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Best of the East Bay 2011

Winners as Chosen by Parents' Press Readers

     Everybody loves a winner, and we’ve got hundreds of them for you right here, in our first ever Parents’ Press Best of poll.
What an undertaking! We conspired to develop a thorough ballot that would recognize an array of kid-friendly goods and services throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. We then conducted two simultaneous online polls with identical ballots, one contest for Alameda County and another for Contra Costa County. Readers’ picks are listed here. There are ties in a few categories, and we could not resist listing some runners up and honorable mentions.
     Thanks to all who voted in our online polls, and thanks as well to those readers who filled in our abbreviated paper ballot. We plan to do our readers’ poll annually, so if you missed this year’s poll, you’ll have a chance in 2012.
Send feedback about the contest — from our categories and winners to our balloting process — to me, Judith M. Gallman (judy@parentspress.com), editor.
     Congratulations to all the awesome Best of 2011 Parents’ Press winners. Without further ado, here they are.

Alameda County Winners


Child Care Center
Winner: Tudorka Tots Infant and Child Center
Tudorka Tots has been caring for children ages 0 to 5 in a comfortable and welcoming home-like setting since 2005. With an onsite chef, tots are treated to nutritious, organic meals and immersed in a multicultural learning environment that offers music, art, field trips and story times. The staff speaks numerous languages, including Mandarin, Spanish, Hungarian, Cantonese and Vietnamese. Owner Renata Zimany, a native
of Hungary, says Tudorka prides itself on being the kind of child-care facility where children are happy to arrive and sad to leave. “We hold special events throughout the year and invite all of our families,” Zimany says, citing an Easter extravaganza that was attended by more than150 people and featured games, activities, good food and a petting zoo. With two locations in Oakland, Tudorka Tots has offered little ones a chance to master basic life skills such as getting along with others and sharing. Tudorka Tots pupils also get a head start on subjects including math, art and writing. “And potty training,” Zimany adds with a smile. “Most of our 2-year-olds have already mastered that skill.” 5040 Mountain Blvd., 1200 Campus Drive, Oakland, (510) 717-8494, www.tudorkatots.org

Honorable Mention: Blue Skies for Children, Oakland; Claremont Day Nursery, Berkeley, Oakland, Kensington; Happiness Hill Preschool & Daycare, Castro Valley

Child Care Referral and Support Agency
Winner: Bananas

Since 1973, Oakland-based Bananas has been providing local families and caregivers with support groups, parenting workshops and referrals to babysitters, day-care centers and preschools. Whether you want to learn infant CPR or baby massage, meet other parents with toddlers or special-needs children or prepare for the teen years, the staff at Bananas can help. 5232 Claremont Ave., Oakland,
(510) 658-7353, www.bananasinc.org

Runners Up: Berkeley Parents Network, Swiss Cheese Childcare Collective, East Bay

Best Family Child Care Center
Winner: Bonnie’s Premier Daycare Academy, San Leandro


Runner Up: Tudorka Tots, Oakland

New Moms Support Group
Winner: East Bay Moms, www.eastbaymoms.com

Runners Up: Bananas, Oakland; FUN Moms, Fremont, Union City, Newark; Support Group for Mothers, Albany


Co-op Preschool
Winner: Children’s Community Center, Berkeley

Parents and their children are both an integral part of Children’s Community Center, considered the oldest cooperative preschool west of the Mississippi. The school, operating since 1927, adheres to the theory that preschool children learn best through play. CCC is located in an incredible space with gardens, trees and trails to explore, and parents and children find themselves learning and making lifelong friends through the art projects, field trips, cultural activities and other activities they experience at CCC. 1140 Walnut St., Berkeley, (510) 528-6975, www.cccpreschool.org
Runners Up: Broadmoor Preschool, San Leandro; Castro Valley Co-op, Castro Valley; Sheffield Village Preschool, Oakland

Elementary Charter
Winner: Lighthouse Community Charter School

As a charter school, Lighthouse offers local K–12 students another public school alternative. With a curriculum emphasizing solid academics, art, music and language programs, Lighthouse also supports parents by regularly holding a series of Family Learning Nights that outline how to support your child in literacy and math as well as how to help your child maintain a healthy diet.  444 Hegenberger Road, Oakland, (510) 562-8801, www.lighthousecharter.org

Runner Up: Alameda Community Learning Center, Alameda

Public Middle School
Winner: Lincoln Middle School, Alameda

Not only does Lincoln Middle School receive rave reviews from parents and students, but it also has received accolades from state educators. In May, Lincoln was designated a California Distinguished School, making it one of 97 middle and high schools to earn the distinguished honor in 2011. The school impressed state educators with its English language learner support program for students learning English as a second language as well as a program that focuses on groups of students struggling with state tests. The largest of Alameda’s middle schools with nearly 1,000 students, Lincoln has established a solid reputation as a high-performing school with a diverse student body, strong parent involvement, sports teams and extracurricular activities that ensure students are challenged both in and out of the classroom. 1250 Fernside Blvd., Alameda, (510) 748-4018, www.alameda.k12.ca.us

Runners Up: Martin Luther King Middle School, Berkeley; Montera Middle School, Oakland

Public Elementary Schools
Winner: Crocker Highlands Elementary School, Oakland

One of the few public elementary schools to receive a nine out of 10 rating from www.greatschools.org, Crocker Highlands Elementary School boasts active parent involvement plus an edible teaching garden and a stellar after-school program with sports, yoga, Lego engineering, hip-hop, Spanish and Mandarin among the offerings. In the age of budget cuts, Crocker’s PTA, staff and students are committed to holding year-round fund-raisers to ensure their neighborhood school continues to offer top academic and extracurricular programs.
525 Midcrest Road, Oakland, (510) 451-5900, www.crockerschool.org

Honorable Mention: Bay Farm Elementary, Alameda; Chabot Elementary, Oakland; Franklin Elementary, Alameda; Independent Elementary, Castro Valley; Thousand Oaks, Berkeley; Vannoy Elementary School, Castro Valley

Montessori Preschool
Winner (tie): The Berkeley School, Berkeley; Montessori Family School, Berkeley

Runner Up: Pacific Coast Montessori, Oakland

Waldorf Preschool
Winner: Children’s Place Preschool, Fremont

Religious Preschool
Winner: Gan Mah Tov Preschool, Oakland

Runners Up: A Kid’s Kingdom, Castro Valley; St. Joseph’s Preschool, Fremont; Temple Sinai Preschool, Oakland

Nonreligious Preschool
Winners (tie): Bonnie’s Premiere Daycare Academy, San Leandro, http://www.bonniespremierdaycareacademy.com/


Step One Nursery School, Berkeley; Tudorka Tots, Oakland

Runners Up: Bright Horizons at Garner Learning Center, Alameda; Gay Austin Nursery School, Berkeley; Mills College Children’s School, Oakland

Elementary Montessori
Winner: The Berkeley School, Berkeley

Religious Elementary
Winner: Oakland Hebrew Day School, Oakland

Runners Up: Assumption Catholic School, San Leandro; St. Philip Neri, Alameda; St. Theresa’s Catholic School, Oakland

