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The Philly Family Community’s 2020 LOVE Award Winners and Family Favorites

This year's Best for Families picks, chosen by the community!

LOVE Awards season is our favorite time of year— it is so rewarding to help readers take advantage of all Philly has to offer, from events to great resources that help make our jobs as parents a little easier. Our brand started with a desire for connection, and we are so grateful that thousands of you in our community group continue to share your lives, struggles, celebrations, and advice with us.


We met back in February to decide on the winners, after poring over heartfelt testimonies and having some spirited discussions. As always, we notified the winners on Valentine’s Day and looked forward to our annual celebration at World Café Live. Tickets were sold, plaques were ordered…and then coronavirus hit. We sadly canceled our party and our Best For Families guide, as everyone scrambled to become homeschool teachers, Zoom experts, and mask seamstresses while keeping our brands going. Instead of events and openings, we found ourselves covering virtual events and highlighting ways local businesses and community members have stayed connected and helped one another through the darkness.


With everything closed, it seemed out-of-step to catalog all the great businesses you couldn’t go to during quarantine! But LOVE is never canceled, and with things reopening, the time is right to celebrate. Below, find our list of this year’s LOVE Award Winners and Family Favorites, along with a selection of testimonials we’ve received from nominators. Click on a category below to get started. 


Play            Dwell               Thrive               Learn             Shop


Over the weeks, you’ll also see our Founder and CEO Sarah Bond virtually “present” plaques to some of our winners on our social media channels, so be sure to look out for those videos. And thank you again for all your nominations and for your continued support of Philly Family and our community.

Celebrations & Play

Art Experience

Wonderspaces, Center City

“While Wonderspaces is fun and highly Instagrammable, it will take you beyond accumulating some photos on your phone and ask bigger questions about what it means to interpret, collaborate, and view art.”



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Family Favorite: Art Splash at Philadelphia Museum of Art

Family Favorite: Photo Pop


Delaware River Waterfront

“From skating at the RiverRink to art at Cherry Street Pier, and so much more, the Waterfront is the place to be for food, events, and family fun!”



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Family Favorite: The Oval

Family Favorite: Christmas Village


Birthday Parties



Birthday Parties


Smith Memorial Playground, Fairmount Park


Family Favorite: NEST Center City

Drinking with Your Kids

Craft Hall, Northern Liberties

“Kids have a safe, enclosed place to play so parents can relax and actually enjoy a meal and a drink.”


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Family Favorite: Parks on Tap

Family Favorite: PHS Pop-Up Garden

Family Favorite: Frankford Hall

Family Event

Philadelphia Flower Show, Center City

Kids will love that there are lots of little surprises, hands-on opportunities, and ways to learn.”


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Family Favorite: Philadelphia Chinese Lantern Festival

Family Favorite: Philadelphia Science Festival

Family Favorite: Wawa Welcome America


Flip Out Productions, Kensington

“Our family has followed Katie to multiple locations as her business has continued to grow over the last seven years. She has an almost magical rapport with all of the kids in her classes, which range from toddler up! She beams positivity and teaches beyond gymnastics, instilling self-confidence, courage, and support of teammates. Her students are very diverse, coming from many income levels and ethnic backgrounds- Katie and all of her instructors really love all of these kids and they all seem to grow and thrive in the environment she has created for them at Flip Out!”


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Family Favorite: InMovement

Family Favorite: Relentless Fitness

High Flying Adventure

Philadelphia Zoo’s WildWorks, Fairmount Park

“Much like the incredible Zoo360 system of trails and tunnels that allow animals like tigers and monkeys to roam above the zoo, WildWorks gives people the chance to see the zoo from a new aerial perspective!”


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Family Favorite: Philadelphia School of Circus Arts

Family Favorite: Tree Top Quest

Indoor Sports Facility

Phield House, Spring Garden

“We LOVE the Phield House! They have saved our girl’s basketball, ultimate frisbee, and girls’ lacrosse seasons at Science Leadership Academy (SLA). As you may already know, SLA was forced out of its new building in the beginning of October due to asbestos. With our relocation, we lost our gymnasium for basketball and indoor facility for preseason workouts for girls lacrosse and ultimate frisbee. The partners over at Phield House worked with us to ensure that our students would not suffer because of the failure of the district to provide us with the necessary facilities. For that, we are forever grateful! We could not imagine more supportive community partners! They didn’t assist us for the glory – they did it because they are truly passionate about providing high-quality athletic opportunities for kids and supporting the community at large.”


