Kids
1995 Readers Poll
1995 Critics Picks
Best Baby Presents

Thirty thousand square feet of all things baby-to-six years old. Whether you need something frivolous or practical, chances are you'll find it here, from toys to apparel to furniture. If you can't decide, bring a test kid with you to try out anything in the place.

Best Branch Library

A return winner that offers lots of quality time for the youth of our city.

Carver Branch Library
1161 Angelina
512/974-1010
www.austintexas.gov/library

Best Children's Bookstore (new)

A great source for books for every age from wee-lil-bunny to college-bound. Books from around the world, books that examine all sorts of cultures, books in other languages, plus sidelines like puppets and CD-ROMs.

Toad Hall
1206 W. 38th, Ste. 1101
512/323-2665

Best Children's Bookstore (used)

Plenty of previously owned, housebroken, good-with-children favorites and an impressive array of not-used, only-slightly-less-than-new, quality editions.

Half-Price Books
3110 Guadalupe
512/451-4463
www.halfpricebooks.com/

Best Children's Clothing

The store itself is in infancy - open now only nine months. Long enough for our readers to gestate a great fondness for the mostly cotton offerings in sizes to fit kids from floppy-headed newborns to fidgety five-year-olds.

Best Children's Entertainer

His smile is Pepsodent perfect, his sense of enthusiasm is cheerleader chipper, and he has the energy of, well, a 10-year-old. Which makes Andy Ehrenfeld a great one for giving youngsters a show biz spectacular good time.

Best Children's Musician

Aloha-Joe-ha, he of the tacky shirts and many albums and videos, has been performing since 1984, cranking out kiddie hits like: "Goo-Goo, Ga-Ga," "Bahamas Pajamas," and "Deep in the Jungle." While he lives here, he doesn't play here much; he's much in demand on the national tour circuit. But he is coming home to the Paramount on September 10.

Best Children's Resale Clothing

Small store, big selection, beginning with fetal wear (read: maternity clothes) and sprouting up to the pre-teen range. If you have kids' clothes your kid doesn't fit into any more, they have a consignment for you, angel.

Between Friends
8108 Mesa
512/346-1656

Best Children's Shoe Store

We all know kids run and grow faster when they're wearing Power Ranger sneaks or Pocahontas mocs. This is the place for just those things. Not just a wide selection, but a selection of wide-width shoes, too.

Payless Shoesource
2301 E. Seventh, 512/472-8616
2326 S. Congress, 512/326-4515
www.payless.com/

Best Children's Video Selection

Scores of vids for kids of all ages, from the venerable Disney animated classics of yore to the prime-time 'toons of today, with everything in between.

Blockbuster
1112-A N. Lamar
512/440-7710
www.blockbuster.com/

Best Place To Have A B-day Party

Worst place to have a hangover, according to our source, who nonetheless couldn't deny that the kids had fun at warp speed for the first hour, then spent 30 minutes in a private party room being wildly entertained by a poker-faced but fun-funny employee in an inside-out shirt (performing samurai maneuvers come cake-cutting time).

Discovery Zone
9503 Research
512/346-9666

Best Playscape

Make 'em sweat on the playscape, make 'em chill out in Barton Springs, make 'em love learning at the nature center, make 'em laugh cheap with a bag of duck or pigeon feed.

Zilker Park
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
512/974-6700
www.austintexas.gov

Best Storyteller

He's easily spotted by his astonishing resemblance to Santa (a resemblance he puts to good use at Dallas' NorthPark Mall every Yuletide), but there's more to the man than apple cheeks and a snowy beard. He has an innate sensitivity to kids and a sense of how to unlock their imaginations through stories. He makes "once upon a time" more magical than David Copperfield ever could.

Best Swimming Spot

Future Olympian swimmer Henry reports: "It's cooooold, mama. It's fun."

Barton Springs Pool
2201 Barton Springs Rd.
512/867-3080
www.austintexas.gov/department/barton-springs-pool

David Brendan Hall

Best Toy Store For Kids

The story on this wildly successful chain toy store can be read in its shopping carts: They're huge. And so is the store and its inventory of playthings, athletic equipment, electronic gizmos, bikes, and so on. Enough stock to send a kid into shock.

Toys R Us
4025 Capital of Texas Hwy.
512/441-7216

Best Way To Spend A Lazy Afternoon

Make 'em sweat on the playscape, make 'em chill out in Barton Springs, make 'em love learning at the nature center, make 'em laugh cheap with a bag of duck or pigeon feed.

Zilker Park
2100 Barton Springs Rd.
512/974-6700
www.austintexas.gov

 
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