Nonreligious Elementary
Winner:  The Academy, Berkeley

Runners Up: Beacon Day School, Oakland; Bentley School, Oakland; Head Royce, Oakland

Charter Middle School
Winner: The Academy of Alameda Middle School, Alameda, aams.alamedausd.ca.schoolloop.com

Runner Up: Lighthouse Community Charter School, Oakland

Religious Middle
Winner: Oakland Hebrew Day School, Oakland

Honorable Mention: All Saints Catholic School, Hayward; Assumption Catholic School, San Leandro; St. Joseph’s Notre Dame, Alameda; School of the Madeleine, Berkeley

Nonreligious Middle
Winner: The Academy, Berkeley

Honorable Mention: Bentley School, Oakland; Julia Morgan School for Girls, Berkeley; Beacon Day School, Oakland; Head-Royce, Oakland; Park Day School, Oakland; Redwood Day School, Oakland; The Berkeley School, Berkeley; Washington Manor, San Leandro

Public High School
Winner: Berkeley High School, Berkeley

Runner Up: Oakland Technical High School, Oakland

Charter High School
Winner: Lighthouse Community Charter School, Oakland

Religious High School
Winner: Bishop O’Dowd High School, Oakland

Honorable Mention: Oakland Hebrew Day School, Oakland; St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, Alameda; Redwood Christian School, Castro Valley; St. Mary’s College High School, Berkeley

Nonreligious High school
Winners (tie): College Preparatory School, Oakland; Head-Royce, Oakland

Runner Up: Bentley School, Oakland


Outdoor Mommy & Me Fitness Class
Winner: Baby Boot Camp, Oakland
Shedding those pregnancy pounds is hard for a lot of new moms, especially when it means finding a babysitter and purchasing a gym membership. Kristen Horler knows those challenges firsthand; after giving birth to her first child in August 2001, Horler decided to use her experience as a group fitness instructor and personal trainer to start a fitness program that catered exclusively to new moms and their babies. Ten years later, Baby Boot Camp is now a national franchise where new moms, accompanied by their little ones, get fit through a combination of strength-training and cardio exercises. Oakland mom and personal trainer Mary McQueen has owned the Oakland franchise since 2009 and leads boot camp workouts on Monday through Saturday at Temescal Regional Recreation Area. A testament to the power of the camp, McQueen credits Baby Boot Camp and a healthy eating plan with helping her lose 80 pounds. Temescal Regional Recreation Area, 6502 Broadway Terrace, Oakland, (510) 418-8599, www.babybootcamp.com.

Runner Up: Stroller Strides, Oakland

Tutorial Program
Winner: Classroom Matters Tutoring Center, Berkeley
With increased budget cuts and larger class sizes, it’s not uncommon for students today to need a little guidance outside of the classroom. Since 1998, Classroom Matters has been matching students in grades K–12 with certified teachers and trained university students. Whether your child needs help mastering algebra or a foreign language, the Berkeley-based center can help her master the skills she needs to succeed in school. 2436 Sacramento St., Berkeley, (510) 540-8646, www.classroommatters.com

Winner: Scrapbook Territory, Berkeley
You might not be able to stop time, but savvy scrapbookers have mastered the art of capturing and immortalizing cherished memories in albums. At Scrapbook Territory, the Bay Area’s largest scrapbook store, both beginners and seasoned crafters will find everything they need to preserve family vacations, special occasions and childhood milestones.  1717-A Fourth St., Berkeley, (510) 559-9929, www.scrapbookterritory.com

Runner Up: Michaels, San Leandro

Enrichment Programs
Winner: East Bay Music Together, Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland

Dance Class
Winner: Pacific West Gymnastics, Union City

Runners Up: Luna Kids, Berkeley; Piedmont Ballet Academy, Piedmont

Art Class
Winners (tie): Aran’s Art Studio, Castro Valley; Young Artist Workspace, or YAWS, Berkeley

Runner Up: Studio One, Oakland

Theater Class
Winner: Berkeley Playhouse, Berkeley

Runners Up: Berkeley Rep, Berkeley; Kids Take the Stage, Alameda, Fremont, San Leandro

Swim Class
Winner: Patti’s Swim School, Castro Valley

Runners Up: Aquatech Swim School, Alameda; King Pool, Berkeley

Martial Arts Class
Winner: Pacific West Gymnastics, Union City

Runner Up: Alameda Martial Arts, Alameda

Gymnastics Class
Winner: Head Over Heels Athletic Arts, Emeryville

Runners Up: Pacific West Gymnastics, Union City; Bay Island Gymnastics, Alameda

Language Class
Winner: Lango Oakland/Berkeley/West Contra Costa County

Runner Up: Centro Latino, Berkeley; New Sprouts Chinese School, Oakland

Testing Preparation
Winner: Kaplan International Colleges — Berkeley

Winner: Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics, Berkeley

Runners Up: Better Living Through Sewing, Oakland; The Crucible, Oakland
Winner: Lego Engineering Club, Oakland Hebrew Day School, Oakland


Winner: Crowden Music Center, Berkeley
This nonprofit offers after-school, weekend and summer lessons and camps for students who want to learn the piano and other musical instruments, take their talents to the next level or gain a better appreciation of music. Crowden’s free Very First Concert series, held in conjunction with the San Francisco Symphony, introduce children ages 3 to 7 to live classical music. Whether your child aspires to become the next Mozart or to someday record his own CD, the teachers at Crowden will teach him the rhythm, sound development and piano repertoire needed to become a competent and confident musician. The Crowden School is a middle school for children in grades four through eight, emphasizing a unique environment for children who want to study music with other core subjects. 1475 Rose St., Berkeley, (510) 559-6910, www.crowden.org

Runners Up: BandWorks, Berkeley; Harmony Road Music School, Oakland; MUSE, All Saints Catholic School, Hayward

Winner: BandWorks, Berkeley
With many East Bay schools cutting back on music programs, the Berkeley-based BandWorks provides students with a much-needed venue. Families can choose from private lessons, summer camps and band workshops where students find out what it’s like to play in a rock band and perform onstage. Bandworks has Bay Area locations in Oakland, San Rafael, San Carlos and San Jose.
2034 Blake St., Suite 9, Berkeley, (510) 843-2263, www.bandworks.com

Winner: The Jazzschool, Berkeley
This Berkeley-based school has been teaching young Bay Area musicians a better understanding of jazz and other forms of music through camps, summer programs and classes since 1997. Whether taking private lesson, or attending an in-house concert performed by one of the area’s top jazz performers, students learn the skills and techniques needed to become the next generation of jazz musicians. 2087 Addison St., Berkeley, (510) 845-5373, www.jazzschool.com

Runners Up: Dan Foltz, Foltz Music, Alameda; Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, Oakland

Winner: Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir, Oakland

Runners Up: John Scott, Alameda; Matt Liebowitz, Castro Valley; Pamela Alexander, The Academy, Berkeley

Winners (tie): BandWorks, Berkeley; Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, Oakland

