dedicated to discovering all that is authentically amarillo
current issuecurrent issue
Cover Story - Posted April 25, 2014 7:43 a.m.
photo
photos by Shannon Richardson

Reader’s Choice Awards

more resources
Share This: Bookmark and Share

Ask an Amarillo resident what they love most about our city. If they fall into a certain age demographic and happen to have children, you’ll most likely hear something about how the Texas Panhandle is a great place to live and raise a family. It may be a cliché at this point, but it’s true: Amarillo is filled with local businesses, organizations, activities and destinations that make our parenting lives that much easier. In March, we asked our readers to vote on their favorite Amarillo products, services and attractions geared toward children and families. It turns out there’s no shortage of opinions in West Texas – especially when it comes to kids and parenting. Here are the winners of our inaugural Readers’ Choice awards.


Arts and Entertainment

Art Instruction

Brush With Art
Since Jeff and Lillie Farris opened their paint-your-own-pottery studio in 2002, Amarillo residents have made it their top choice for all kinds of unique gifts, including hand-painted plates, beautiful mosaics, and do-it-yourself pinch pots. With everything from fused-glass workshops to field trips to party packages for children and adults, Brush With Art earns top billing for kid-friendly art instruction. 1948 Civic Circle, 355.6565, BrushWithArtOnline.com

Runners up:
Amarillo Museum of Art 2200 S. Van Buren, 371.5050, AmarilloArt.org
Amarillo College Kid’s College 1314 S. Polk, 371.5000, ACTX.edu/KidsCollege/

Dance Program

Lone Star Dance Academies
There’s far more to the Lone Star Ballet than its annual production of “The Nutcracker.” As part of its goal of promoting the art of dance to the people in and around Amarillo, it serves as a training facility for hundreds of aspiring local dancers. With a 17,600 square-foot studio space and instruction on every style from ballet to tap and hip-hop, this dance academy is the launching pad for any child with a spring in his or her step. 3218 Hobbs Rd., 372.2463, LoneStarBallet.org/Academy.html

Runners up:
The Edge Amarillo 3405 S. Western, 433.0340, TheEdge-Amarillo.com
Amarillo College Kid’s College 1314 S. Polk, 371.5000, ACTX.edu/KidsCollege/

Music Program

Amarillo Youth Choirs
Led by veteran educator Jerry Perales and now in its 24th season, the Amarillo Boy and Girl Choirs provide a friendly, encouraging environment for children with an interest in vocal music. Around 200 students participate in its four choirs, giving multiple concerts every year in Amarillo, throughout local schools, and occasionally on trips throughout the U.S. and overseas. In March, the Amarillo Girl Choir performed at Canterbury Cathedral in England. 203 SW 8th Ave., Suite 14073, 372.1100, AmaYouthChoirs.org

Runners up:
Amarillo College Kid’s College 1314 S. Polk, 371.5000, ACTX.edu/KidsCollege/
Amarillo Opera 2223 S. Van Buren, 372.7464, AmarilloOpera.org

Party Inflatables

Amarillo Classic Events
It’s not an outdoor party without inflatables, and Amarillo’s go-to business to rent bouncers, slides and other fun attractions – not to mention the air compressors that power them – is Amarillo Classic Events. It’s become a one-stop party shop for local schools and parents. 4807 S. Washington, 680.8340, AmarilloClassicEventsTx.com

Runners up:
ABC Inflatable Game Rentals 4518 S. Georgia, 654.2180
Parties Picnics & Promotions 5911 Glenoak Lane, 359.7840, PartyAmarillo.com

Party Place

Don Harrington Discovery Center
Amarillo’s favorite place to learn about nature, science and space also happens to be its favorite place to host a kid’s birthday party. With a variety of exhibits designed to engage children and families, the Discovery Center is ideal for large groups of curious, energetic kids. Even better, it offers a ton of fun activities and themes. From “Shark Attack” to “Mad Scientist” to “Bubble Blast,” there’s something memorable for every age and interest. 1200 Streit Drive, 355.9547, DHDC.org

Runners up:
Cheer Texas 9200 FM 2590, 468.9355, CheerTexas.com
Wonderland Amusement Park 2601 Dumas Drive, 383.4712, WonderlandPark.com

Party Props

Card & Party Factory
Need balloons to match your superhero party? Tablewear that coordinates with your princess theme? An inflatable palm tree cooler to help hydrate your little pirates? If you’re like the rest of Amarillo, you’ll probably plan a trip to the Card & Party Factory near 34th and Bell. Regardless of your theme, this party-supply clearinghouse has everything you’ll ever need – and probably a few things you don’t but decided to purchase anyway. 3339 Bell, 355.7340, WallysPartyFactory.com

Runners up:
Amarillo Classic Events 4807 S. Washington, 680.8340, AmarilloClassicEventsTx.com
Parties, Picnics & Promotions 5911 Glenoak Lane, 359.7840, PartyAmarillo.com

