1996 Readers Poll
1996 Critics Picks
Best Baby Presents

It's the Lil' Things in life that count, and this popular pre-shower destination sees its second year as winner. And it's not beyond reason that very close second placer, Beyond Conception, could do even better next year!

Best Branch Library

The votes for this northwest branch were stacked! Last year's winner, Carver, came in third behind the second-place gridlock of Manchaca, Hausen, and Windsor Village.

Best Children's Bookstore (new)

It's a water-to-landslide as the Toad does it again, taking over 50% of the vote! The Baobab Tree made a respectable showing in second, just edging out the BookPeople/Book Stop megastores.

Toad Hall
1206 W. 38th, Ste. 1101

Best Children's Bookstore (used)

The happy home of the half-off overruns sells some used, but also an amazing (and cheap!) selection of new volumes. The Assistance League's Thrift House came in second.

Half-Price Books
3110 Guadalupe

Best Children's Clothing

Yes, this first-place winner and previous poll winner pulled ahead enough to create a visible gap, but runner's-up Dragonsnaps and Wild Child are closing that chasm.

The Gap
Gap Kids, Barton Creek Square, 512/328-6288
2354 Guadalupe, 512/482-0355
Gap Kids, Highland Mall, 512/452-5440
Gap Kids, 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., 512/257-1774

Best Children's Entertainer

It takes more than just a few grains of faith to be able to pull off quality kids' entertainment, and the ex-Grains of Faith leader has what it takes: a guitar, a fresh attitude, and a goofy sense of humor. Last year's winner Andy Ehrenfield, along with partner Amy, took second.

Joe McDermott

Best Children's Resale Clothing

Between you and us, this friendly consignment had a run for their money, but squeaked passed formidable contender Once Upon a Child.

Between Friends
8108 Mesa

Best Children's Shoe Store

Previous winner Sandy's stayed one step ahead of last year's winner, Payless. It's a battle for the soles of our kids!

Sandy's Shoes & Toys
2525 W. Anderson, Bldg. 1, #150

Best Children's Video Selection

Could it be their massive selection, or their kid-friendly buying policy, or just that there's one on almost every derned corner? Who knows? Blockbuster keeps busting up this category year after year. Other notables include Toad Hall, I Luv Video, and Borders.

1112-A N. Lamar

Best Drop-off Childcare

The Home of Bevo just beats out over 20 competitors in this new category. Who knew Austin had so many options? Notable also-rans: Extend-a-Care, Child's Day, and Parent's Night Out at United Methodist.

Best Playground/Park

The runaway (train), land(slide), hands down (in the sandbox), no-contest swinger of over 80% of the vote -- Ladies and Gentlemen, and children of all ages: We present... Zilker Playscape.

Zilker Park
2100 Barton Springs Rd.

Best Playscape (indoor)

D.Z.? Maybe you should zeet down?? Ha! Not in this mad, mad place! It's raging Pandamonium in second, and Kidsport in third in this new category for 1996.

Discovery Zone
9503 Research

David Brendan Hall

Best Swimming Spot

What's blue and green and loved all over, and wins this category every year? Barton Springs o'course. The shallows, the lounging mommy and daddy rocks, the springboard... what better way to live the Austin Life? Try out some of the other contenders, that's how! Deep Eddy took a solid second, Hamilton Pool placed third, and most of the city's neighborhood pools got at least a mention.

Barton Springs Pool
2131 William Barton Dr.

Best Toy Store For Kids

Something very David and Goliath about this. South Austin's beloved Terra Toys takes on the mammoth giraffe and makes a good show! Toy Joy, Over the Rainbow, and Anna's Toy Depot fill out the runners-up positions.

Terra Toys
2438 W. Anderson Ste. 1-C

Toys R Us
4025 Capital of Texas Hwy.

David Brendan Hall

Best Way To Spend A Lazy Afternoon

Our benevolent Springs Eternal beat out its own home, perennial fave Zilker Park, for the first time in four years. Deep Eddy and Lake Travis gathered enough votes to splash into second, while "Sleeping" (!) stole third.

Barton Springs Pool
2131 William Barton Dr.

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