Best of Our Valley Issue 2018: Kids

by Melisa Larsen

Best Outdoor Kid’s Entertainment: Fairytale Events

Since last year’s win, Fairytale Events has introduced several new characters to its lineup, including the Island Princess, the Spanish Princess, evil villains, and the original character, Tina the Tooth Fairy. This year, the company will continue its goal of accumulating at least 150 volunteer hours—as well as celebrating its fifth anniversary. In honor of this milestone, Fairytale Events will host a birthday party for charity (keep an eye on the Web site for details). fairytaleeventsaz.com. Also a 2017 winner!

AFM Fave! Best Annual Kid’s Event: Fashion Week 4 Kids

Featuring fashion shows and family-friendly activities, Fashion Week 4 Kids is an annual event showcasing high-quality entertainment and current children’s fashion collections from renowned designers and brands. Past participants have included Cheeky Chic Baby & Kids, GAP Kids, Garage Boutique and Concept Store, Beru, Crew and Lu and many more. fw4kids.com.

Best Birthday Party Spot: Pinspiration

At Pinspiration, kiddos are encouraged to dress for a mess as they take part in Pollock’s action- style painting in Arizona’s only Splatter Room (party-goers create a collaborative stretched canvas mural for the birthday child as well as their own canvas to take home). Themed birthdays include rainbow unicorn, pirate and boho for teens, among others. pinspiration.com.

Best Private or Charter School: Scottsdale Christian Academy

Scottsdale Christian Academy is a private K-12 covenant Christian school with a mission to maximize the God-given potential of each student. For 50 years, the academy, in partnership with the school’s parents, has strived to prepare students for the future with a program that truly transforms not only minds but also hearts, preparing students to live lives of purpose and distinction. scarizona.org. Also a 2017 winner! 

Best Summer Day Camp: Arizona Animal Welfare League Summer Day Camps

This summer, Arizona Animal Welfare League offers a variety of camps for the littlest animal lovers (ages 6 to 17). During the week-long sessions, campers may explore animal care, veterinary medicine, responsible pet ownership and wildlife education and partake in tours, crafts, games, animal encounters/interactions, guest speakers and much more. aawl.org.

Best Kid Friendly Hotel: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

From winding waterslides and the white-sand Sunset Beach to the resort’s fun-filled seasonal programming, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offers good times for the kiddos while Mom and Dad enjoy a luxurious escape. Keep an eye on Fairmont Scottsdale Princess’ Web site for all of the resort’s summer fun, including the Fourth of July Freedom Fest, dive-in movies, Saturday-night fireworks, Mermaid University, Techno Glo parties, nature walks and fishing with Ranger Rick and much more. Come late November, be sure to put Christmas at the Princess on your calendar. The annual event delights guests of every age with its musical Christmas tree, Lagoon Lights, train rides, ice- skating rink, cast of cute holiday characters, visits with Santa (of course!) and much more. scottsdaleprincess.com.

Best Nanny Agency: A Perfect Fit

A Perfect Fit, established in 2009, is a full-service nanny agency dedicated to delivering personal assistance in finding the right nanny for every family. In addition to nannies, the company also specializes in household managers, newborn care specialists, sleep trainers, lactation consultants and many other assistants who are dedicated to making a parent’s day a little easier. perfectfitnanny.com. Also a 2017 winner!

Best Indoor Kid’s Entertainment: OdySea Aquarium

From touch pools where guests can pet stingrays and starfish to the underwater escalator where visitors come face-to-face with hammerheads, Scottsdale’s OdySea Aquarium is the Valley’s top spot for underwater exploration. Check out the newest experience, OdySea Voyager, the world’s only moving aquarium experience. odyseaaquarium.com.

Most Entertaining Dinner Spot for Kids: Pita Jungle

Few restaurants let tiny diners have control of their meal like Pita Jungle. At its fifteen-plus local restaurants, Pita Jungle allows kiddos to choose among a long list of fruits and veggies, grains, carbs and protein—for only $5.99, including a drink. And to keep the little ones busy until their dinner arrives, they are gifted an activity sheet full of games and coloring. pitajungle.com. Also a 2017 winner!

Best Kid’s Clothing Store: Cheeky Chic Baby & Kids

Moms and dads head to Scottsdale Quarter’s Cheeky Chic Baby & Kids for the latest looks for their stylish youngsters. Cheeky Chic’s Geri Damone says the top spring/summer trend for girls is unicorns on everything from leggings to purses while boys are sporting camo, rockin’ band tees, edgy artistic designs and 60’s-inspired patches. Joggers and ripped jeans are also on-trend during the coming months. cheekychicbb.com. Also a 2017 winner!

Best Private High School: Xavier College Preparatory

Xavier College Preparatory celebrates its 75th anniversary/Diamond Jubilee this year, offering decades of excellence in young women’s education. The private Phoenix high school has been recognized three times as an exemplary National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education and is one of only 600 schools worldwide to offer the prestigious AP Capstone diploma program. In addition to a top-tier education, Xavier also offers its students incredible opportunities via its innovative international studies program with educational, cultural and service opportunities in France, Germany, Ecuador, Ireland, Nicaragua, Spain, Washington, D.C., and the U.S./ Mexico border. xcp.org.

Best Kid’s Restaurant: Barro’s Pizza

If you ask any kid, they will say pizza is its own food group—and Barro’s pie, with thick, fluffy crust and sweet, spiced red sauce, is a favorite. Parents appreciate that there are conveniently more than 30 Valleywide locations for the whole family to savor. barrospizza.com.

Best Master-Planned Community for Children in the Valley: DC Ranch

Not only is Scottsdale’s DC Ranch one of the most luxurious places to call home in the Valley, it is also one of the most kid-friendly thanks to endless opportunities for children to meet new friends and explore their creativity. DC Ranch’s own youth theater program, The Homestead Playhouse, has put on more than 20 productions while TGIF Fun Nights, art workshops, cooking classes, super-fun holiday programming and dive-in movies are on any pint-size DC Ranch dweller’s calendar. dcranch.com. Also a 2017 winner!

Best Holiday Experience for Children: North Pole Experience

After a quick trolley ride through a magic portal, Flagstaff’s North Pole Experience brings kids
and kids at heart to Santa’s 400-year-old workshop. Guests get to work alongside elves in the toy factory, delight in Mrs. Claus’ Bakery, take part in Elf University and meet Santa himself during the ultimate photo op at the end of the festive visit. northpoleexperience.com.

Best Pediatric Dentist Office: Desert Ridge Pediatric Dentistry

The top goal of Phoenix’s Desert Ridge Pediatric Dentistry is to provide quality dental care—and the dentists do so in a family-based, high-tech practice. Though Mom and Dad appreciate the top-notch care, the kiddos adore the super-fun office, from the gaming systems to the cool outer space theme. azkidsdds.com.

Fast Favorites

Best Children’s Hospital: Phoenix Children’s Hospital, phoenixchildrens.org.

Best Overnight Summer Camp: Camp Maripai, girlscoutsaz.org.

Best Pediatrician: Dr. Katherine Lichtsinn, scottsdalechildrensgroup.com.

Best Toy Store: Kidstop, kidstoptoys.com.

Best Waterpark: Big Surf Waterpark, bigsurffun.com.

Best Academic Tutoring Service: Pimentel Academic Services, pimentelacademicservices.com. Also a 2017 winner!

AFM Fave! Best Kid’s Restaurant: Joe’s Farm Grill, joesfarmgrill.com.

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