2016 Winners: BEST OF Parenting

Birthday Hotspot

Micke Grove Zoo

If your wild animal (ages 4-10) is celebrating a BIG birthday, throw them a party at Micke Grove Zoo! Jungle and rainforest themed decorations liven up the Alice S. Hunter Education Building where party festivities are held. Every invitee gets admission to the zoo, and there are even chances to get up close and personal with a few of the zoo’s favorite residents! Lodi Mgzoo.com

Kid’s Boutique

Sassy Pants Children’s Boutique

Need designer duds for your budding fashionista? Sassy Pants Children’s Boutique has you covered. With apparel, shoes, accessories, and gifts for kids up to age 14, it’s the prime place to teach your tike the importance of style. Grab a clever onesie for your neighbor’s new baby, or pick up a tutu for your own little princess. Stockton Shopsassypants.com

Children’s Gymnastics


Let your children work out their energy as they tumble and twist at the multi-sport and entertainment facility appropriately dubbed Gymstars. In addition to its celebrated gymnastics classes for kids ages two months and older (plus competitive level gymnastics for rising stars), the facility teaches cheer, karate, soccer and a superhero training class. Stockton Gymstars.com

Children’s Ballet

Stockton Ballet

Here, children interested in ballet can grow into well-rounded dancers through curriculum that stretches beyond traditional ballet instruction to incorporate jazz, tap, Pilates, hip-hop, ballroom dancing, tumbling, lyrical dancing, and more. Youth programs are open to kids ages 4-15. Five six to eight week sessions are available throughout the course of the year. Stockton Dancestockton.com

Kid’s Dance

The Dance Connection

For 30 years, instructors at the family-owned studio have been instilling a love of dance in its students and fostering opportunities for children to grow in a wide genre of styles. From ballet to jazz, hip hop to competitive dance, the studio opens its doors to children of all ages and abilities. Stockton (209) 956-2522

Outdoor Activities

Lodi Lake

It’s time for a little fun in the sun! The lakefront park has no shortage of activities to keep busy bodies, well, busy. Choose from family-friendly choices like boating, kayaking, chartered river tours, and nature programs, or let kids run wild (with supervision) on the playgrounds and in the water. Lodi (209) 368-5624

Children’s Martial Arts

Moore’s Chinese Martial Arts & Yoga Dojo

Shou Shu-style kung-fu is described as a serious self-defense approach to martial arts. Classes are adapted to fit different age levels so Lil Dragons (ages 3-5) are more focused on developing motor skills, hand-eye coordination, focus, self confidence, and discipline, while older students delve into self-discipline, respect, concentration, and courtesy. Stockton Karateyogastockton.com

Children’s Photographer

Sweet Sisters Photography

A born-and-raised Stocktonian, Janda McManus started her photography journey shortly after her son was born and she became addicted to capturing all of life’s little moments. From that, a business sprouted and since 2011 she has been capturing others’ memories on film, specializing in photographs of young children. Stockton

Children’s Dentist

Dr. Lester Low

As a father of three, Lester Low, DDS, is skilled at handling young patients. For children there may be comfort in visiting a dentist the whole family can see, and from the moment you step foot in the waiting room, fears will be alleviated. Dr. Low and his staff provide a comfortable experience from start to finish for both routine exams and dental procedures. Stockton Smilesdoctor.co



For more than 50 years, Kumon’s approach to learning has helped children thrive as they move through enrichment programs at their own pace. The approach not only helps children build necessary skills in math and reading, it also focuses on increasing their motivation and focus to become more successful students. Multiple Locations Kumon.com