Theatre Program

ALT Academy
Hundreds of young actors, singers and dancers first learn to love the performing arts at Amarillo Little Theatre’s award-winning academy, where director Jason Crespin and his talented crew have produced shows like “Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr.”, “Shrek: The Musical”, “Stuart Little”, and most recently, Disney’s “High School Musical on Stage!” The ALT Academy offers dance, theater and vocal performance classes for all ages. 2019 Civic Circle, 355.9991, AmarilloLittleTheatre.org

Runners up:
Amarillo College Kid’s College 1314 S. Polk, 371.5000, ACTX.edu/KidsCollege/
Texas Academy of Performing Arts 3701 Plains Blvd., Suite 25, 367.9547, MyTAPA.org/bout.html


Education

Day Camp

Don Harrington Discovery Center
A magnet for children and families with an interest in all things science, the Don Harrington Discovery Center stays busy during the summer months with a number of camps. This summer, younger kids can enjoy half-day camps about space, shapes, slime, and even Dr. Seuss. Older children – up through kids entering eighth grade – can attend full-day camps on cooking, chemistry, storms, robotics, magic and more. 1200 Streit Drive, 355.9547, DHDC.org

Runners up:
Amarillo College Badger Kids Camps and Classes 1314 S. Polk, 371.5000, ACTX.edu/KidsCollege
Amarillo Zoo 2400 N. Polk, 381.7911, AmarilloZoo.org

Financial Education Program

Amarillo National Bank
Most kids don’t have much money. But thanks to chores, allowances and birthday gifts, eventually they may outgrow their piggy banks. When this happens, they need to know how to manage, save and spend that cash responsibly. Our readers have voted the student banking program at Amarillo National Bank – built upon its Plastic! spending card and student accounts, which earn $10 for each A/B Honor Roll report card – as the best local way to teach young spenders the value of a dollar. 1001 S. Taylor, 378.8140, ANB.com

Runners up:
Happy State Bank 701 S. Taylor, 373.2265, HappyBank.com
Education Credit Union 358.7777, EducationCU.com

Gymnastics Instruction

Cheer Texas
Owned and operated by former collegiate cheerleaders Jeb and Caroline Harris, Cheer Texas is our readers’ choice for the best local gymnastics instruction. Its enormous 13,000 square-foot building on Soncy is one of the nicest gymnastics training facilities in the state, and features a variety of trampolines, apparatuses, and even a foam-block safety pit. Each of its head coaches is USASF-certified and oversees tumbling and gymnastics classes for all ages and skill levels. 9200 FM 2590, 468.9355, CheerTexas.com

Runners up:
Amarillo College Kid’s College 1314 S. Polk, 371.5000, ACTX.edu/KidsCollege
All American Gymnastics 2909 Wolflin Ave., 355.0671, AAGTT.com

Martial Arts Class

Extreme Martial Arts Amarillo
Specializing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and kickboxing, our readers’ favorite martial arts academy teaches self-control, discipline, technique, and confidence-building skills to children of all ages, starting with its “Little Ninjas” classes for 5-year-old students. Extreme Martial Arts Amarillo is led by chief instructor Ty Garrett, a Jiu Jitsu blackbelt who holds two kickboxing world titles with the International Kickboxing Federation. 3701 Plains Blvd., Suite 16, 220.3529, AmarilloKickBoxing.com

Runners up:
Harvey's Karate & Fitness 908 N. Fillmore, 350.5425, HarveysKarateCenter.com
Martial Arts and Athletic Center 3820 Line Ave., 322.1080

Mother’s Day Out

Polk Street United Methodist Church Child Development Center
The Child Development Center at Polk Street United Methodist Church in downtown Amarillo earns top billing for its Mother’s Day Out program. Directed by Karen Smith and available in three- or five-day options, these all-important programs give Mom or Dad a break while their children enjoy guided play and active discovery in a safe, nurturing environment. 1401 S. Polk, 374.2891, PSUMC.com/ChildDevelopmentCenter

Runners up:
Saint Stephen United Methodist Church 4600 S. Western, 355.7271, SSUMC.net
Paramount Baptist Church 3801 S. Western, 355.3396, Paramount.org

Preschool

Polk Street United Methodist Church Child Development Center
Already our Mother’s Day Out readers’ choice winner, the Child Development Center at Polk Street United Methodist Church staffs its preschool and pre-kindergarten classrooms with degreed teachers and a low staff-to-child ratio. Offering kid-appropriate Spanish instruction, music activities, and Stretch-n-Grow fitness in addition to its basic curriculum, the Polk Street Preschool strives to help children explore new learning experiences in a fun, balanced atmosphere. 1401 S. Polk, 374.2891, PSUMC.com/ChildDevelopmentCenter

Runners up:
Saint Stephen United Methodist Church 4600 S. Western, 355.7271, SSUMC.net
St. Mary's Montessori Preschool 1200 N. Washington, 376.9112, StMarysAmarillo.org

Private School

Ascension Academy
Our readers’ choice for private school is also one of the area’s newest. Ascension Academy began in 1999, operating in a temporary structure before moving in 2006 to a new building and section of land west of Soncy. Ascension continues to expand its reputation, providing a rigorous college preparatory education in an environment where children can thrive academically, socially and spiritually. 9301 Ascension Pkwy., 342.0515, AscensionAcademy.org

