Family Favorites 2016

We asked and you answered. From the best place to buy a birthday cake to the best place to read a book to the best place to eat with kids, you shared with us your Family Favorites. And since our readers know the Toledo area best, the following list can serve as your go-to for people to see, places to go and things to do all year long.

Time to Party

Place for a birthday bash

Skyzone Trampoline Park
1600 Albon Road, Holland
419-491-1194 |
Runner up: Hero’s

Place to buy birthday decorations

Party City
4926 Monroe Street, Toledo
419-475-8488 | 6460 Centers Drive, Holland
419-867-1700 |
Runner up: Dollar Tree

Family photographer

Nicole Slovak
1049 Heritage Cove, Oregon
Runner up: Finn Photography

Place to buy a birthday cakeEstons-BDay-cake

Eston’s Gourmet Creations
5433 Monroe Street, Toledo
419-885-9442 |

When it’s time to celebrate another year, Eston’s Gourmet Creations is your place to go for the birthday cake. For more than 30 years this Toledo bakery has been whipping up delicious creations with all natural ingredients. Known for their signature mousse cakes, Eston’s is also a favorite for gourmet cupcakes and cheesecakes. They also offer delivery, too, so if you need that special cake but don’t have time to pick it up before the birthday bash, Eston’s can bring it to you!

Runner up: Wixey Bakery

Favorite Places and Spaces

Family activity

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium
2 Hippo Way, Toledo | 419-385-6721
Runner up: Imagination Station

Place to worship

Cedar Creek Church
Multiple locations |
Runner up: St. Joe’s Catholic Church, Sylvania


The Toledo Museum of Art
2445 Monroe Street, Toledo
419-255-8000 |
Runner up: Imagination Station

Fair or festival

German-American Fest
3524 Seaman Street, Oregon
419-691-4116 |
Runner up: Fulton County Fair

Place to Read

Sylvania Branch Library
6749 Monroe Street, Sylvania
419-882-2089 |
Runner up: Oregon Branch

Place for a picnic

Wildwood Preserve Metropark
5100 Central Avenue, Ottawa Hills
419-407-9700 |
Runner up: Sidecut Metropark

Place to volunteer

Toledo Area Humane Society
827 Illinois Avenue, Maumee
419-891-0705 |
Runner up: Toledo Zoo

Tween activity

Skyzone Trampoline Park
1600 Albon Road, Holland
419-491-1194 |
Runner up: Ohio Skate

Garden and nature center

Toledo Botanical Garden
5403 Elmer Dr., Toledo
419-536-5566 |
Runner up: 577 Foundation

Local toy store

Learning Express Toys
5577 Monroe Street, Sylvania
419-885-3959 3100
Main Street, Maumee
419-878-2446 |
Runner up: Toys-R-Us

Animal Encounterstoledo-zoo-splash-pad

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium 2 Hippo Way, Toledo
419-385-6721 |

Ranked one of the top zoos in the country, it’s no wonder the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium is a family favorite for animal encounters. You can get up close to polar bears in the Arctic Tundra, watch African elephants play, explore ocean life in the Aquarium (which is included with your zoo admission!), check out the new koala bear and much, much more. In addition to the animal exhibits, there’s a fun playground for kids along with a splash pad in the summer months. With so much to see and do, families have made the Toledo Zoo a destination for more than 100 years. The zoo is open daily from 10am to 6pm.

Runner up: Indian Creek Zoo

Bowling alley

Forest-view-logoForest View Lanes
2345 Dean Road, Temperance
734-847-4915  |

When you want to hit the lanes and knock down a few pins, Forest View Lanes is the bowling alley of choice for local families. With reasonable prices, bowling leagues for kids and teens, party packages and indoor and outdoor spaces, it’s a fun destination for all ages. Runner up: Timbers

Delicious Eats

Family-friendly restaurant

Red Robin
4850 Monroe Street, Toledo
419-475-9318 | 3100 Main Street, Maumee
419-878-2944 |
Runner up: Bob Evans