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Family Favorite: Philly Rock Gym

Family Favorite: Skate The Foundry


Kith + Kin, Brewerytown

“Kith + Kin is an incredibly warm, welcoming space. Its beautiful, sunlit interior and playful mural, in addition to the generous amount of play space and play ‘things’ makes it a space you want to come back to, over and over. K + K offers a wide variety of classes that show the owners’ attention to the whole child and whole parent! This is a place where both children and families can expand on their friendships and support network. Staff members are friendly, open, and inquisitive, and quickly make you feel like a member of the K + K community. They are receptive to feedback and work to accommodate the needs of their clientele.”


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Family Favorite: NEST Center City

Family Favorite: Beehive at Bok

Family Favorite: Kids at Play

Rock Out With Your Kids

Kidchella (Smith Playground), Fairmount Park

“This concert series has become a wonderful summer fixture in Philly, creating a space for kids and families to play, eat, and enjoy music together. It’s also a great excuse to play outside a little later into the evening as the days get longer!”


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Family Favorite: Live at Sister Cities Park

Family Favorite: Rock n’ Roar at Philadelphia Zoo

Seasonal Pop-Ups

Dilworth Park, Center City

“Skate in the winter, splash in the summer!”


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Family Favorite: Sister Cities Park

Sensory Friendly Experiences

Philadelphia Eagles

This year, the Eagles became one of the first sports franchises to build a state-of-the-art sensory room in its home venue of Lincoln Financial Field. This addition is yet another step the Eagles are taking to help change the lives of those with autism. Every year, they host the Eagles Autism Challenge, an event dedicated to raising funds for innovative autism research and programs. 


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Family Favorite: ArtReach

Family Favorite: Play Without Boundaries, Please Touch Museum

Home & Garden     


Safer Babies

“From the first consult with Joe to the finishing touches of installation, he has exceeded our family’s expectations in providing a safer and more comfortable home WHILE being aesthetically pleasing. His guidance from everyday household hazards to what materials would work best with our ‘city vertical’ home was thorough and genuine. His work has made my one-year-old have the freedom of roaming around without my husband and I being on edge that an accident may occur with the stairs. Joe installed gates and plexiglass to cover the openings of our stairs while placing latches that lock on our easily accessible cabinets. His passion for creating a safer and more comfortable environment for parents (and grandparents) shines in his work. I couldn’t be happier that I was referred to this local company and my friends are thrilled as they are eager to set up a consult.”


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Family Favorite: Home Hero

Dog Training

HD Dog Training


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“HD Dog Training has been the best investment we could have made for our family. Our family suffered an incredible loss when we had to rehome our oldest dog after behavior issues led to an injury at home. We had been working with a trainer for six months when the accident took place. After putting our other two dogs through training with HD my husband and I agree that had our family found Rob and Tineisha sooner we most likely could have prevented and/or maintained the behavioral issues that had arisen. Our previous trainer failed us and our family. Rob and Tineisha took the time to listen to us, our fears, our goals and every single question we had. Our dogs took quickly to Rob and Tineisha, loving each training session, showing off their new skills and all the treats. Our dog that once took us for a walk is now walking in stride with us and sitting at every corner. Our wild and mouthy puppy is now well mannered and eager to listen. Our main objective was to have two well-trained dogs that could coexist in our home and HD Dog Training exceeded our expectations.”


Health & Wellness


Restorative Harmony, Center City (Rittenhouse)

“Caroline is not only a stellar acupuncturist, but puts her whole heart and soul into her work with women who are struggling with their fertility. She is gentle, non-judgmental, trustworthy, and caring in her approach, and is deeply educated and intuitive in her practice. Anyone could benefit from work with her.”


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Family Favorite: Barefoot Doctor

Birthing Classes

Blossoming Bellies



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“Brittany is an amazing childbirth education teacher. She has such a great reputation in the city for all of her classes! We call her our pelvic guru as she is so knowledgeable about the pregnant woman’s pelvis, and many other things, for that matter! More than one of my birth doula clients have used her for their childbirth ed classes and they all rave about her. We share a similar philosophy and it has been a great combination for my clients. She is also just a really amazing woman! She is always offering great classes for the birth community in Philly which are really helpful in our work.”

Breastfeeding Support

Breastfeeding Resource Center – Abington


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“As a first-time mom, this organization helped me navigate the ups and downs of breastfeeding my new baby. They sat with me, listened to me on the phone, and helped prepare me for success. Even helped me plan my back to work strategy, and 8 months later, my little one and I are still at it!”