Runners Up: Professor Sludge Guitar Academy, Oakland; The Jazzschool, Berkeley

Winner: Suzuki Violin, Crowden Music Center, Berkeley


Historical Site & Tour
Winner: Ardenwood Historic Farm, Fremont
This working farm, operated by the East Bay Regional Park District, gives children the opportunity to experience life on the farm by helping with chores, making homemade ice cream and visiting with the farm’s many goats, sheep, rabbits, turkeys, peacocks and other animals. Families can journey back to the 19th century by visiting the Victorian Patterson House mansion, the blacksmith shop and taking a horse-drawn train ride. Throughout the year, Ardenwood is a venue for family-friendly events including the annual Scottish Day Tartan Festival, Sheep Shearing Day, a Cajun/Zydeco Festival, Harvest Festival, Shakespeare Festival, a fall corn maze and pumpkin patch and special celebrations for July 4 and the winter holidays. Weekend activities give children the chance to make Victorian crafts, harvest hay and help feed the animals. Bring a picnic lunch, take a train ride and enjoy a trip back in time. 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont, (510) 544-2797, www.ebparks.org

Runners Up: Dunsmuir Historic Estate, Oakland; U.S.S. Hornet, Alameda

Amusement Park
Winner: Children’s Fairyland, Oakland
Generations of East Bay families have relived the nursery rhymes of their childhood at this 10-acre amusement park planted near the shores of Lake Merritt. Toddlers will love the iconic storybook key that allows the tales to come to life as well as the many animals, theater performances and play structures. 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, (510) 238-8676, www.fairyland.org

Runner Up: Golden Tee Golfland, Castro Valley

Winner: Solano Stroll
The East Bay’s largest street festival has been going strong since 1974. Held every year on the second Saturday in September, this family-friendly block party features more than 500 vendors, entertainers, food booths and nonprofit entertainers. Starting out as a sidewalk sale in the ’70s, the Stroll now attracts between 200,000 to 300,000 people each year, delighting children with a morning parade followed by a day of free — and fun — activities. Berkeley and Albany, www.solanoavenueassn.org/strol.htm

Runners Up: Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton; Park Street Art & Wine Faire, Alameda

Outdoor Playground
Winner: Codornices Park, Berkeley

Runners Up: Adventure Playground, Berkeley; Aquatic Park, Berkeley

Indoor Play Place
Winner: Habitot Children’s Museum, Berkeley

Honorable Mention: Pacific West Gymnastics, Union City; Play Cafe, Oakland; Pump It Up, Oakland; Studio Grow, Berkeley; YMCA, Berkeley

Public Swim Center
Winner: Silliman Family Aquatic Center, Newark

Honorable Mention: Roberts Regional Recreation Area, Oakland; Strawberry Canyon Pool, Berkeley; Temescal Pool, Oakland; Hayward Plunge, Hayward

Place to Hear Live Music
Winner: Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkeley

Honorable Mention: Ashkenaz Music & Dance Community Center, Berkeley; Concerts at the Cove, Alameda; The Greek Theatre, Berkeley; Yoshi’s, Oakland

Winner: Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round, Berkeley

Runner Up: Oakland Zoo, Oakland

Winner: Oakland Museum of California, Oakland

Runners Up: Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland; Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley; Museum of Children’s Art, or MOCHA, Oakland

Family Destination
Winner: Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland

Honorable Mention: Children’s Fairyland, Oakland; Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley; Tilden Park, Berkeley

Parents’ Overnight Getaway
Winner: Napa

Runners Up: Claremont Resort & Spa, Berkeley; San Francisco

Movie Theater
Winners (tie): Alameda Theatre and Cineplex, Alameda; Grand Lake Theater, Oakland

Runner Up: AMC Bay Street 16, Emeryville

Locally Based Live Show
Winner: Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Runners Up: Asheba, Oakland; Fairyland Puppet Shows, Oakland

Nationally Based Live Show
Winners (tie): Cirque du Soleil, Elmo Live!, Yo Gabba Gabba

Bowling Alley
Winner: AMF Southshore Lanes, Alameda

Runner Up: Castro Valley Bowl, Castro Valley

Winner: Oakland Zoo

Runner Up: Crab Cove, Alameda

Winner: Little Farm, Tilden Park, Berkeley

Runner Up: Ardenwood Farm, Fremont

Children’s Book
Winners (tie): Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown; Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Ice Skating/Skateboard Park
Winner: Oakland Ice Center, Oakland

Runners Up: Alameda Skate Park, Alameda; Dublin Iceland, Dublin

Bike/Hike Trail
Winner: Redwood Regional Park, Oakland

Runner Up: Lake Chabot Regional Park, Castro Valley


Winner: Al Wright, Raintree Studios, Alameda
Al Wright has captured the smiles, milestones and special occasions of Bay Area families for more than 25 years. His full-service photography studio specializes in family portraits and candid photos that reflect each subject’s unique personality. Throughout the year, Wright provides families with unique portrait opportunities using different themes and locations. Having photographed many Alameda children from birth through their high school graduations, Wright says one of the best aspects of his job is showing parents the images of their little ones captured on film.  Raintree Studios, 1205 Park St., Alameda, (510) 521-4900

Runner Up: Karen Frock, Berkeley

Ready-to-Cook Meal Services
Winner: The Full Plate, Oakland
Multitasking parents know how challenging it can be to juggle jobs with their children’s homework and sports schedules. Add meals to the mix, and it’s no wonder so many families eat on the go. Montclair mom Lisa Alumkal knows how difficult it can be for families to enjoy home-cooked healthy meals together, and in 2004 co-founded The Full Plate with her business partner, Sam Lee. Hoping to make life a little easier for local families, the Full Plate offers parents the chance to assemble their own meals at in-store sessions or to choose from entrees that have already been assembled by the store’s culinary professionals. You won’t find any nuggets or supersized meals on the Full Plate’s menu. Meals include gourmet dishes such as citrus-glazed tilapia, grilled paella, and chicken Marsala. Customers rave that the family-sized meals cost less than dining out and appeal to even the pickiest eaters.
2220 Mountain Blvd., Suite 130, Oakland, (510) 482-1977, www.thefullplate.com

Birthday Party Venue
Winner: Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland
Birthday parties at Chabot Space & Science Center go beyond cake, ice cream and balloons. Chabot allows children to enjoy hands-on science experiments and learn about the galaxy while having a good time. Families can choose from fun party packages — making pop rockets, polar ice cream or solar cars and a bubble party for preschoolers — all guaranteed to give kids an out-of-this-world birthday experience.  10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, (510) 336-7300, www.chabotspace.org

Runners Up: Pump It Up, Oakland, Union City; Head Over Heels Athletic Arts, Emeryville

Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Winner: Picante, Berkeley

Honorable Mention: Amba, Oakland; Barney’s Gourmet Hamburgers, Oakland, Berkeley; Cactus, Oakland and Berkeley; Tomatina, Alameda