Ice cream shop

Cold Stone Creamery
4038 Talmadge Road #108, Toledo
419-292-1925 | 479 West Dussel Drive, Maumee
419-482-6610 |
Runner up: Mr. Freeze

Local pizza place

Multiple locations |
Runner up: Vito’s

Cupcakes/Bakery/ Sweet Shop


Cake in a Cup
6801 Central Ave, Toledo
419- 491-1104 |

The winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars is also a Family Favorite winner! Cake in a Cup is Toledo’s first all cupcake bakery and is the perfect place to satisfy your craving for something sweet. Each day the bakery offers red velvet, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes but you can also find an extensive list of exclusive flavors like peanut butter and jelly, tropical getaway, zucchini spice and the devil wears prada on specific weekdays. Cake in a Cup also offers gluten free options as well as mini cupcakes. With so many flavors and options (you can find the complete listing of flavors and their descriptions on Cake in a Cup’s Facebook page), this bakery is a one-stop-shop for the whole family.

Runner up: 7 Little Cupcakes

Boutique Beauty

Kids clothing store

Kids Klothesline
111 Louisiana Avenue, Perrysburg
419-874-5437 |
Runner up: Once Upon a Child/Bowinkle’s

Maternity clothing store

Destination Maternity
5001 Monroe Street, Toledo
419-475-2730 |
Runner up: Old Navy

Place for furnishing the nursery

Lullaby Lane
4064 Technology Drive, Maumee
419-878-0127 |
Runner-up: Babies R Us

Baby boutique shop

5627 Main Street, Sylvania
567-455- 5939 |
Runner up: Kids Klothesline

Place to buy sports equipment

Dick’s Sporting Goods 5001 Monroe Street, Toledo
419-474-0170 |
Runner up: Play It Again Sports

Mom-owned Business


Laurel’s Princess Parties
6800 Central Ave, Toledo
567-455-1134 |

Toledo native Laurel Lovitt started Laurel’s Princess Parties in 2013 with a dress and a dream. “I started the business from scratch with a prom dress between my freshman and sophomore year at the University of Toledo,” said Lovitt. Laurel’s Princess Parties has 22 performers that can do more than 30 characters. She said all performers are vocalists and all costumes are custom-made, offering one-of-a-kind experiences for kids.Laurel’s Princess Parties make about 20 appearances a weekend, mompreneur Lovitt is excited to see how her business has grown in just a few short years. “I wanted to make memories to last forever and to know we’re helping create those memories for kids – it means the world,” said Lovitt. “We’re glad to be able to impact kids in a positive way and be that positive light.”

Runner up: Crowned Cakes by Jess

The Digital Age

Local parent blogger

Mom on the Go in Holy Toledo
Runner up: Carolynn Savage

Local parent Facebook group

Toledo Thrifty Moms toledothriftymoms/
Runner up: Naturally Sweet Parents

Local Instagram account

Finn Styling
Runner up: Handmade Toledo

Watch Me Soar

Charter School


Toledo School for the Arts
333 14th Street, Toledo
419-246-8732 |

For students in grades six through 12, Toledo School for the Arts offers a college prep curriculum with an intense visual and performing arts environment. Admission at this Family Favorite charter school is open to students who seek a community of students who are serious about their artistic endeavors. Founded in 1999, Toledo School for the Arts provides students with opportunities to work with professional artists to expand their arts experience and knowledge base. Through ARTnerships with The Toledo Museum of Art, the Toledo Symphony, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre, and the Arts Commision of Greater Toledo (just to name a few), students celebrate and explore the arts with real-world experience.