Ohm Family Chiropractic, South Philly

“Justin Ohm and Ohm Family Chiropractic have such a great reputation in the city for helping pregnant and postpartum women, and everyone else for that matter! When I had asked around a while back as to who would be a good chiropractor to send my clients to, his name came up time and again. I decided to go visit him myself first before recommending my clients to him and now I go and see him on a regular basis! He has a great bedside manner, nice and calm and friendly. Great guy and great practice! So knowledgeable!”


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Family Favorite: Experience Chiropractic


Christine’s Care & Compassion

“Christine helped me climb the tallest mountain of my life; giving birth without major interventions. She gave me the knowledge and strength I didn’t know I needed, and consequently I was able to have the birth I had always wanted. She is a consummate professional, both on the business side and on the human compassion side. She was by our side every step of the laboring journey, and was my advocate the whole way. It is rare to have such an impactful experience from anything these days, and I’m forever grateful to Chris for the extreme care and support she provided. We would ask her again and again to be our doula. She even went so far as to secure backups that we met and felt comfortable with in case she couldn’t make it for the birth, a true testament to her professionalism. She deserves to be nominated for her thoroughness, experience, and overall exceptionalism in how she manages and carries out her business. But most importantly, she shows a true passion for what she does, and it blurs the lines of what a business is expected to even do. Simply amazing resource for women and the community in general!”


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Family Favorite: Born with Love

Family Favorite: Northern Star


Womanwise Midwifery

“The women at this practice gave me the space to birth safely with power and peace. They are genuine, informative, and kind. We are so thankful for a wonderful experience!”


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Dr. Jake at Top of the Hill, Chestnut Hill


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“So thoughtful, thorough, good at their work, and great with kids!”

Pediatric Dentist

Dr. Abbey at Top of the Hill, Chestnut Hill


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“They have done everything to make sure my children receive proper care and learn how to take care of their teeth. They have bought candy bars my daughter was selling for school because they ‘don’t want other kids to eat them’ and get a cavity. They are also very involved in their community which means a lot. My children LOVE going to see them.”


Center City Pediatrics, Graduate Hospital

“The office is amazing. Very accommodating and family-focused. Dr. Chiang is our favorite doctor. She is kind, practical, and always willing to answer a million questions!”

Family Favorite: Fairmount Pediatrics

Physical Therapy

Odyssey Physical Therapy


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“I worked with Kristin throughout my second pregnancy due to back and pelvic pain issues. I only wish I’d known about her during my first pregnancy. She is truly amazing and I can’t thank her enough for making this pregnancy less painful for me. I am now working with her on my postpartum recovery. She is amazing!”

Potty Training

Miss Catherine


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“Where can I even begin? Being a mom and not knowing if you are doing it right – Catherine has made me feel so much better. She is all things childhood with potty training and sleep training. She has so much knowledge and is truly smart- but the best part is how down to earth and personal she is. She takes the time to get to know your family your dynamic and make a plan that works for you and your child! Cannot recommend her enough!!”

Sleep Consulting

Not a Peep

“I cannot say enough good things about Maria. My two-year-old was going through a terrible sleep regression and after four weeks of trying everything, my husband and I reached out to Maria for help. We felt helpless and defeated, but Maria responded to our inquiry right away and set up a time to meet with us. After just an hour with Maria, we felt better. She was respectful and definitive, and gave us specific changes to make that felt achievable. We had lost all confidence in our routine and approach, but Maria followed up with a comprehensive sleep plan that told us exactly what to do. On night three of following her plan, our son went to sleep without issue and slept through the night for the first time in over a month. It seemed too good to be true! And he’s been sleeping well ever since. Maria followed up with text messages and words of encouragement until we were both confident that our son’s sleep schedule was back on track. If my son or daughter ever have a sleep issue again, Maria will be our first call!”


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Family Favorite: Confident Parenting

Therapy/Support Group

Whole Heart Maternal Mental Health, Rittenhouse


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“Perri has saved my life with her kind listening ear, making me feel validated and seen.”

Women’s Fitness

Be Well with Beth

“The early weeks after giving birth to my first child, I was barely getting off the couch and had the “baby blues”/post-partum depression. I saw Beth’s workouts on Instagram and, having been very active before the arrival of the baby, it was finally something that seemed doable with a six-week-old that I wanted to do. I arrived at the first class and Beth has this calm, warm personality that is perfect for new moms who are going through those rough early weeks and months. Her workouts were perfect to ease me back into working out, and offered ways to keep challenging me as the weeks passed and I got back into shape in a safe and fun way. She offered modifications for every workout when a baby wants to be held, so you can continue to get in a full-body workout. It also was a way to connect with other new moms on maternity leave, giving me another support network!”