Runners up:
San Jacinto Christian Academy 501 S. Carolina, 372.2285, SanJac.org
St. Andrew's Episcopal School 1515 S. Georgia, 376.9501, StAndrewsSchool.org

Tutoring

Sylvan Learning of Amarillo
A franchised tutoring program with more than 900 locations nationwide, Sylvan works with students between kindergarten and 12th grade and offers personalized tutoring for basic subjects – reading, math and writing – along with homework help, study skills and state test prep. When local children need extra help with school, more and more of them are turning to the trained, certified, encouraging teachers at Sylvan. 3440 Bell, Suite 300, 359.1037, SylvanLearning.com

Runners up:
The Math Tutor 6101 I-40 West, Suite 84, 353.4919
New Solutions Learning Center 3101 Hobbs Rd., 331.4099

Vacation Bible School

First Baptist Church
Amarillo has hundreds of churches, and during the summer, almost every weekday and weeknight provide some sort of option for parents wanting to enroll their children in a Vacation Bible School program. Lately, unique themed weeks have become trendy – last year’s included road-trip, car garage, and ancient Greek themes – and local readers prefer the VBS offered by one of Amarillo’s most recognizable downtown churches: First Baptist. Led by minister Cliff Cary, the church has scheduled its 2014 VBS, called “Agency D3,” for June 16 to 20. 1301 N. Harrison, 373.2831, FBC-Amarillo.org

Runners up:
Polk Street United Methodist Church 1401 S. Polk, 374.2891, PSUMC.com/ChildDevelopmentCenter
Saint Stephen United Methodist Church 4600 S. Western, 355.7271, SSUMC.net


Health Care

Allergist

Panhandle Ear, Nose and Throat
Children in the Texas Panhandle are no strangers to sniffly noses, tickling throats, and persistent allergies. When it’s time to call in the professionals, Amarillo parents usually turn to the allergists and otolaryngologists (ENT doctors) at Panhandle Ear, Nose and Throat. Physicians Stacie S. Morgan, Amber M. Price, Martin L. Schneider, and Geoffrey L. Wright specialize in allergic disorders among children – as well as everyone else in the family. 3501 Soncy Rd., 355.5625, PanhandleENT.net

Runners up:
Allergy Arts 3842 Plum Creek Dr., 353.7000, AllergyArts.com
Quail Creek Ear, Nose and Throat 6826 Plum Creek Dr., 355.9999, QuailCreekENT.com
Amarillo Children's Clinic 17 Care Circle, 468.6277, AmarilloChildrensClinic.com

Audiologist

Panhandle Ear, Nose and Throat
Also our readers’ choice winner for top allergist, the doctors and staff of Panhandle Ear, Nose and Throat receive top billing for local audiology practice. The specialized services of its Physicians Hearing Center, led by audiologist Taylor W. King, Au.D., CCC-A, provide everything from hearing aids and accessories to balance tests. 3501 Soncy Rd., 355.5625, PanhandleENT.net

Runners up:
Quail Creek Ear, Nose and Throat 6826 Plum Creek Dr., 355.9999, QuailCreekENT.com
Ormson Hearing Health Care 5501 SW 9th Ave., 468.4343, OrmsonHearing.com

Birthing Suite

BSA Health System
In Amarillo, residents who intend on giving birth in a hospital setting have two choices – and our readers prefer the spacious birthing suites of the BSA Health System. As the first local hospital to offer single-room maternity care (where delivery and recovery take place in the same room), BSA offers queen-size beds, concealed but easily accessible equipment, and enough space for mother and baby to share the room after delivery. Even better, each suite has a Jacuzzi tub and shower for the utmost in comfort. 1600 Wallace Blvd, 212.2000, BSAHS.org

Runner up:
Northwest Texas Healthcare System 1501 S. Coulter St., 354.1000, NWTexasHealthcare.com

Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist

Panhandle Ear Nose & Throat Associates LLP
The team at Panhandle Ear, Nose, and Throat win again for top ENT practice. These otolaryngologists are equipped to treat any disease or disorder of the head and neck – with the exception of the brain and eyes – and bring more than 50 years of experience to the practice. For everything from sinus surgery to sleep apnea, our readers rely on the doctors at Panhandle ENT. 3501 Soncy Rd., 355.5625, PanhandleENT.net

Runners up:
Quail Creek Ear Nose & Throat Center 6826 Plum Creek Dr., 355.9999, QuailCreekENT.com
High Plains Ear Nose & Throat 5211 SW 9th Ave. #104, 355.8293

Lactation Specialist

BSA Health System
Success at breastfeeding is on the heart of every new mother, and our readers favor the lactation services provided by the BSA birthing center. Offering prenatal breastfeeding classes, a breastfeeding support group, and a caring staff of certified lactation nurses on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week – especially via its breastfeeding hotline – it’s no wonder that 89 percent of mothers who deliver at BSA choose to breastfeed. 1600 Wallace Blvd, 212.2000, BSAHS.org

