Parents across the region have spoken. During the nomination period in March and the final voting period in May, we asked our readers and online followers to weigh in on their favorite family-friendly spots — local businesses, attractions, family services and more.
While some perennial favorites topped the ballots once again, this year they’re joined by several new honorees.
Here they are, the winners and finalists for our fourth annual Parent Choice Awards in the “Health, Learning & More” theme.
View the complete 2019 Parent Choice Awards winners in our July issue, or click here for winners in the “Things to do with Kids” categories. Click here for winners in the “Food & Shopping” categories.
Best town to raise a family
Trendy, eclectic, bustling and…family-friendly? While these traits may not initially seem synonymous, a new generation of parents is choosing to raise families in this hip neighborhood located close to downtown Cleveland. Affordable housing, ample parks, easy highway access, convenient schools and library branches, a lineup of community events, and a plethora of locally-owned shops and restaurants combine to make the city appealing to all ages.
Best library or library branch
Orange Branch (Cuyahoga County Public Library)
As one of 27 CCPL locations, the Orange Branch has access to the lending library — including books, digital materials, music, movies, devices, toys and much more — of one of the nation’s top-rated public library systems. Its various events cater to patrons of all ages, and periodic Orange Branch Friends Book Sales make adding to your home library fun and affordable.
Brecksville Branch (Cuyahoga Co. Public Library), cuyahogalibrary.org/branches/brecksville
Hudson Library & Historical Society, hudsonlibrary.org
Westlake Porter Public Library, westlakelibrary.org
Best place for kids’ swim lessons
Goldfish Swim School
Four Northeast Ohio locations offer bright colors, a friendly atmosphere and shiver-free 90 degree pools, all to let kids focus on having fun while they’re actually learning lifesaving swimming skills. Kids ages 4 months to 12 years are able to overcome their fears, learn to swim, respect the water and have lots of fun while doing it.
Best dance studio
Beck Center for the Arts
Beck Center’s Dance Education is a comprehensive and well-respected program led by a faculty with a combined 310 years of experience in the classroom. Programming is available for early childhood students, youth, teens and adults in several forms of dance, including preschool dance, preballet, Kids ‘N Dance, ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, pointe and tap.
Best children’s music class/activity
With classes available at several area venues, Kindermusik’s active music-making lets children sing, move, play instruments and hear stories — all while developing social skills, problem-solving skills, pre-math skills and a foundation for reading. Its music-and-movement programs are available for infants through age 7, including special needs sessions and courses for children learning to master English as a second language.
Best place for a kid’s haircut
Cuts N Curls
This Solon adult and children’s hair salon also is a toy boutique and party place all wrapped up into one very neat package. The enjoyable experience takes out the stress of getting a haircut — especially when there’s shopping, video games, movies, snacks and a skee ball machine to pass the time.
Best emergency room/after hours clinic to take your kids
University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s
With Pediatric Emergency Services at 14 Northeast Ohio locations, families are now closer than ever to emergency care designed specifically for babies and children, with physicians, nurses and support staff who specialize in pediatric emergency medicine. The hospital’s Level I Pediatric Trauma Center is ready to handle life-threatening injuries 24 hours a day.
Best family dentist/dental center
Dr. Trista’s Children’s Dentistry
At this Lyndhurst pediatric dentist office, Dr. Trista Onesti and her staff help children create an early foundation for strong dental health. The newly-remodeled space is clean, bright and modern with nautical accents, making a visit to the dentist feel like a day on the beach. Services offered include routine visits, prevention, restorative treatment and emergency care.
This independent practice in South Euclid — which has won this Parent Choice Awards category for three consecutive years — is kid-friendly with the goal of easing anxieties about coming to the doctor. Its lobby features a two-story tree house and a separate waiting room equipped with computers for teens. Each exam room has its own age-specific decor, books and toys that make visits fun and more comfortable.
Best pregnancy/postpartum care for moms and families
This full-service agency specializes in birth and postpartum doulas, childbirth education and in-home sleep training in many Northeast Ohio communities. Its staff provides physical, emotional and informational support to help clients navigate the journey into and through parenthood. CLEBaby serves 11 area hospitals and its staff has more than 85 years of combined experience in working with babies and families.
Beyond the Bump, beyondthebumpservices.com
Nurtured Foundation, nurturedfoundation.com
Pink Newborn Services, pinknewbornservices.com
The Womb Wellness Center, thewombwellnesscenter.com
The Womb Within, thewombwithin.com
Best place for family-friendly fitness
With dozens of locations in the region, the YMCA’s fitness facilities, swimming pools, camps, programming and more are convenient and close to home. With its nationwide memberships, families can visit any participating Y in the U.S., so you can reach your health and wellness goals wherever you live, work or travel.
Best place for families to volunteer
Greater Cleveland Food Bank
Volunteers are crucial to all operations of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, whether in traditional roles — collecting, sorting and repacking food — or using special skills to support administrative functions or special projects. In 2018, more than 18,000 volunteers contributed more than 85,000 hours of service to the Food Bank, a savings of more than $2 million in salaries and benefits, allowing for additional food to be provided to agencies and clients.
Best place to find a babysitter/child care
The Nanny Connection
The Nanny Connection opened its doors in Hudson in 2004 with the goal of finding qualified local nannies for local families needing full- or part-time child care. Since then, its services have expanded to include an on-call babysitting service, nanny share and summer nanny placements, as well as a la carte background screening, events, business back-up care, event care, and care for out-of-town guests.