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Family Favorite: Active Mom Fitness

Family Favorite: Fit4Mom

Yoga Studio

Yoga Brain, East Falls

“It’s one thing to support a local business just because it’s local and super-convenient, it’s another to support it because they truly offer a great service and are actively driving positive contributions to the community.”


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Family Favorite: Mama’s Wellness Joint 

Family Favorite: Unity Yoga

Education & Enrichment     

Childcare Center

Mi Casita, Fairmount

“We have returned to Philadelphia after four years abroad and during those four years, we welcomed two littles into our family. Mi Casita has been a welcoming space to ask questions. Cynthia has been an ever-patient, guiding light for questions as dumb as what type of lunch boxes do kids use to bigger questions about transitioning a four-year-old into U.S. life. Our teachers are incredibly patient and kind as well as SUPER good at what they do!! They have gotten my silly headstrong kiddo to love reading on his own and curious about literacy.”


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Family Favorite: KinderCare

Family Favorite: Primrose Center City

City Camp

Independence Seaport Museum, Waterfront

“I love that the kids get out on the water everyday.”


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Family Favorite: PlayArts

Family Favorite: Franklin Institute Discovery Camp

Dance Studio

Philadelphia Dance Academy, Old City

“Philadelphia Dance Academy creates a positive space for children and teens to learn to dance and grow as artists. The culture is inclusive, positive, and progressive. My child loves ballet and spends a good portion of her free time pursuing this art form, so I appreciate how nurturing and fun the teachers are at Philadelphia Dance Academy.”


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Family Favorite: Sound Space Performing Arts

Family Favorite: Merge Dance Studio

Day Camp

Tall Pines Day Camp

“Tall Pines is an amazing summer day camp that gives kids so many ways to challenge themselves, make new friends and just have fun! 2020 marks the third year that my son will be going to Tall Pines. He has so much fun, but it has opened his horizons on his abilities. It has made him more confident and outgoing. Tall Pines is a wonderful program that really supports our kids, giving them so many opportunities to shine.”


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Family Favorite: JCC Camps at Medford

Family Favorite: Liberty Lake Day Camp

Family Favorite: Summerside Camps at SCH Academy

Environmental Programming

Independence Seaport Museum, Waterfront

“Their commitment to highlighting the life, importance, and conservation of the Delaware River Watershed to kids through programming and River Alive! gives me hope that our future generations will be stewards of nature.”


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Family Favorite: Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education

Family Favorite: Wissahickon Environmental Center (Tree House)

Kids’ Transportation


“ShuttleBee has been an amazing partner in delivering door to door transportation service for our Center City families to our NW Philly school. The ‘yellow bus’ was a long ride for kids and often unreliable but ShuttleBee has offered a new, safe and convenient option for families. The GPS vehicle tracking and real time resource of the ShuttleBee dispatcher makes this service all more the better!”

Language Program

Bilingual Butterflies

“I started my son with their Spanish language classes about two years ago. He is a shy kid and the classes really helped him to open up. He has developed a new curiosity for languages now and has developed a knack for Spanish. The quality of the teachers and their offerings during the school year, as well as their awesome summer camp, really rounds out our homeschool curriculum. The instructors are awesome. Bilingual Butterflies is an excellent family program in the Philadelphia area. My daughter will be attending there as well as soon as she’s old enough.”


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Family Favorite: Spanish Workshop for Children

Music Class

Mister John’s Music, South Philly

“Mr. John’s is amazing! Every teacher we’ve worked with has been very attentive to our child and so FUN! He was so shy the first time we came and now stands in the middle of the room and dances with friends. The adults get to learn about a new artist each week and the kids get to experiment with a ton of instruments, movements, and toys. Mr. John’s makes learning music fun for the whole family!”


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Family Favorite: Rhythm Babies

Family Favorite: Children’s Music Express

Family Favorite: Enchanted Music Together

Music Lesson

Settlement Music School, multiple locations throughout Philadelphia

“Settlements Music School (SMS) is the biggest and oldest non-profit music school for kids in the nation. It’s so wonderful to see how these little kids advance from barely competent to outstanding performers by the time they reach college age. Their music training increases their self-esteem as they master their instrument through hard work, persistence, and dedication. SMS opens doors for many Settlement Music School graduates who can’t afford college except through music scholarships. A good number of SMS grads win music scholarships, becoming the first kids in their families to get a college degree. I love attending the children’s recitals. These kids are learning valuable life lessons that will stay with them for the rest of their lives!”


