2016 Family Favorites

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FAVORITE INDOOR PLACE TO PLAY

Winner: OMSI

For hands-on fun with science, you can’t beat OMSI. Watch for upgrades to the venerable Turbine Hall over the next few years, and for a new blockbuster exhibit on space exploration, opening this summer.

Honorable Mentions:
Southside Swap & Play, The Circuit Bouldering Gym, Portland Children’s Museum

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FAVORITE PLACE TO THROW A BIRTHDAY PARTY

Winner: Oaks Amusement Park

Southern California can keep Disneyland. We’ll take the charm and history of Oaks Park anytime. Keep an eye out for a new indoor playspace with interactive games and wifi for parents, opening in June.

Honorable Mentions:
Oregon Zoo, Pietro’s Pizza, Mt. Scott Community Center Park

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FAVORITE KID-APPROVED EATERY

Winner: Hopworks Urban Brewery/Bikebar

Ah, Hopworks. Still the best and biggest kid play areas in town, and they’ve given their kid menus a healthy update — you can now sub in steamed broccoli, carrots and celery, or apple slices. (And if you stick with the fries, they are organic!)

Honorable Mentions:
Laughing Planet Cafe, Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, New Seasons Market, Slappy Cakes

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FAVORITE PLACE TO BUY KID GEAR (NEW)

Winner: Thinker Toys

Raise a glass to Thinker Toys, which turned 21 this year. Insiders know to keep an eye on this Multnomah Village institution’s Facebook page for special flash sales on great kid toys and gear.

Honorable Mentions:
Finnegan’s Toys and Gifts, Kids at Heart Toys, Oodles 4 Kids

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FAVORITE PLACE TO BUY KID GEAR (RESALE)

Winner: Piccolina

You never know what gems you’ll find at Piccolina and our other honorees — the inventory of high-quality, gently used baby and kid gear is always changing.

Honorable Mentions:
Beanstalk, Bella Stella, Hoot-N-Annie

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FAVORITE DROP-OFF CHILD CARE

Winner: Academy Theater

Go retro this summer at the Academy Theater’s celebration of vintage flicks from the 1970s, while the kids hang out at the cinema’s cool babysitting space, for just $9.50 per kid for the length of the movie.

Honorable Mentions:
IKEA Portland, The Children’s Gym, WeVillage, Little Gym of Lake Oswego

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FAVORITE DESSERT SPOT

Winner: Cloud City Ice Cream

The flavors at beloved Woodstock scoop shop Cloud City change with the seasons — visit them this summer for roasted cherry marscarpone, a goat cheese/fresh lemon curd combo and mint chocolate chip with fresh mint.

Honorable Mentions:
Salt & Straw, Nectar Frozen Yogurt and Lounge, Pip’s Original Doughnuts

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FAVORITE FESTIVAL AND FAIRS

Winner: Portland Rose Festival

The Rose Festival has been PDX’s signature summer event for over 100 years, and this year’s no exception — look for the MLS champion Portland Timbers as the Grand Marshals of this year’s Grand Floral Parade on June 11.

Honorable Mentions:
Multnomah Days, KidFest, Sunday Parkways, Oregon State Fair

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FAVORITE LOCAL KID ENTERTAINER/ENTERTAINMENT

Winner: Northwest Children’s Theater and School

From the friendship-is-the-best tale of Elephant and Piggie to their feminist retelling of Snow White, it was a banner year for Northwest Children’s Theater and School. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2017!

Honorable Mentions:
Oregon Children’s Theatre, Red Yarn, Broadway Rose Theatre Company, Echo Theater Company

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FAVORITE PLACE TO GET CREATIVE

Winner: Art School Studio

The lucky kids who visit Art School Studio may see their work on display around town; recently, student art was installed at the nearby New Seasons Market in Woodstock.

Honorable Mentions:
The Craft Factory, SCRAP PDX, Portland Children’s Museum

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FAVORITE SUMMER CAMP

Winner: Trackers Earth

A generation of PDX kids has come home muddy and joyous after a summer camp session at Trackers Earth. Now the organization is prepping to open a “forest kindergarten” coming in September.

Honorable Mentions:
Oregon Zoo, Portland Early Learning Project, Friends of Tryon Creek