Runners up:
Northwest Texas Healthcare System 1501 S. Coulter St., 354.1000, NWTexasHealthcare.com
La Leche League lllofamarillo@gmail.com

Mommy Makeover

Awaken Spa
Sometimes Mommy needs a break from kids, lunches, laundry, carpooling, and everything else on her schedule. When she carves out a little space for “Me Time,” she most often schedules an appointment at Awaken Spa, a haven of luxury and pampering near the Medical Center. Offering cosmetic medical services (Juvederm® and Botox®) as well as traditional spa services (massage, facials, hydration wraps, sea salt scrubs and more) from certified therapists and highly trained aestheticians, Awaken Spa is a veritable Mommy Utopia. 1301 S. Coulter, Suite 204, 354.8600, AwakenSpa.com

Runners up:
Proffer Surgical Associates 1301 S. Coulter, Suite 104, 352.1185, DrProffer.com
Dr. Mary Ann Piskun, MD PLLC 1801 Halstead, 358.8731, DrPiskun.com

Obstetrician

Women's Healthcare Associates
For comprehensive women’s care – including our reader’s choice for obstetrics – our female readers prefer Women’s Healthcare Associates. Formed in 1996 when Dr. Rhodesia Castillo, Dr. David Chastain, Dr. Brian Eades and Dr. Clyde Meeks combined their practices, the Women’s Healthcare Associates team now includes Dr. Pamela Chandler, Dr. Carin Appel and Dr. Ann Harral as well as two nurse practitioners. Their slogan? “Only a mother could care more.” Amarillo Magazine readers agree. 1301 S. Coulter, Suite 300, 355.6330, WHAOOnline.net

Runners up:
Panhandle Obstetrics and Gynecology 7620 Wallace Blvd., 359.5468, PanhandleObGyn.com
Carrasco & Carrasco MDs LLP 1600 Coulter, Suite 205, 359.9100

Orthodontist

Sparkman Orthodontics
Getting braces is a rite of passage for many children, and when our readers need to straighten their kids’ smiles – or their own – they choose Dr. Kyle Sparkman. With offices in his native Pampa as well as Amarillo, Dr. Sparkman is one of the youngest U.S. orthodontists to serve as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. He and his staff are dedicated to helping our readers and their families discover the beautiful smiles they deserve. 7701 SW 45th, 355.9732, SparkmanOrthodontics.com

Runners up:
Harwell & Harwell Orthodontics 3420 Thornton Dr., 353.3593, HarwellOrtho.com
Amarillo Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics 2455 I-40 West, 350.5437, AmarilloPediatricDentistry.com

Orthopedist

Amarillo Bone & Joint Clinic LLP
No one wants to take their child to see an orthopedist – it usually means a significant injury, or at least substantial discomfort – but if the time does come, our readers turn to orthopedic physicians Keith Bjork, J. Brian Sims, Brad Veazey, Toby Risko, Joshua North, and Brian Haseloff at Amarillo Bone & Joint. With in-house radiology services, MRI services, physical and occupational therapy, and a dedicated Sports Medicine Center, this team of doctors has earned its reputation as the premier orthopedic group in the area. 1100 Coulter, 468.9700, AmarilloBoneandJoint.com

Runners up:
Amarillo Foot Clinic 1600 S. Coulter, Suite 501, 358.7363, AmarilloFootClinic.com
Bullard Foot and Ankle Institute 500 Quail Creek Dr., 356.8003, AmarilloPodiatrist.com

Pediatric Dentistry

Amarillo Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics
Very few kids look forward to a trip to the dentist, but from first teeth into the teen years, the staff at Amarillo Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics makes the dental chair as comfortable and fun as possible. Led by dentists Shane Moore, Duane Tinkler, Eric Devries, Dalyann Borecki and Tracy Shen, the staff of hygienists and assistants keep kids’ teeth clean, straight, and healthy. 2455 I-40 West, 350.5437, AmarilloPediatricDentistry.com

Runners up:
Amarillo Children's Dentistry 7201 SW 34th Ave., 353.2113, AmaChildrensDentistry.com
Kemp & Lindsey Pediatric Dentistry 3501 Soncy Road, 376.4770, PediatricDentistAmarillo.com

Pediatrician

Panhandle Pediatrics
Once Mom and Dad come home from the hospital, the first new contact information they enter into their phones is that of their pediatrician. Our readers’ favorite local pediatric specialists are Mariada George, Sheri Williams, and John Young of Panhandle Pediatrics. With extended urgent care hours in the evenings and on weekends, they’re available to consult, comfort and treat children when parents need them, which Mom and Dad quickly realize doesn’t always occur during convenient office hours. 1500 Coulter, 354.0404, PanhandlePediatrics.com

Runners up:
Amarillo Children's Clinic 17 Care Circle, 468.6277, AmarilloChildrensClinic.com
Children's Healthcare Associates LLP 1901 Medi Park Drive, 468.4350, CHAAmarillo.com

Ultrasound

BSA Health System
Other than childbirth, one of the biggest moments in the life of any parent – or parent-to-be – is the first time they see an image of their child. When that time comes, our readers prefer the state-of-the-art ultrasound department at BSA Health System, where caring, highly trained personnel know how memorable it is for expectant parents to see their child in utero, and strive to make the experience as precious as possible. 1600 Wallace Blvd., 212.2000, BSAHS.org