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Family Favorite: Philly Music Lessons

Family Favorite: School of Rock

Performing Arts Programming

Music Theatre Philly, Center City

“The teachers are really great! They work very hard with the kids throughout the year and help the kids put on a very entertaining performance for their friends and family. MTP offers a wide range of activities to pique kids’ interest, and the classes are available after school and on the weekends. They also offer really great summer camp classes.”


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Family Favorite: StoryUP!

Family Favorite: Arden Theater

STEM Learning


“Our son loves LEGOs, and Snapology is all about learning, through play, through LEGOs…. Larry offered several possible activities, all LEGO-based; we ultimately went with an activity that had the kids build their own model race car, which could then be programmed to move and turn. The kids were paired up and even the parents got involved, helping kids follow the directions as they built the car, then used iPads to ‘program’ the cars to do what they wanted. The kids were squealing with delight as they raced their cars all through our basement. Larry himself was *AWESOME*–kind, infinitely patient, and a true professional.”


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Family Favorite: BSD Education

Swim Lessons

Fitness Alive, Center City and South Philly

“They have done outstanding work building their business to serve the Center City families and community. They have done this with stellar swimming lessons, fitness lessons for adults of all ages, and most importantly teaching many children (including my own) how to swim.”


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Family Favorite: Goldfish Swim School, Fort Washington

Shopping & Style


Head House Books, Society Hill/Headhouse Square

“Just a great vibe, superior service mentality, creativity around inventory selection, significant focus on children’s books and early literacy. Just a perfect place.”


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Family Favorite: Joseph Fox Bookshop

Family Favorite: Big Blue Marble Bookstore

Consignment Sale

City Kids Consignment Sale, South Philly


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“This is a great sale and Lilypad is a great resource for Philadelphia families!”

Family Photography

Rae Barnes Photography

“Rae has a creative gift; the quality of her work is evidence of her talent. It’s so easy to work with Rae since her demeanor is calming and professional. She is wonderful with kids and captures a variety of sweet moments that I find it extremely difficult to narrow down her shots. Rae is certainly one of the best in her field; I love her work!”


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Family Favorite: Carolyn Clement

Family Favorite: Diana Smyth

Family Favorite: Stinsman Photography

Kids’ Hair Salon

Nest, Center City


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“Mariah is the best kid hairdresser in the city! Hands down!”

Maternity/Newborn Photographer

Jessica Catherine Photography


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“Jessica Catherine Photography makes the newborn photography experience so easy and enjoyable for parents and allows families to capture these beautiful first few moments together stress-free. Jessica approaches her work with such diligence, ensuring that everything from the client experience to the end product are as perfect as they can be. She is wonderful with babies and children and her images are truly timeless.”

Portrait Photography

Tricia Pompilio


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“Have you ever tried to get great pictures of a tween? Between the sullen looks and the eye-rolling, you get about five seconds to capture the smile that could melt the world. And if you’re like most of us – you’ll still be pulling out your phone when that smile fades back into the eye-roll. But if you’re Tricia, you capture every one of those smiles and more. For the second time in as many years, Tricia has given my daughter a collection of photos every rising star could only hope for. In a two-hour headshot session, there are so many smiles, so many special moments for us to choose. She knows the city like the back of her hand – so when she needs the perfect light, the perfect background, the perfect mood, she finds it. It’s no wonder she and her sister collaborated so well to create the book Walking Philadelphia. And if capturing the smile on a tween is hard, just imagine what it must be like to wash away the tired eyes and bring out the pure joy of bringing a newborn home. Tricia makes it look easy, but I know that photographing babies, siblings, and new parents cannot be that simple. Take a quick scroll through her Instagram and you’ll know quickly why Tricia Pompilio deserves this award!”

Toy Store

Momo’s Tree House, Old City and Graduate Hospital

“Momo’s Tree House as an excellent selection of toys and games for kids. The staff has always been very understanding and accommodating when my child likes to touch and feel everything! They have also helped me when on the hunt for the perfect Christmas and birthday gifts.”


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Family Favorite: Tildie’s Toy Box

Family Favorite: Villavillekula



Philadelphia Family is published by a team of local women to connect families raising their kids in the city with resources, events, and each other. Learn more about us, our mission, and our method for supporting local businesses at familyfocus.org.