Hair Cut
Winner (tie): Cool Tops, Oakland; Snippety Crickets, Berkeley

Runners Up: Great Clips, Oakland; Moonshadow Salon, Berkeley

Party Entertainer
Winner: Asheba, Oakland

Runners Up: Kinetic Arts Center, Oakland; The Puppet Company, San Leandro

Dog Walker
Doggy Lama, Oakland, (510) 434-1974, www.doggylamapetcare.com



New Toys
Winner: Mr. Mopp’s, Berkeley
New owners Devin McDonald and Jenny Stevenson bought the store in 2010, but Mr. Mopp’s continues to provide the same unique toys and stellar customer service that have made this Berkeley retailer a favorite destination for more than 40 years. Featuring old-school wooden toys, children’s books, stuffed animals, art and science sets and more, Mr. Mopp’s wide selection will help banish the words “I’m bored” from your child’s vocabulary.  1405 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Berkeley, (510) 525-9633, www.mrmopps.net

Honorable Mention: Montclair Toy Shop, Oakland; Target, Oakland/Emeryville; Rockridge Kids, Oakland; Toy Safari, Alameda

Bike Shop
Winner: Alameda Bicycle, Alameda
Gene Oh’s family took the helm of this popular Alameda retailer in 1987. Selling everything from trikes to mountain bikes, Alameda Bicycle also promotes biking as a fun way to spend family time. Free family bike treks are held the first Sunday of each month, and kids who are transitioning from a trike to a two-wheeler can learn how to ditch their training wheels at the shop’s free classes held the second Sunday of each month. A family-friendly shop that prides itself on offering stellar customer service, Alameda Bicycle can help your child find the right first bike and help fit him to the right sized bike as he grows older. The shop also sells some jogging strollers, child carriers, bike trailers and helmets and other equipment to ensure a safe ride. 1522 Park St., Alameda, (510) 522-0070, www.alamedabicycle.com

Honorable Mention: City Cycle, Alameda; Mike’s Bikes, Berkeley; Wheels of Justice, Oakland

Birthday Cake
Winner: Sweet Adeline Bakeshop, Oakland
If you don’t have the culinary expertise or the time to whip up a birthday cake, Sweet Adeline Bakeshop can help. The bakery’s mouth-watering cake offerings include red velvet cake, lemon cake, cheesecake and a variety of unique and decadent desserts such as the Guinness Stout Chocolate Cake — a malty, chocolate cake filled with cream-cheese icing and glazed with dark chocolate ganache.
3350 Adeline St., Berkeley, (510) 985-7381, www.sweetadelinebakeshop.com

Honorable Mention: Cakes by 2 Moms; Gala Bakery, San Lorenzo; Tucker’s Ice Cream, Alameda

New Children’s Clothing
Winner: Target, Oakland/Emeryville

Honorable Mention: Gap Kids, Emeryville; Kohl’s, Alameda; Monkey Bars, Alameda

Resale Children’s Clothing
Winners (tie): Hannah’s, Berkeley; Silver Moon, Oakland

Runner Up: Lauren’s Closet, Alameda

Resale Toys
Winner: Toy Safari, Alameda

Runner Up: Thrift Town, San Leandro

Kids Furniture
Winner: Ikea, Emeryville

Runners Up: Berkeley Kids Room, Berkeley; Rockridge Kids, Oakland

Car Dealership
Winners (Tie): Honda of Hayward, Hayward; Honda of Oakland, Oakland

Honorable Mention: McKevett Volvo, Berkeley, San Leandro; San Leandro Honda, Sam Leandro; Toyota of Berkeley, Berkeley; Mazda of Oakland, Oakland

Shopping Mall
Winner (Tie): South Shore Center, Alameda; Stoneridge Mall, Pleasanton

Honorable Mention: Bay Street, Emeryville; Montclair Village, Oakland; Newpark Mall, Newark; Southland Mall, Hayward

Party Supply
Winner: Party Warehouse, Oakland

Runner Up: Dana’s Party Planet, Castro Valley; Party City, San Lorenzo

Pet Store
Winners (tie): Animal Farm, Berkeley; Petco (throughout Alameda County)

Honorable Mention: Dog Bone Alley, Alameda; Pet Food Express (throughout Alameda County); Petsmart (throughout Alameda County)


Pediatric Dentist
Winner: David M. Perry, D.D.S., Alameda Pediatric Dentistry
For more than 30 years, Dr. David M. Perry has been taking the fear out of dental visits for local children. From DVDs that entertain children while they are getting dental work done to allowing parents to hold little ones on their lap during an exam, Perry and his staff promote a caring, kid-friendly environment where every child has a good experience and leaves the office smiling.
2125 Whitehall Place, Alameda, (510) 521-5016, www.alamedapediatricdentistry.com

Runners Up: Aloha Pediatric Dentistry, Berkeley; Richard J. Curotto, D.D.S., Oakland

Hospital/Medical Center
Winner: Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Berkeley
For more than 100 years, Alta Bates has been caring for East Bay families. The hospital’s in vitro fertilization program offers couples many affordable options for infertility including a sliding scale. With excellent success rates since 1984, the IVF program has helped many women become pregnant and go on to receive care in the Alta Bates maternal care program, consistently ranked among the top in the country. The medical center delivers more babies than any other hospital in Northern California (approximately 7,400 each year) with special expertise in high-risk deliveries and newborn intensive care. Alta Bates continues to support families after their baby is born through a wide variety of parenting classes, lectures and support groups.

Honorable Mention: Alameda Hospital, Alameda; Children’s Hospital & Research Center, Oakland; Kaiser Permanente, Oakland

Lactation Consultant
Winner: Gail Fiock, R.N., IBCLC, Palo Alto Medical Foundation Fremont Center
A former advice nurse, Fiock, a mother of five, now works as a lactation consultant helping new moms and infants master the art of breastfeeding. Offering guidance on what is supposed to be one of Mother Nature’s most natural and instinctive acts but often is not, Fiock helps with premature babies and those who may be failing to gain weight. For new moms who are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated or have questions about breastfeeding, Fiock provides individual consults, ensuring that babies are well-fed and that mothers are happy and comfortable in the process. Palo Alto Medical Foundation Fremont Center, 3200 Kearney St., Fremont, (510) 490-1222, www.pamf.org.

Winners (tie): Anna Bahnson, Berkeley; Carla Reeves, C.N.M., PAMF Fremont Center; Deborah Coleman, C.N.M., Oakland, Alameda

Runner Up: Ellen Levitt, Alameda

Winner: Diana C. Yuen, O.D., Oakland

Honorable Mention: Richard H. Marcus, O.D., Alameda; Gary B. Nelson, Alameda, O.D.; P. Harold Woodring, O.D., Berkeley


Sleep-Away Camp
Winner: Camp Winnarainbow
If your child dreams of a career in entertainment, this circus-and-performing arts camp for children ages 7 to 14 offers hands-on training mixed with unprecedented fun. Children can choose from classes and activities ranging from magic to mime, to trapeze and stilt walking. The camp, founded by entertainer and peace activist Wavy Gravy, features traditional dance, arts and crafts and music classes in the heart of Mendocino County. For more than 20 years, Winnarainbow staff members have helped children gain a respect for themselves and their environment, while mastering essential life skills including comedic timing, balance and a sense of humor. And for those who want to recapture their youth, the camp offers a one-week adult camp allowing parents to embrace their inner child. 1301 Henry St., Berkeley,
(510) 525-4304, www.campwinnarainbow.org