Runners up:
Advanced Imaging Center of Amarillo 7010 W. 9th, 351.8484, AmarilloImaging.com
Stork Vision 7402 SW 34th Ave., Suite 10, 331.6871, StorkVision.com


Lifestyles

Cakes

Belmar Bakery & Café
Regardless of a child’s age birthdays are still all about the cakes. Our readers’ favorite place for cakes, Belmar Bakery has been serving up custom birthday cakes, cupcakes, and all kinds of other delicious baked goods – not to mention café-style lunch and breakfast – since 1965. Back then it was just a small storefront. Today the original Belmar location has expanded into three sections, and owners Deana and Richard Zaccardo opened a second location in Wolflin Village in late 2013. 3325 Bell, 355.0141 / 2606 Wolflin Village, 322.3287, BelmarBakery.com

Runners up:
Cakes N' More 2812 SE 27th Ave., 373.2253, AmarilloCakesnMore.com
Ms. Piggy's Custom Bake Shoppe 6030 SW 33rd Ave., 353.9983, MsPiggysBakery.com

Cupcakes

The Ruffled Cup Cupcakery
Owned and operated by Deanna Hurt and family, The Ruffled Cup is one of the newest bakeries in Amarillo … and also one of the busiest. With a rotating weekly cast of 80 different cupcakes and counting, this cupcakery recently moved into a new location near 34th and Bell and expanded its dessert menu. Readers crave the baked-from-scratch goodness of its creative flavors, including Salted Caramel, Chocolate Obsession, and the shop’s signature Ruffled Truffle. 3440 S. Bell, Suite 130, 318.3961, TheRuffledCup.com

Runners up:
Bakersville Cupcakes 5114 S. Western, 367.9513
Belmar Bakery & Café 3325 Bell, 355.0141 / 2606 Wolflin Village, 322.3287, BelmarBakery.com

Day Care
Polk Street United Methodist Church Child Development Center
Our readers’ choice for Mother’s Day Out and Preschool, Polk Street United Methodist Church sweeps the Child Development categories with top billing as Amarillo’s favorite day care. With early (7:30-9 a.m.) and late care options (3:30-5:30 p.m.) for parents – in addition to its already comprehensive programs – the caring, well-organized, education-focused Child Development Center impresses more Amarillo parents than any other. 1401 S. Polk, 374.2891, PSUMC.com/ChildDevelopmentCenter

Runners up:
Amarillo Montessori Academy 3806 Bowie, 353.3871, AmarilloMontessori.com
Storyland Preschool and Child Care Center 5001 Hillside Rd., 352.3322, Storyland-Amarillo.org

Family Friendly Employer

Amarillo National Bank
If Amarillo National Bank is family friendly, that’s probably because family has everything to do with its success over the years. Not only is it Amarillo’s largest and oldest financial institution, dating back to 1892, but it’s also the biggest 100-percent family-owned bank in the country. Now managed by the third, fourth and fifth generations of the Ware family, its 650-plus employees love the bank’s family atmosphere – and it shows. 410 S. Taylor, 378.8000, ANB.com

Runners up:
Happy State Bank 701 S. Taylor, 373.2265, HappyBank.com
Amarillo Independent School District 7200 I-40 West, 326.1000, AmaISD.org

Financial Planner

Amarillo National Bank
Whether interested in saving, investing, planning for college or expanding assets, our readers choose the financial planners at Amarillo National Bank for all things related to securing their family’s future. Offering services from basic retirement accounts like IRAs to private brokerage services and estate management, ANB works one-on-one with local parents to meet their financial goals. 410 S. Taylor, 378.8000, ANB.com

Runners up:
Happy State Bank 701 S. Taylor, 373.2265, HappyBank.com
Edward Jones EdwardJones.com

First-time Home Buyer’s Program

Amarillo National Bank
Already recognized by our readers as their favorite Family Friendly Employer and Financial Planner, the oldest bank in Amarillo is also the city's largest mortgage provider. Its home-loan experts keep the entire process local, are familiar with Amarillo's economy and real estate agents, and have a reputation for fast, efficient closings. With a variety of mortgage options and terms, ANB is the first place Amarillo families go after finding their dream home. 410 S. Taylor, 378.8000, ANB.com

Runners up:
Happy State Bank 701 S. Taylor, 373.2265, HappyBank.com
Education Credit Union 358.7777, EducationCU.com

Home Builder

Dominion Homes L.P.
Last year’s Texas Panhandle Builders Association “Builder of the Year,” Dominion Homes has built homes of all sizes and styles for Amarillo families, from starter homes to million-dollar estates. Dominion Homes was founded in 1996 by Mark C. Meister, and since then has constructed a solid reputation for its innovative floor plans, eye-catching exteriors, and custom features – all of which have earned our readers’ approval. P.O. Box 20085, 476.1648, DominionHomesAmarillo.com

