1994 Readers Poll
1994 Critics Picks
Best Baby Toys & Stuff (resale)

The former Southern Union Gas service office is now the location of the best selection of pre-owned (80%) and new (20%) children's accessories -- car seats, strollers, toys, furniture & clothing. They buy pre-owned goods, but don't take consignments.

Once Upon a Child
7010 W. Hwy. 71, Ste. #155, 512/715-4868
1601 S. I-35 #325, Round Rock, 512/467-4699

Best Baby-Sitting Deal

If you're craving a few hours to yourself to see a movie without interruption, or just sit around the house and not do anything, but balk at the idea of paying per hour for the privilege of doing so, have we got the deal for you. On the first Friday of every month, Trinity United holds its Parents' Night Out from 6:30-10pm, baby-sitting kids at the unheard-of rate of $3 per child for the entire evening. Leave the little darlings where they'll be entertained with toys, videos, and art projects while you relive the freedom of your childless years. (Call for reservations as they go quickly; Closed for August.)

Trinity United Methodist Church
4001 Speedway

Best Branch Library

Though most of our branches provide excellent programming for kids, the downtown location wins out -- its sheer size alone makes it the best candidate, allowing for the widest variety of activities to pique any youngster's interest. Events are scheduled throughout the year, but summer is definitely the best time to check them out.

Best Comfort Food Place To Take The Kids

Got a hankering for those plate specials you and the family used to indulge in when you were little? Tired of the "pretty food" stuff served in the more trendy restaurants that never seems to be served in large portions, let alone cooked long enough? Want to go to a place where the waitresses will coo that yours really are the prettiest children they've ever seen? Head on over to The Frisco.

Best Elementary School For The Classics

Lee is the only AISD school that offers Latin to elementary scholars. We think the classics still hold their own in this politically correct world.

AISD Carruth Administration Center
1111 W. Sixth

Best Kiddie Meal Prizes

Neon dinosaurs whose heads twist off to reveal magic markers, straws that change color when cold liquids are sipped through them, 3-D comics, and glasses. The Nineties version of cereal-box prizes -- we're still waiting for a super magic decoder ring, confident that Wendy's will not disappoint us.

various locations

Best Kids Clothing (resale)

Cheshire has the best selection of eclectic women's, maternity, and children's clothing, and some toys -- you can get lost treasure hunting. A con-signment store, it buys some used items.

Cheshire Cat
612 W. 34th

Best Kids' Section We've Needed For A Long Time

Though not primarily a children's bookstore, owner Rosalind Oliphant has stocked it with intelligent and impressive literature for children, especially African-American authors. Adults will also find plenty to occupy their time, too; Folk-tales stocks posters, t-shirts, and cards.

Folk Tales
1806 Nueces

Best Nostalgia Burger Place To Take The Kids

If you're sick of drive-thru mega-chain fast food places with the McFluff and the McHype, and thinking that the good old days of driving up to the burger stand, walking up to the window, and ordering hamburgers, fries, a brown cow, and a malt are over, think again. Have the kids hop into the car and drive them over to Tastee Kreem -- this is the genuine thing, not some smarmy marketing ploy.

Best Place To Buy Resale Uniforms

Cub Scout, Little League, Campfire, and soccer uniforms can make considerable dents in the family budget -- unless you head for the Junior League Thrift Shop. A friend recently picked up a mint-condition Brownie shirt for a quarter, and word has it that they just received a shipment of new soccer socks -- which may not sound too exciting unless you've ever paid retail for the darn things.

Junior League of Austin Resale Shop
6555 Burnet

Best Place To Buy Used Children's Books

Great selection, terrific prices, and a good cause. Relics from your childhood can be rediscovered and shared with your little ones. Consider donating your old books to make room for the new treasures you'll find and bring home.

Main office: 1015 Norwood Park Blvd., 512/637-7100
2800 S. Lamar, 512/442-8802
836 Airport, 512/389-3277
Main office: 1015 Norwood Park Blvd., 512/637-7100
13096 Hwy. 183 #104, 512/258-5898
8965 Research Blvd., 512/832-0004
5555 N. Lamar, 512/451-2306
9801 Brodie, 512/280-8037
701 Newman, 512/478-6711
7100-C W. US Hwy 290, 512/288-7700
3910 Far West, 512/795-6387
6505 Burleson, 512/681-3301
7727 Burnet, 512/374-0260
1819-B S. Pleasant Valley, 512/389-0547
1700 W. Parmer #101, 512/719-4119
9111 S. First, 512/280-2204
1420 Wells Branch Pkwy. #300, 512/251-2777
2814 Bee Caves Rd. Ste.2814-B, 512/329-8771

Best Place To Have A Birthday Party

We don't really advocate emulating Michael Jackson in any way, but there is something special about having your birthday in an amusement park. And while the Magic Kingdom it's not, Kiddie Acres is Austin's closest thing: It's a lot cheaper and the lines are much shorter. K.A. guides shepherd the revelers from ride to ride while you wield the camcorder.

Kiddie Acres
4800 W. Howard Ln.

Best Spur Of The Moment Field Trip

If you haven't taken your kids to the neighborhood fire station, you're missing a great field trip. We all know that firefighters are hired for their fitness, courage, and resistance to acrophobia but we've never met a firefighter who wasn't great with kids. On a single visit to the station, kids can get close-up views of firefighting equipment and the big red truck (sometimes they get to blast the siren!). They also get stickers and fire safety handouts suitable to color.

Austin Fire Department
92 Red River
Austin Fire Department Headquarters, 4201 Ed Bluestein, 512/974-0130
Austin Fire Department Station #7, 201 Chicon
Fire Station #11, 1605 Kinney
South Austin Fire Station, 1705 S. Congress, 512/442-6822
Fire Station #1, Fifth & Trinity, 512/974-4100

Best Summer Music For Kids

Some of us at the Chronicle can remember attending this summer event as a child, recalling those mornings full of music and magic. These days, the park can be considered an Austin tradition; they always feature local musicians, clowns, and puppeteers, a place to make your own art, an "instrumental petting zoo" where kids can check out the instrument(s) of their choice, and even 10cents cups of lemonade! Mark your calendar for next year, as you've already missed their performances for this year.

Austin Symphony Orchestra
1101 Red River

Best Toy Resale

The secret's out. If you've ever wondered where daycare centers get their wonderful toys, wonder no more. Anna's Toy Depot has been used for years by area daycares as a source for inexpensive used toys in good condition. They also feature an excellent selection of new educational toys such as puzzles and puppets, and a great children's used-video section. Keep your babes in toyland, without breaking the bank.

Anna's Toy Depot
2620-B S. Lamar

Best Vintage Baby Clothes

"Ask me where my money goes, to buy my baby fancy clothes...". Outfit your little tyke in the hippest vintage children's wear around. From teensy little baby outfits to dresses, pants, and shirts for the styling and profiling toddler set -- Amelia's has them (little vintage cowboy boots are a real find!).

Amelia's Retro-Vogue & Relics
2213 South 1st

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