Spring Break Camp
Winner: Pacific West Gymnastics, Union City
If Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson lived in the Bay Area, she may well have trained at Pacific West. Offering instruction in both recreational and competitive gymnastics, students also master important life lessons such as communication, working as part of a team, and coping strategies. Themed camps are held during spring, summer and winter breaks from school that go beyond gymnastics focusing on activities including martial arts, cooking and art. 32960 Alvarado Niles Road, Suite 201, Union City, (510) 471-0240 www.pacwestgymnastics.com

Runners Up: Sarah’s Science, Oakland; Monkey Business Camp, Berkeley

Summer Camp
Winners (tie): Chabot Space & Science Center, Oakland; Pacific West Gymnastics, Union City

Honorable Mention: Aran’s Art Studio, Castro Valley; Camp Gan Izzy; Camp Kee Tov; Monkey Business Camp, Berkeley; Sarah’s Science, Oakland

Winter Camp
Winner: Pacific West Gymnastics, Union City

Honorable Mention: Bladium, Alameda; The Academy, Berkeley; Monkey Business Camp, Berkeley; Sarah’s Science, Oakland

Contra Costa County Winners


Child-Care Referral and Support Agency
Winner: Contra Costa Child Care Council, Concord
Choosing quality child care isn’t always easy, but the knowledgeable staff at Contra Costa CCC have been simplifying the process by offering free child-care referrals to families for the past 35 years. In addition, the organization also helps low-income families find resources to subsidize child-care costs and assists in determining the best child-care environment for kids with special needs.
1035 Detroit Ave., Suite 400, Concord, (925) 676-5437, www.cocokids.org

New Moms Support Group
Winner: DayOne, Walnut Creek
Since babies don’t come with instruction manuals, it’s not uncommon to find newbie parents flocking to this spacious store in the heart of Walnut Creek. Believing there is no one right way to parent, the staff at DayOne provides families with nonjudgmental advice and support on everything from breastfeeding to child development. A retail store allows parents to stock up on everything they didn’t get at the shower.  1403 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-3291, www.dayonecenter.com

Honorable Mention: East Bay Moms; Pleasant Hill-Walnut Creek Mothers Group; Mocha Moms of West Contra Costa County

Family Child-Care Center
Winner: Willow Street School House, El Cerrito
This family-based day-care center offers children ages 1 to 4 plenty of time for outdoor play, as well as field trips, walks, art and reading activities and music classes. Director Diana Bickham believes in promoting a warm and caring environment combined with a low teacher-to-student ratio to ensure that all kids get the attention they need. This fall, Willow Street will launch a new pre-K program to give preschoolers a foundation for elementary school. 6727 Willow St., El Cerrito, (510) 525-2305
Honorable Mention: A Peace of Mind, Kensington; Los Amigos, Richmond; Cottontail Cottage Preschool, El Sobrante; Nini’s Place Child Care, Richmond Annex

Child-Care Center
Winner: Willow Street School House, El Cerrito

Runner Up: Keystone Montessori School, El Cerrito 


Co-op Preschool
Winner: Kensington Nursery School, Kensington
This co-op preschool offers both a morning program with parent participation and an afternoon program where children master the art of attending school on their own. Kids ages 2 years and 9 months through kindergarten are invited to attend the co-op where the emphasis is on a fun environment that promotes socialization, emotional, physical, cognitive and creative development. Parents are also an integral part of the school and are invited to annual camp-outs, a science fair and other activities throughout the year. Combining structure with free play, the nursery school works to prepare kids for the rigors of kindergarten while also encouraging both children and their parents to form new friendships. 52 Arlington Ave., El Cerrito, (510) 524-7963, www.kns-ca.org

Runner Up: El Cerrito Preschool Co-op, El Cerrito

Religious Preschool
Winner: Tehiyah Day School, El Cerrito
Founded in 1979 by a group of parents, this small school has grown to serve more than 300 students in preschool through middle school. A Jewish community day school, Tehiyah offers a diverse student body, an outstanding curriculum in both arts and academics and an opportunity to explore Judaic and Hebrew studies. A K-8 program is also offered to students who want to continue their education at Tehiyah. 2603 Tassajara Ave., El Cerrito, (510) 233-3013, www.tehiyah.org

Runners Up: Moraga Bright Beginnings Christian Preschool, Moraga; Contra Costa Jewish Day School, Lafayette

Public High School
Winner: El Cerrito High School, El Cerrito
Students in El Cerrito, Kensington and parts of Richmond attend classes at one of the area’s most modern high schools. The renovated school opened in 2009 and offers a four-year college preparatory education and three special academies: information technology, media and auto technology. A wide variety of AP classes, a stellar sports program and outstanding drama department earn high marks from parents and students.
540 Ashbury Ave., El Cerrito, (510) 525-0234, www.elcerritogauchos.net

Honorable Mention: Campolindo High School, Moraga; Briones Environmental Studies Academy, Martinez; Miramonte High School, Orinda; San Ramon Valley High School, Danville

Nonreligious High School
Winner: The Athenian School, Danville
This East Bay private college prep school has been serving students in grades 6–12 since 1965. Small classes boasting 15–17 students create an environment conducive to rigorous academics, and the school is crammed full of interesting course electives. A green school, Athenian has implemented sustainable practices that are good for the environment and its finances. With a 75-acre campus at the base of Mount Diablo, The Athenian School offers individualized attention, community service programs and an opportunity for students to excel in their studies. 2100 Mount Diablo Scenic Blvd., Danville, (925) 362-7223, www.athenian.org

Montessori Preschool
Winner: Keystone Montessori School, El Cerrito

Runners Up: Children’s Garden Montessori, El Cerrito; Growing Light Montessori, Kensington

Nonreligious Preschool
Winner: The Saklan School, Moraga

Honorable Mention: Civic Arts Education Preschool, Walnut Creek; Claremont Day Nursery, Kensington; Nomura Preschool, Richmond Annex; Willow Street Schoolhouse, El Cerrito

Public Elementary School
Winners (tie): Glorietta Elementary School, Orinda; Madera Elementary, El Cerrito

Honorable Mention: Camino Pablo Elementary School, Moraga; Fairmont Elementary School, El Cerrito; Gregory Gardens Elementary School, Pleasant Hill; Harding Elementary School, El Cerrito; John Swett Elementary School, Martinez; Kensington Hilltop School, Kensington; Los Perales Elementary School, Moraga; Rancho Romero Elementary School, Alamo; Walnut Acres Elementary School, Walnut Creek

Montessori Elementary
Winner: Montessori Family School, El Cerrito

Runner Up: Eagle Peak Montessori, Walnut Creek

Waldorf Elementary
Winner: East Bay Waldorf School, El Sobrante

Religious Elementary
Winners: Tehiyah Day School, El Cerrito

Runner Up: Christ the King Catholic School, Pleasant Hill; St. Jerome’s Catholic School, El Cerrito

Nonreligious Elementary
Winner: Prospect Sierra School, El Cerrito

Runner Up: Crestmont School, Richmond

Public Middle School
Winners (tie): Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School, Moraga; Orinda Intermediate School, Orinda