Runners up:
Blue Haven Homes 701 S. Taylor, 373.5820, BlueHavenHomes.com
N&B Homes 14201 I-27, 681.8198, NandBHomes.com

Infant/Child Photographer

Davy Knapp Fine Portraiture
A frequently published photographer whose work has appeared in “The Texas Wedding Guide” and “Texas Highways” – and which frequently graces our pages – Davy Knapp has long been one of the bright lights in Amarillo’s crowded photography scene. From expectant mothers to growing families to memorable senior portraits, Davy Knapp Fine Portraiture is our readers’ top choice for capturing those intimate, magical moments that define childhood. 1703 S. Tyler, 371.9210, DavyKnapp.com

Runners up:
Family Photo 3333 S. Coulter, 658.6187, FamilyPhotoAmarillo.com
Pam Lary Photography 6 Stoneridge Ct., 353.7631, PamLaryPhotography.com

Invitations and Announcements

Little Brown House
This Wolflin Square landmark has a reputation for its high-end bridal registry. But more than just its selection of china, crystal and silver, Little Brown House is also known as a great place for custom-designed invitations and announcements. Offering in-house graphic design by Stephanie Bybee and Sloane Ware – including tasteful formats from letterpress and engraving to elegant embossing – our readers visit Little Brown House for their baby announcements and birthday invitation needs. 2600 Wolflin Ave., 352.0321, LittleBrownHouseAmarillo.com

Runners up:
Et Cetera 2610 Wolflin Ave., 358.2333, EtCeteraOnline.com
Jones Press 3450 S. Western, 358.4301, JonesPress.com

Kid-friendly Hair Salon

SportClips
Men love the flat-screen televisions facing the barbershop-style stations of this guy-focused franchise, but so do boys obsessed with football, baseball and basketball. SportClips’ “junior varsity” haircut special is ideal for children, and the complementary neck trim between cuts is one of the best deals in the business. That’s why our readers pick its two Amarillo locations on Georgia and Soncy as the best places to cut a kid’s hair. Just keep your voice down when you call SportClips a “salon.” 2325 S. Georgia, 467.2547 / 3240 S. Soncy, Suite 200, 355.2547, SportClips.com

Runners up:
Great Clips 3300 S. Coulter St., 242.5477, GreatClips.com
Hair Trendz Day Spa 7402 SW 34th Ave., Suite 2, 355.1974, HairTrendzDaySpa.com

Kid-friendly Nail Salon

Bebe Nail Salon
Manicures and pedicures aren’t just for grown-ups anymore. The professional, friendly staff at Bebe knows that treating younger customers like royalty is as important as how they treat Mom – especially when she arrives for her own appointment with children in tow. With the coming of sandal and flip-flop season, our readers are giving their littlest piggies (and fingers) a shine at Bebe, located near Civic Circle and Georgia. 2319 S. Georgia, 331.1333

Runners up:
Le Belle Nails, Spa & Salon 1900 S. Western, 355.6500
Princess Nails 6204 Hillside Rd., 457.1257

Kid-friendly Restaurant

Blue Sky
The two locations of this Amarillo favorite are constantly busy, and regardless of whether you visit the original site at I-40 and Western or the new restaurant on Coulter, plenty of those customers will be families. Why is Blue Sky so kid-friendly? Children probably say it’s the cheese fries, the yummy mini-cheeseburgers, or the delicious shakes made from Blue Bell ice cream. But Mom and Dad tell us the real secret: it’s the spacious outdoor seating and sandy play areas. 4201 I-40 West, 355.8100 / 5060 S. Coulter, 322.3888 BlueSkyTexas.com

Runners up:
Gatti's Pizza 4412 S. Western, 355.5601, GattisPizza.com
The Donut Stop TheDonutStop.com

Maternity Photographer

Davy Knapp Fine Portraiture
One of Amarillo’s finest family and wedding portrait photographers – and the winner of our readers’ choice award for infant and child photography – this regular contributor to Amarillo Magazine also takes top billing for his maternity photography. He takes top billing for showcasing the expectation and joy of those precious months while also making Mom look gorgeous. 1703 S. Tyler, 371.9210, DavyKnapp.com

Runners up:
Pam Lary Photography 6 Stoneridge Ct., 353.7631, PamLaryPhotography.com
Family Photo 3333 S. Coulter, 658.6187, FamilyPhotoAmarillo.com

Shopping

Children’s Book Store

Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Nothing grabs hold of a kids’ imagination like a shelf full of books and a place to sit and read them. Other than the local libraries, our readers’ favorite place to help kids foster a love for the written word is the children’s section at Barnes & Noble on Soncy. With its host of brightly colored covers and spines, intriguing series for every age and reading level, and all of the classics, Barnes & Noble captures kids’ imaginations like no place else. 2415 Soncy Rd., 352.2300, BarnesandNoble.com

Runners up:
Hastings Entertainment GoHastings.com
Mardel Christian & Education Supply 2203 S. Western, 353.2135, Mardel.com

