Best Overnight Camp
Camp Scherman/Girl Scouts of Orange County
Open to all girls in grades 2-12 campers not only gain outdoor skills for life but also develop lifelong friendships. At Camp Scherman girls explore, discover, and have tons of fun in a safe environment with trained counselors and staff.
www.girlscoutsoc.org | Mountain Center, CA
Best Day Camp
For 25 years, this OC camp has added a dose of summer fun to the lives of over 40,000 children, thanks to the effort of some 2100 amazing staff members and 5500 spirited teen volunteers. The traditional day camp offers endless activities, all taking place at the camp’s lovely Newport Dunes waterfront location. Ziplines, go-karts, archery, mini-golf, rock-climbing, paddle boarding are just a few of the ways campers spend their days and weekly themes keeps it fresh for kids who opt for multi-week experiences.
www.campjames.com | Newport Dunes
Best Gymnastics Class
With over 50 years of experience in training and developing athletes, some up to the Olympic level, SCATS’ goal is to provide the safest environment possible. Toddlers to teens can gain professional instruction for gymnastics with skills and physical fitness that will transfer to all sports. Drop off the kids once a month for Parents Night Out with organized games and free play time.
www.scatsgymnastics.com | Huntington Beach
Editor’s Pick: Overnight Camp
Jameson Ranch Camp
This child-focused, self-sustainable summer camp situated in the southern Sierras offers two-week programs for children ages six to sixteen. Campers ditch their tech and screens to make lifelong friends, experience rustic ranch living, and connect with a community of positive people while horseback riding, rock climbing, swimming and exploring the beautiful natural setting of the camp’s extensive property.
www.jamesonranchcamp.com | Southern Sierras
Best Skate Park
Vans Skate Park
At Vans Skatepark, street skaters can drop into the Combi pool or skate through the Main Street Course for an indoor and outdoor skating adventure, or slide down a birch-surfaced mini-ramp. If bikes are your thing, check out their BMX schedule for the park. Safety is always first and all protective gear is included with admission.
www.vans.com | Orange
Best Storytelling Time
Huntington Beach Library
Gearing their storytimes specifically to toddlers, preschoolers, school-aged children and a mixed all-age presentation, keeps kids engaged at their own level and inspires a love of literature. If kids need an extra boost of motivation, the library hold fun raffles of prizes and toys, with tickets earned by reading books. We especially love the monthly Family Evening Pajama Storytime and “Paws to Read” pups brought in to lend a listening ear to struggling readers!
www.huntingtonbeachca.gov | Huntington Beach
Best Science/Tech Camp
Bionerds – Debut Winner
Celebrating their one-year anniversary, Bionerds provides hands on learning for kids curious about the amazing living things they encounter every day. This fun, educational, and memorable experience helps to develop the next generation of biology nerds through self-discovery.
www.bionerdsllc.com | Throughout Orange County
Editor’s Pick: Skate Park
Etnies Skate Park
Etnies Skate Park is the largest free skatepark in the state, with an area of over 40,000 square feet park hosting 60,000 visitors each year (non-residents pay a nominal annual fee for a membership card). The skate park also is home to movie screenings, film camps, skateboard camps, overnight camp outs, private lessons and skateboarding classes from beginner to advanced. All participants are required to wear protective gear when enjoying the facility.
www.etniesskatepark.com | Lake Forest
Best Skating Rink
Anaheim Ice – Debut Winner
With everything from adult competitive hockey leagues to facilities for birthday parties, Anaheim Ice also offers a variety of courses for skaters of all skill levels. Their homeschool Spotlight Event offers a “Try Hockey for Free” session beginning this Fall.
www.anaheimice.com | Anaheim
Best Carousel & Movie Theater
Irvine Spectrum & Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 IMAX & RPX
Readers didn’t have to go round and round to make this call, Irvine Spectrum Center’s Carousel is a favorite way to break up a shopping day. Kids can hop on antique-designed horses and a menagerie of animals daily from 10am to 11pm. This is just one way to make a family day of fun — a kiddie train and of course, the giant wheel beckon, as do the Ride 7D for older kids and live entertainment every weekend. If you need to head in for a cool break, head to the Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21 IMAX & RPX to watch shows and the latest IMAX movies on an eight-story screen, perhaps from the comfort of a luxe recliner.
www.shopirvinespectrumcenter.com | Irvine
Best Theatre Class
South Coast Repertory Theater
As a community based non-profit theater, South Coast Repertory (SCR) is committed to bringing Tony award winning productions of the highest caliber. As some prefer to be on the stage instead in the seats, SCR provides acting classes grouped by peer-ages and taught by local professionals. They feel the skills developed and explored in their classrooms give students the ability and the confidence to become creative problem-solvers, inspired communicators and innovative thinkers.
www.scr.org | Costa Mesa
Best Martial Arts Class
Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley
From preschool to competition level, the martial arts classes offered at the Boys and Girls Club help kids build confidence, respect and discipline. Offering both Karate and Tae Kwon Do, the classes are priced according to each child’s interest level, allowing them to take from one class per week, to an unlimited number for those aspiring to higher levels.
www.bgchv.com | Fountain Valley
Best Dance Studio for Tots
With dance classes starting at age two, these studios’ goal to “Build Confidence-Have Fun-Make Friends-Be positive-Believe all things are Possible” is one to admire. They also happen to put out some talented toe tappers in the process. From fun to recital and performing groups, the studio grows with the child as they progress. If your tot is considering dipping a toe into the dance world, consider the Princess Dance course, where a different princess leads a fun afternoon of dance, art, stories and music each week for six sessions.
www.buenaparkdance.com | Buena Park, Placentia, Tustin
Best Birthday Party Place
Big Air Trampoline – Debut Winner
Big Air Trampoline offers an array of fun filled indoor activities for all ages. Their newest attraction, The Bullpen, will test your inner cowboy. Whether you choose to play dodgeball, rock climb, or visit the slam dunk court, everyone is sure to have a Big Air blast.
www.bigairusa.com | Buena Park, Laguna Hills, Redlands
Best Swim Class
Offering the readers’ fave swimming classes in Orange County, Waterworks Aquatics mission is to make people proficient and efficient swimmers, even as young as 3 months. Waterworks Aquatics is not just another swim class. They provide Family Swim Night, dive and turns classes, and lifesaving workshops.
www.waterworksswim.com | Throughout Orange County
Editor’s Pick: Indoor Play Place
This Children’s Museum offers an imagination playground, along with a series of exhibits where kids can put themselves in the feet (and boots, and helmets and uniforms) of exciting occupations they might one day become. A farm, supermarket, café, dentist office, marina, post office and construction site are a few of the experiences they can enjoy. (Frequent special events inspire many families to opt for a membership as there is always something new to enjoy.)
www.pretendcity.org | Irvine