Honorable Mention: Pleasant Hill Middle School, Pleasant Hill; Portola Middle School, El Cerrito; Stone Valley Middle School, Alamo

Religious Middle School
Winner: Tehiyah Day School, El Cerrito

Runners Up: Christ the King Catholic School, Pleasant Hill; St. Jerome’s Catholic School, El Cerrito

Nonreligious Middle School
Winner: Prospect Sierra School, El Cerrito

Runners up: The Saklan School, Moraga; Windrush School, El Cerrito

High School Religious
Winner: Salesian High School, Richmond


Winners (tie): Civic Arts Education, Walnut Creek; Kids ’N Dance ’N Theater Arts, (Lafayette)
Civic Arts Education: Children who want to channel their creativity will find the perfect venue at Civic Arts Education. For the past 40 years, the city of Walnut Creek has offered instruction to budding artists, photographers, dancers and actors through a wide array of classes and camps. Hundreds of kids choose from more than 140 courses offered each quarter at Civic Arts, where they combine fun with the opportunity to perfect their craft.  111 N. Wiget Lane, Walnut Creek, (925) 943-5846, www.arts-ed.org


Kids ’N Dance ’N Theater Arts: Young entertainers will master the art of musical theater in this fun performing arts school that offers dance classes including creative movement and ballet, hula, hip-hop, tap and jazz for ages 14 months through teens. For those who want their 15 minutes in the spotlight, Kids ’N Dance offers a full musical theater program that teaches vocal, dance and acting skills and culminates in stage performances. Adult classes, summer camps and birthday parties are also offered to those who want to channel their inner performer.  3369 Mount Diablo, Lafayette, (925) 284-7388, www.kidsndance.com

Honorable Mention: Akoma Camp, Berkeley; Cerrito Dance Arts, El Cerrito; El Cerrito Ballet Center, El Cerrito; Katie’s Dance Studio, El Cerrito; Studio 8 Dance & Performing Arts Center, San Ramon; Studio A, Concord; The Ballet School, Walnut Creek

Martial Arts Class
Winner: Team Santos Jiu Jitsu, San Ramon
This gym, founded by brothers Jon and Jay Santos, trains students in Gracie jiu-jitsu, muay thai and mixed martial arts. In addition to learning some really cool moves, students at Team Santos gain increased confidence and improved attention spans so they can achieve their fitness goals. 2558 San Ramon Blvd., San Ramon, (925) 519-4459. www.teamsantos.com

Runners Up: Kang’s Taekwondo Academy, Walnut Creek; Shotokan Karate Institute, Richmond

Sewing Class
Winner: The Cotton Patch, Lafayette
Kids who are eager to learn the art of quilting and sewing will enjoy taking classes at this quaint Lafayette shop that emphasizes making one-of-a-kind creations and family heirlooms. Moms and kids can work side by side on a variety of projects in the store or even purchase kids’ quilt kits to complete at home. Whether your child is a beginner or a seasoned crafter, The Cotton Patch offers classes in making clothes, accessories, quilts and home décor. The store also holds periodic Doll Days at which customers help make dolls and quilts that are donated to patients at Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland.  1025 Brown Ave., Lafayette, (925) 284-1177, www.quiltusa.com

Runner Up: Sewnow, Lafayette

Art Class
Winner: Richmond Art Center, Richmond

Runners Up: Prospect Sierra School, El Cerrito; Civic Arts Education, Walnut Creek; Tassajara Pottery Studio, El Cerrito

Theater Class
Winner: Youth Theatre Company, Walnut Creek

Runner Up: Contra Costa Civic Theater, El Cerrito

Swim Class
Winner: Canyon Pool Swim School, El Sobrante

Runner Up: El Cerrito Community Center, El Cerrito

Gymnastics Class
Winner: Kids N’ Dance N’ Theater Arts, Lafayette

Runners Up: Flips-n-Flops, Richmond; San Ramon Valley Dance Academy, San Ramon

Tutorial Program
Winner: Kumon Learning Center (throughout Contra Costa County)

Language Class
Winner: Linna Fang, Mandarin, Windrush School, El Cerrito

Runners Up: Lango Kids, Lafayette; My Spanish Village Preschool & Daycare, Walnut Creek

Legos Class
Winner: El Cerrito Community Center


Winner: Lamorinda Academy of Music and Arts, Lafayette (Avloni, South Bay)
The Avloni Academy of Music was formed in August 2006 by uniting two well- known music schools: Lamorinda Academy of Music and Arts and the Polonsky Piano School in the South Bay. With four locations, Avloni holds onto its Lamorinda nomenclature in Lafayette. But no matter which location young musicians choose, the aspiring pianists can take private lessons or learn to appreciate music at an early age in a group class that introduces toddlers to music and group piano.
3534 Golden Gate Way, Lafayette, (925) 299-1240, www.avlonimusic.com

Runners Up: Prospect Sierra School, El Cerrito; Moira Little, El Cerrito

Winner: Claire Yarrington, Orinda
For students who aspire to be on American Idol, Claire Yarrington is the go-to vocal coach in the East Bay. Yarrington also teaches acting and auditioning techniques to prepare her students for their time in the spotlight. With Speech Level Singing, a technique used by more than 130 Grammy winners, Yarrington helps her young prodigies reach the perfect pitch without straining their vocal cords. Known as a singer-actress, dancer, producer and director, Yarrington founded the Crossroads Theatre in Walnut Creek and has mentored numerous students as they prepare for work in musical theater productions. Graduates of her programs say that Yarrington helps them find their voice and confidence as well as grow as both a singer and a student. www.ctarts.com

Runner Up: Lamorinda Academy of Music and Arts, Lafayette (Avloni, South Bay)

Winner: BandWorks, El Cerrito
It’s not every day that kids get the chance to play in a rock band, but at BandWorks, jamming with other musicians is par for the course. Through summer camps, private lessons and band workshops, young guitarists get the opportunity to channel their inner Jimi Hendrix while perfecting their craft and making new friends. 157 San Carlos Ave., El Cerrito, (510) 526-7303, www.bandworks.com

Runner Up: Lamorinda Academy of Music and Arts, Lafayette (Avloni, South Bay)

Winner: Lamorinda Academy of Music and Arts, Lafayette (Avloni, South Bay)

Winner: Lamorinda Academy of Music and Arts, Lafayette (Avloni, South Bay)

Winner: Lamorinda Academy of Music and Arts, Lafayette (Avloni, South Bay)

Runner Up: Maddy Hogan, Prospect Sierra School, El Cerrito


Indoor Play Place
Winner: Playland Not-at-the Beach, El Cerrito
History buffs might remember Playland-at-the-Beach, the popular San Francisco amusement park that enjoyed its heyday in the 1930s and 1940s. While Playland is long gone, its essence lives on at this 9,000-square-foot building in El Cerrito featuring pinball machines, arcade games, magic shows, side show acts and artifacts and exhibits from the original Playland. Open every weekend, this entertaining museum holds theme weekends, summer camps and provides a venue for birthday parties. Founded by the late businessman Richard Tuck and operated by a group of enthusiastic volunteers, Playland opened in 2008 and has been providing families with a sense of nostalgia and an indoor play place ever since. The price of admission ($10 for children to age 14, $15 for adults and $10 for seniors) allows visitors to freely play the museum’s vast collection of carnival and vintage arcade games and test their skill for prizes.
10979 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, (510) 592-3002, www.playland-not-at-the-beach.org