Children’s Clothes

The Children's Place
Buying clothes for children is a challenge, for the simple reason that kids grow. Fast. Their sizes change more quickly than the latest fashion trends. That’s why our readers love buying children’s clothing from The Children’s Place, a national retailer with an Amarillo location in Westgate Mall. It’s because The Children’s Place offers fashion kids love … at prices Mom and Dad can afford. 7701 I-40 West, 359.6544, ChildrensPlace.com

Runners up:
Carter's 2804 S. Soncy Rd., 358.0501, Carters.com
Children's Exchange and Family Two 4515 S. Georgia, Suite 110, 352.6244, Children-Exchange.com
Once Upon a Child 3440 Bell, 654.0071, OnceUponaChildAmarillo.com

Children’s Shoes

Dillard's
Few things are as cute as teeny-tiny baby versions of grown-up shoes … except for the not-so-tiny price. When children’s shoe sizes grow as fast as the kids themselves, finding a sweet set of kicks that don’t break the bank is a near-impossible goal. Our readers most often meet that challenge in the children’s section at Dillard’s, where frequent sales and a variety of styles – from Converse to Crocs – make shoe-buying a much less painful proposition. 7701 I-40 West, Suite 300, 358.7771, Dillards.com

Runners up:
Kids Foot Locker 7701 I-40 West, Suite 5, 356.7273, KidsFootLocker.com
Once Upon a Child 3440 Bell, 654.0071, OnceUponaChildAmarillo.com

Family Friendly Vehicles

Street Toyota
What makes a vehicle perfect for a family? It’s more than just the number of cup holders or power outlets. Our readers prefer cars that combine child-friendliness with safety, comfort and reliable ratings. In the Amarillo area, families shopping for a vehicle tend to steer toward Street Toyota to begin their search. The Camry, Sienna Minivan, Sequoia SUV, and smaller Highlander available among Street’s new and used vehicles regularly receive top ratings among families. 4500 S. Soncy Rd., 355.9846, StreetToyota.com

Runners up:
Southwest Honda 4200 S. Georgia, 359.1675, SouthwestHonda.com
Brown Buick GMC 4300 S. Georgia, 553.5701, BrownBuickGMC.com

Gift Shop

The Secret Place
The Amarillo specialty gift shop market is a competitive one, but one store regularly stands out for its products, service and child-friendliness: The Secret Place on Soncy. Founded by Sharon Oeschger and the late Hazel Kelley Wilson, this Amarillo fixture is known for its quality merchandise … including its baby gifts. For everything from diaper bags to luxury baby-care products, toys and clothing, The Secret Place is Amarillo’s not-so-well-kept secret. 3690 S. Soncy Rd., 467.9800

Runners up:
Appleseed Junction 3307 Bell, 318.3863, AppleseedJunction.com
Et Cetera 2610 Wolflin Ave., 358.2333, EtCeteraOnline.com
Kem's Bed and Bath 7306 W 34th, Suite 10, 353.9129

Infant/Toddler Clothes

Carter's
With a local storefront in Westgate Plaza, national retailer Carter’s says it sells more than 10 products for every child born in the United States. In fact, the company bills itself as “the most trusted name in baby, kids and toddler clothing” – and our readers agree. With colorful clothes, thoughtful design and quality construction, the onesies and pajamas from Carter’s are as loveable as the little Amarillo residents who wear them. 2804 S. Soncy Rd., 358.0501, Carters.com

Runners up:
The Children's Place 7701 I-40 West, 359.6544, ChildrensPlace.com
Once Upon a Child 3440 Bell, 654.0071, OnceUponaChildAmarillo.com

Maternity Clothes

Motherhood Maternity
For many moms, the amazing aspects of pregnancy more than make up for the difficulty in finding cute clothes. But still, a mom-to-be wants a comfortable, stylish look to match her maternal glow. In Amarillo, our expectant readers prefer the fashion and selection of national retailer Motherhood Maternity, located in Westgate Mall. 7701 I-40 West, 463.2700, Motherhood.com

Runners up:
Baby Bump Couture 2600 Paramount Blvd., 331.7878, TheBabyBumpCouture.com
Children's Exchange and Family Two 4515 S. Georgia, Suite 110, 352.6244, Children-Exchange.com

Specialty Toys

The Secret Place
Already beloved by our readers for their gift shop, The Secret Place also earns an award for their selection of specialty toys for babies, toddlers and children. The experience of play is essential to a child’s physical and cognitive growth, and local parents love the developmental games and toys carried by the knowledgeable staff of this Soncy Road gift shop. 3690 S. Soncy Rd., 467.9800

Runners up:
Et Cetera 2610 Wolflin Ave., 358.2333, EtCeteraOnline.com
Janey's at 2500 2500 Paramount Blvd., 359.4156, Janeys.com

Sporting Equipment

Academy Sports + Outdoors
Regardless of the season, weekends in Amarillo are filled with children’s sports, from soccer to baseball to flag football. In fact, once spring and summer arrive, the long evenings bring athletic practices and activities almost every night of the week. Local parents keep their kids geared up with sporting goods from Academy Sports + Outdoors, a Texas-based company that has become one of the nation’s largest retailers of sports and athletic equipment. 4400 Soncy Rd., 457.2460,

