
Jumpers Family Fun Zone
Pent-up energy is no match for the highflying fun at this suburban destination. A laid back atmosphere, unlimited jump time for one price, and the end result of happy-but-tired kids make this perfect for rainy days, birthdays, or any day that needs a little pick-me-up.
“Philadelphia is where we grew up, and to know that I can provide a family fun environment to the community makes it all worth while,” says owner Paul French. “We love to be able to give back to the community with fun raisers and donations to those in need.”
5117 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square; funatjumpers.com
10 Conchester Road, Glen Mills, PA; skyzone.com
Oasis Family Fun Center
35 Lacrue Ave., Glen Mills, PA; oasisfamilyfun.com
Best Martial Arts Program
Martial Posture Studio
Offering martial arts and kickboxing classes for kids as young as 4 up through adults, this neighborhood studio is known for it’s welcoming vibe and professional staff of instructors who offering up attitudes, a willingness to help others, and an ability to share and teach important skills in a friendly and encouraging manner.
2100 Chestnut St., 2nd Floor, Philadelphia; martialposture.com
Arrow Martial Arts and Fitness
1612 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown; arrowmartialartsandfitness.com
3219 Concord Road Aston; amkorkarate.com
Best Mommy-and-Me Program
NEST Center City
This child’s wonderland of imaginative play space also happens to host some of the most fun parent-involvement programs around, allowing the youngest of families to get acquainted with all NEST has to offer, like Children’s Activity & Enrichment Center for families with little ones 6 weeks to 6 years old offering 3000-square-foot play space, parties, a hair salon, boutique, and snack café.
“We love being a part of the families’ development!” says Keiko Kimball Gouty, general manager. “We have little ones start with us at 6 weeks old; watching them laugh, learn, start walking, thrive, and making friends at NEST is a great feeling!”
1301 Locust St., Philadelphia; nestcentercity.com
Hall Mercer Parent and Child Center
245 S. Eighth St.; med.upenn.edu/hallmercer
627 S. Second St., Philadelphia; bilingualbutterflies.com
Best Music Program
Music Monkey Jungle
Kids need a new way to shake those sillies out? Music Monkey Jungle’s music, movement, and dance sessions provide interactive fun for little ones. Classes original songs, dances, and games designed to provide core music, dance, movement, and physical educational objectives, all while allowing for a ton of fun.
“I thoroughly enjoy working with our partnering locations, who are all small businesses in Philadelphia as well,” says creative director Lori Turner. “We all believe in each other’s causes and as a result, blossom, grow, and bloom to our fullest potential while working together.”
Settlement Music School
Locations in Queen Village, Germantown, the Northeast, Willow Grove, Wynnefield, and Camden; smsmusic.org
Jump, Jive, & Jam!
Best Place for Birthday Parties
Primp and Play
A birthday at the spa sounds lovely. Your kid’s birthday party at the spa – even better! Primp and Play is a full-service day spa and birthday party event space. How? One part of the beautiful space is a spa, the other a kid-friendly craft area. While usually the parents are the ones in the manicure chair, Primp and Play’s birthday parties are all about the kids with fun treatments like chocolate facials. “The diversity of our party space is something that generates a lot of compliments – it works for art classes, a Star Wars-themed birthday party, or a princess party complete with manicures, facials, and glitter tattoos,” says owner Tara Murphy. “Parents are always thrilled that we handle everything for them from paper products to decor so they can enjoy the party.”
249 S. 10th St., Philadelphia; primpandplay.com
Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse
3500 Reservoir Dr., Philadelphia; smithplayground.org
Bette’s Fun Center
2971 W. Dutton Mill Road, Aston; bettesfuncenter.com
Best Sports Program
Soccer Shots Philadelphia
Foster a love of the game and some fancy footwork with this much-loved program’s state-tested curriculum, high-quality coaching, and holistic communication. Thanks to a team of great coaches, Soccer Shots is known for its positive impact on young, growing kids.
“Philly families are straight forward, and you have to win their hearts through hard work and quality programming,” says director Thomas Rockett. “This keeps us on our toes to show all children an excellent experience week in and week out.”
Matt Paul Sports
Best Swim Lessons
Goldfish Swim School
Make the water safe and fun with lessons from this adorable center. Highly trained instructors, small class sizes, warm 90-degree pools, and a state-of-the-art water purification system are paired with brightly colored décor for an experience the whole family can appreciate.
“Parents and children come in with smiles on their faces and are ready to swim when they arrive at our facility,” says owner Meg Kevane. “We are lucky to be part of such a supportive community.”
185 Commerce Dr. Fort Washington; goldfishswimschool.com
West Philadelphia YMCA
5120 Chestnut St., Philadelphia; philaymca.org
Christian Street YMCA
1724 Christian St., Philadelphia; philaymca.org