Honorable Mention: Pump It Up, Concord; Sky High Sports, Concord; Super Frank’s Fun Adventure, Pleasanton; The Jungle, Concord

Family Destination
Winner: Mount Diablo State Park, Walnut Creek
One of the East Bay’s most prominent landmarks, Mount Diablo allows visitors to see 35 of California’s 58 counties on a clear day. Whether you’re looking for a family hike, a place to picnic or just want to explore the mountain’s large sandstone formations and small caves at Rock City just below the 2,000-foot level, a visit to Mount Diablo will ensure that your family spends a memorable day in the great outdoors.  www.mdia.org

Runner Up: Lafayette Reservoir, Lafayette

Amusement Park
Winner: Waterworld California, Concord
Families love to spend the lazy days of summer at this water park that’s full of thrill rides, family rides and fun for little ones. The park’s massive 20,000-square-foot activity pool has seven family slides, the Lily Pad walk and the Dragon’s Tail slide complex. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, hit the Tornado, a six-story funnel that drops riders from 75 feet in the air.
1950 Waterworld Parkway, Concord, (925) 609-1364, www.waterworldcalifornia.com

Honorable Mention: Antioch WaterPark; Pixieland Amusement Park, Concord; Playland Not-at-the Beach, El Cerrito

Winner: Smith Family Farm, Brentwood
This third-generation farming family invites others to its farm in East Contra Costa County to pick and purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The family also wants to introduce kids to what life is like on a working farm. A favorite field trip destination with local schools, the farm offers a Halloween Pumpkin Patch in October and holds a variety of holiday events in December. With farm animals that kids can pet and a country store full of homemade favorites, Smith Family Farm makes for a nice road trip for city dwellers craving a taste of the country. 4400 Sellers Ave., Brentwood, (925) 625-3544, www.smithfamilyfarm.com

Outdoor Playground
Winner: Moraga Commons Park, Moraga

Honorable Mention: Arlington Park, El Cerrito; Cerrito Vista Park, El Cerrito; Tassajara Park, El Cerrito

Swimming Pool
Winner: El Cerrito Swim Center, El Cerrito

Honorable Mention: The Plunge, Richmond Municipal Natatorium; Antioch WaterPark, Antioch; San Ramon Olympic Pool & Aquatic Center

Live Music Place
Winner: Moraga Commons Park, Moraga

Honorable Mention: Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek; The Arlington Restaurant, Kensington; Farmers Market at Todos Santos Plaza, Concord

Historical Site
Winner: Naval Shipyards, Richmond

Runner Up: John Muir National Historic Site, Martinez

Winner: Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Walnut Creek

Parents’ Overnight Getaway
Winner: Embassy Suites, Walnut Creek

Runners Up: Lafayette Park Hotel; San Francisco; Sonoma

Best Movie Theater
Winner: Rialto Theater, El Cerrito

Runner Up: Rheem Theater, Moraga; Century 16, Pleasant Hill

Best Locally Based Live Show
Winner: CalShakes, Orinda

Best Nationally Based Live Show
Winner: Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion

Bowling Alley
Winner: Clayton Valley Bowl, Concord

Runner Up: Diablo Lanes, Concord

Children’s Book
Winner: Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Winner: 4th of July Festival, Cerrito Vista Park, El Cerrito

Honorable Mention: Clayton Oktoberfest, Clayton; Contra Costa County Fair, Antioch; Lafayette Art and Wine Festival, Lafayette; San Ramon Art & Wind Festival, San Ramon

Ice Skating/Skateboard Park
Winner: The Golden Skate, San Ramon

Runner Up: Central Park, San Ramon

Bike/Hike Trail
Winner: Tilden Regional Park

Runner Up: Wildcat Canyon Regional Park


Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Winners (tie): Fat Apple’s, El Cerrito; Kensington Circus Pub, Kensington; Pasta Pomodoro, Pleasant Hill

Honorable Mention: Jack’s Restaurant & Bar, Pleasant Hill; Pizza Antica, Lafayette; SaWooei Thai, El Cerrito; The Arlington, Kensington

Winner: Helen Bae Photography, El Cerrito
Whether you’re searching for a photographer to take the perfect maternity photo, newborn shot or family photo, Helen Bae is a favorite among local families. Whether your child is shy or has a hard time sitting still, Bae knows how to coax him to get the best possible photo. Her portfolio includes outdoor shots, black-and-white photos and color images, all capturing each child’s unique personality. El Cerrito, (510) 548-2560, www.helenbaephotography.com

Runner Up: Carolyn Uhland Photography, Alamo

Ready-to-Cook Meal Services
Winner: Renee Gourmet, El Cerrito
Imagine how much easier your life would be if you had someone who could conjure up a delicious, healthy meal and deliver it to your door just in time for dinner. A local mom, Renee Thomas Jacobs, and her partner, Caroline, realize the time constraints placed on busy, multitasking families and started their home-cooked meal service in an effort to bring comfort foods to local families.
408 Bonnie Drive, El Cerrito, (510) 206-1970, www.reneegourmet.com

Hair Cut
Winner: Cool Tops Cuts for Kids, Pleasant Hill

Honorable Mention: 1688 A Hair Studio, Walnut Creek; Paul Mitchell Salon, Pleasant Hill; Shear Adventures, Danville; Pony Tails for Children, Lafayette

Party Entertainer
Winner: Tickle Me Pony Parties and Traveling Petting Zoo, Brentwood

Birthday Party Venue
Winner: Playland Not-at-the Beach, El Cerrito

Honorable Mention: Pump It Up, Concord; Lindsay Wildlife Museum, Walnut Creek; Super Franks Fun Adventure, Pleasanton

Dog Walker
Winner: Ruff Ruff Pet Care, El Cerrito


Resale Children’s Clothing
Winner: Snickerdoodles, Danville
This resale shop prides itself on selling the best children’s and maternity clothes in the East Bay. In addition to the latest fashions, the store carries books, toys, high chairs and car seats. For the last 15 years, Snickerdoodles has been helping families live well on less by selling gently used brand name items and supporting the community by donating a portion of profits to The Family Stress Center and Birthright.  442 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 820-4956, www.snickerdoodles-kids.com

Runners Up: Christie’s For Kids, Concord; They Grow So Fast, Lafayette

New Toys
Winner: Five Little Monkeys, Walnut Creek
This locally owned toy store in Walnut Creek offers high-quality unique toys that appeal to kids and adults of all ages. For parents who eschew electronic gadgets in favor of toys that promote learning and creativity, Five Little Monkeys sells a wide array of safe, educational and creative toys that encourage kids to use their imaginations.  1366 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 939-4411, www.5littlemonkeys.com