Runners up:
Hill's Sports Shop 4021 Mockingbird Ln., 355.7224, HillsSport.com
Bucks Sporting Goods 4324 SW 45th Ave., 355.8946, SportingGoodsAmarillo.com

Things to Do

Arcade

Gatti's Pizza
Moms and Dads love the simplicity of the Gatti’s Pizza model at the Texas-based chain’s Amarillo location: Load up the kids with pizza and salad from the buffet, let them watch a little TV on the giant screens, and then watch them disappear into the flashing lights of the Gameroom and Midway. The Gatti’s arcade boasts more than 100 games, from high-tech virtual-reality consoles to carnival favorites like skeeball. Even better, all the games are hand-picked to provide fun and thrills without violence. 4412 S. Western, 355.5601, GattisPizza.com

Runners up:
Game Truck 217 Bordeaux Ln., 677.8305, GameTruckParty.com
Amusement Park 2601 Dumas Drive, 383.4712, WonderlandPark.com

Family Friendly Excursion

Palo Duro Canyon State Park
America’s second-largest canyon is our readers’ first destination when a warm spring afternoon beckons. Located in an overall canyon system that is 120 miles long and 800 feet deep – and conveniently located just a short drive south of town – the nearly 30,000 acres in this state park are a recreational haven for hikers, bikers, picnickers and campers. Don’t miss the spring and summer wildflowers, bird-watching and guided educational programs. 11450 Park Road 5, 488.2227, PaloDuroCanyon.com

Runners up:
Don Harrington Discovery Center 1200 Streit Drive, 355.9547, DHDC.org
Wonderland Amusement Park 2601 Dumas Drive, 383.4712, WonderlandPark.com

Family Gym

Amarillo Town Club
From swim lessons to summer birthday parties to childcare while Mom and Dad are exercising, the Amarillo Town Club is known for its fun, healthy, family friendly atmosphere. During the school year it offers after-school programs to help kids stay active and fit, and its two outdoor aquatic parks are among the city’s most popular destinations on hot summer afternoons. 4514 Cornell, 468.0398 / 7700 Hillside, 468.0300, AmarilloTownClub.com

Runners up:
Gold's Gym 3000 Blackburn, 359.5438, GoldsGymAmarillo.com
YMCA AmariloYMCA.org

Holiday Programs

Lone Star Ballet
If it seems like almost every child in Amarillo has attended a performance of “The Nutcracker” at some point in his or her young life, that’s probably because they have. Founded in 1975 by Neil Hess, the Lone Star Ballet produces one of the premier Nutcracker Ballets in the state – and has been doing so annually for more than four decades. The magic and spectacle of this production have made it a Christmas tradition for our readers and their families year after year. 3218 Hobbs Rd., 372.2463, LoneStarBallet.org

Runners up:
Amarillo Botanical Gardens 1400 Streit Drive, 352.6513, AmarilloBotanicalGardens.org
“TEXAS Outdoor Musical Drama” 1514 5th Ave., Canyon, 655.2181, Texas-Show.com

Indoor Play Area

Don Harrington Discovery Center
On a rainy, cool or overly windy spring day, kids can only last so long inside. Where do they expend that cooped-up energy? Our readers’ favorite indoor play area is also one of Amarillo’s most educational: the Don Harrington Discovery Center. Some exhibits are seasonal, but others – such as the climbing structure, tumbling space and hands-on materials of its KinderStudio – are open year-round. This alone makes the organization’s $75 annual family membership a fantastic deal. 1200 Streit Drive, 355.9547, DHDC.org

Runners up:
Chick-fil-A 2525 S. Georgia, 358.8055 / 4510 S. Coulter, 468.8885, Chick-Fil-A.com
Gatti's Pizza 4412 S. Western, 355.5601, GattisPizza.com

Story Time

Amarillo Public Library
A fixture of Amarillo’s library system for decades, the multitude of Story Time classes at the branch libraries and downtown location are beloved by local families. Children who attend such programs tend to read earlier and perform better in school, and the variety of Story Time sessions are designed to appeal to multiple age ranges. Local favorites include the active “Books and Boogie” at the Southwest Branch and the jammies-appropriate evening “PJ Story Time” at the Northwest Branch. AmarilloLibrary.org

Runners up:
Barnes & Noble Booksellers 2415 Soncy Rd., 352.2300, BarnesandNoble.com
Amarillo Zoo 2400 N. Polk, 378.7911, AmarilloZoo.org

by Jason Boyett

Jason has written more than a dozen books and is the host and creator of “Hey Amarillo”, a local interview podcast. Visit heyamarillo.com and jasonboyett.com.
blog comments powered by Disqus
recent stories

A Place to Start Over
Based in Amarillo, Sharing Hope gives assistance to incarcerated women all over the United States, ...

Cuddle Up
At Northwest’s most popular volunteer program, NICU cuddlers get as much out of their work ...

Perfect Pasta
Steve Bautista walked us through the steps required for do-it-yourself pasta.

Beyond Bacon
You’ll enjoy the three pork-based recipes in this issue, from roasted pork belly and biscuits ...

@AmarilloMag