Honorable Mention: Target; Right Start, Walnut Creek; Toys R Us

Shopping Mall
Winner: Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek
This outdoor shopping plaza offers something for everyone in the family. Children love to sit by the fountain in the middle of the plaza and visit kid-friendly shops including Build-A-Bear Toys, the Frosting Bake Shop, Gymboree and Janie and Jack. Parents love the ample free parking, restaurants including PF Chang’s, China Bistro, California Pizza Kitchen and Stanford’s and stores such as Nordstrom, Macy’s, Davidson & Licht Jewelers and Neiman-Marcus (slated to open in 2012). In addition, Broadway Plaza offers free events throughout the year, including summer jazz concerts, a holiday parade of lights and a pet parade and festival held in conjunction with Tony La Rusa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. Within walking distance of Broadway Plaza are more shops and restaurants on nearby North Main Street, a movie theater and Civic Park, where families can enjoy an outdoor ice-skating rink from November through January each year.
1275 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, (925) 939-7600, www.broadwayplaza.com

Runners Up: El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito; Stoneridge Mall, Pleasanton

New Children’s Clothing
Winners (tie): Nordstrom; Target

Honorable Mention: GAP Kids; Kohl’s; Old Navy; REI

Resale Toys
Winner: They Grow So Fast, Lafayette

Bike Shop
Winner: Mike’s Bikes, Walnut Creek

Runner Up: The Pedaler, El Sobrante

Kids Furniture
Winner: Little Raspberries, El Cerrito

Car Dealership
Winner: Honda of El Cerrito

Honorable Mention: Hanlees Hilltop Nissan, Richmond; Lexus of Concord, Concord; Walnut Creek Toyota, Walnut Creek; Mercedes of Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek

Birthday Cake
Winners (tie): Alpine Pastry & Bakery, Concord; Le Gateau Elegant, Martinez

Runners Up: Baskin Robbins; Safeway

Party Supply
Winner: Boswell’s, Lafayette

Runner Up: Party America, Pleasant Hill

Pet Store
Winner: Petco, El Cerrito

Runner Up: Bunnies Without Borders/RabbitEARS, El Cerrito


Winner: Leopi N. Sanderson-Edmunds, L.M., El Cerrito
Moms-to-be rely on Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds to guide them through one of their most important life experiences — giving birth. A practicing midwife since 1985, she has attended and supervised more than 900 births. Incorporating Ortho-Bionomy, a gentle type of bodywork in her practice that helps with pain/stress, Sanderson-Edmunds ensures that new moms who choose to give birth either at home or in a hospital have the best possible experience.  El Cerrito, (510) 717-5060, www.sanctuaryleopi.com

Pediatric Dentist
Winner: Ed Matsuishi, D.D.S, El Cerrito
Parents praise Dr. Ed Matsuishi for being able to put even the most fearful child at ease. Knowing that a visit to the dentist can be an unnerving experience even for adults, Matsuishi takes the time to explain procedures to his young patients and offers a kid-friendly office complete with a PlayStation for older children and movies and toys for the younger kids.  7001 Stockton Ave., Suite 3, El Cerrito, (510) 524-4633, www.kidsteethdoctor.com

Runner Up: Aloha Pediatric Dentistry, Orinda; Neil M. Katsura, D.D.S, Orinda

Hospital/Medical Center
Winner: John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek
John Muir Medical Center opened its new six-story 380,000-square-foot tower in April featuring many of the latest innovations and patient amenities. In March, U.S. News and World Report ranked John Muir Medical Center’s Walnut Creek campus No. 2 out of 44 hospitals in the San Francisco metropolitan area. Consistently ranking high in national surveys, John Muir is now looking to take patient care to the next level with its new patient care tower, designed to promote a soothing and healing, non-institutional environment with less noise, more private rooms and six roof gardens. The only designated trauma center for Contra Costa and parts of Solano counties, John Muir is also known for its Family Birth Center offering private labor and delivery rooms where infant security systems, wireless Internet and many amenities not typically found in a labor and delivery unit are standard.  1601 Ygnacio Valley Road, Walnut Creek,  (925) 939-3000,

Runners Up: Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek Medical Center, Walnut Creek; San Ramon Regional Medical Center, San Ramon

Winner: El Sobrante Optometry

Runner Up: Kaiser Permanente, Richmond

Lactation Consultant
Winner: DayOne, Walnut Creek


Summer Camp
Winner (tie): Camp Galileo, Danville, Lafayette; Steve & Kate’s Camp, Danville, El Cerrito, Lafayette
Camp Galileo: This fun summer camp for kids in preK–8 engages students in a unique method of learning called the Galileo Innovation Approach. The GIA works on three levels: by encouraging campers to develop an innovator’s mindset, helping them learn a process for innovating and teaching them the knowledge and skills they need to develop their ideas. Each day campers enjoy hands-on activities based on art, science and outdoor play. They also have fun with water and learn the rubber chicken cheer plus skits and songs. The end result is young campers learn about science and engineering concepts while having a wonderful time, making friends and enjoying the time-honored tradition of attending a summer camp. (800) 854-3684, www.galileo-learning.com


Steve & Kate’s Camp: Children can channel their creativity in this summer camp that offers campers, age 4–12, activities in filmmaking, electric car racing, sewing, knitting, sculpture, bungee jumping and soccer. Food at the camp is organic, fresh and locally grown and is served family-style with the cafe open all day. Flexibility is emphasized so campers can attend for a day, a week or an entire summer, and they can attend activities at different locations. With a wide range of activities, young campers are encouraged to pursue their own individual interests and passions so they create their own unique camp experience. Main Office: (415) 389-5437, www.steveandkatescamp.com

Honorable Mention: Camp Saklan, Moraga; Cougar Football Camp, Moraga; El Cerrito Community Center, El Cerrito; Kensington Community Center, Kensington; Kids ’N Dance ’N Theater Arts (Lafayette); Saint Mary’s Athletic Summer Camps, Moraga; Windrush School, El Cerrito; Youth Theatre Company’s Summer Theatre, Walnut Creek

Sleep Away Camp
Winner: Camp Tawonga
Camp Tawonga, a residential Jewish summer camp next to Yosemite on the Tuolumne River, has been offering children, teens, adults and families a memorable camping experience in one of Northern California’s most scenic areas since 1925. Located on 160 acres in the Stanislaus National Forest, Tawonga holds a summer camp and weekend programs with swimming, archery, hiking, boating, arts and crafts and good food.  Offices: 131 Stewart St., Suite 460, San Francisco, (415) 543-2267, www.tawonga.org

Honorable Mention: Camp Ramah Ojai, Ojai; Full Belly Farm, Guinda; Camp Bothin, Marin County; Plantation Farm Camp, Cazadero; Saint Mary’s Athletic Summer Camps

Winter Camp
Winner: Kids N’ Dance N’ Theater Arts, Lafayette

Runners Up: Saint Mary’s Athletic Summer Camps; City of Lafayette Winter Camp, Lafayette

Spring Break Camp
Winner (tie): Goal Mexico Football (Phil Scicluna Soccer Camp); Saint Mary’s Athletic Summer Camps, Moraga


For the best schools in San Francisco, best schools in San Mateo County or best schools in Santa Clara County, check out http://www.familiesbythebay.com

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