Runner up: Discovery Academy


Westside Montessori
7115 Bancroft Street, Toledo
419-866-1931 |
Runner up: Children’s Discover Center

Elementary school

Westside Montessori
7115 Bancroft Street, Toledo
419-866-1931 |
Runner up: Lake Local School District

Middle school

Westside Montessori
7115 Bancroft Street, Toledo
419-866-1931 |
Runner up: Perrysburg Middle School

Private/parochial school

Maumee Valley Country Day
1715 S Reynolds Road, Toledo
419-381-1313 |
Runner up: St. John’s Jesuit High School & Academy

Teacher and their school

Amy Lawrence @ Westside Montessori
7115 Bancroft Street, Toledo
419-866-1931 |
Runner up: Mrs. McGuire @ Lake Local School District

Tutoring center

Sylvan Learning Center
7131 Spring Meadows Drive W, Holland
419- 867-1331 |
Runner up: Kumon

After-school program

Multiple locations |
Runner up: After School All Stars

Special needs services

Lucas County Help Me Grow
2275 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo
Runner up: The Ability Center of Greater Toledo


Children’s Discovery Center
Multiple locations | 419-867-8570
Runner up: Nourish Early Learning

Babysitting/ Nannying service

6819 Central Avenue, Toledo
Runner up:

Enrichment Activities

Kids Art Class

2445 Monroe Street, Toledo
419-255-8000 |

If you’ve got a budding Picasso, you know the children’s art classes at The Toledo Museum of Art are the perfect way to foster creativity and hone their art skills. TMA offers various art classes and workshops for children and adults alike. The classes are related to works of art in TMA’s collection so children explore the galleries, learn about different works of art and use that inspiration to get creative in the art studio. A great resource for the community, it’s easy to see why you chose TMA’s art classes as a Family Favorite.

Runner up: 577 Foundation

Acting and Theatre classes

Children’s Theater Workshop
2417 Collingwood Blvd., Toledo
419-244-5061 |
Runner up: Toledo Rep

Dance class

Mini-Motions Dance Center
2249 Tremainsville Road, Toledo
419-473-0999 |
Runner up: Daryl Jervis

Gymnastics class

Exceleration Gymnastics Center
2255 S Reynolds Road, Toledo
419-381-1000 |
Runner up: YMCA

Music class

Various locations|
Runner up: Forte

Martial arts program

Sylvania Family Karate
1100 N McCord Road, Toledo
419-951-0147 |
Runner up: American Kenpo

Family-friendly entertainer

Andrew Martin Magician
419-472-4333 |
Runner up: Laurel’s Princess Parties

Swim lessons

Various locations |
Runner up: St. James

Horseback riding lessons

Fox Meadow Farm
9141 Secor Road, Temperance, MI
419-356-4273 |
Runner up: Hunter’s Run

Youth sports league

Various locations|
Runner up: Sylvania Rec

Traveling sports club league

Pacesetter Soccer Club
5400 West Central Avenue, Toledo
419-885-3140 |
Runner up: Greater Toledo Aquatic Club (GTAC)

Doctor’s Orders

Pediatric practice

Franklin Park Pediatrics
2000 Regency Ct., Suite 103, Toledo
419-475-5433 |
RUNNER UP: ProMedica Physicians Toledo Peds

Emergency care

ProMedica Toledo Hospital
2142 N. Cove Blvd., Toledo
419-291-4000 |
Runner Up: Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center

Place to give birth

ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital
2142 N. Cove Blvd., Toledo
419-291-5437 |
Runner up: Flower Hospital

Birthing classes

ProMedica Toledo Hospital
2142 N. Cove Blvd., Toledo
419-291-4000 |
Runner Up: Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center


 Dr. Alexis C Waggoner-Noss MD,
of ProMedica Physicians Obstetrics & Gynecology
Sunforest 5700 Monroe St., Suite 303, Sylvania
419-473-6622 |
Runner Up: Dr. Danielle Barrow, ProMedica


Erica M. Krause, CNM,
of Premier Women’s Health
6125 Trust Dr., Suite 114, Holland, OH
419-491-0041 |
Runner Up: Irma Cobian, CNM, Mercy Associates in Women’s Health


Amanda Baerwaldt
419-308-7593 |
Runner up: Janell Morse

Family doctor

Dr. Upamaka S. Rao,
The Toledo Clinic | 7640 W. Sylvania Ave.
567-455-5906 |
Runner Up: Dr. Todd P. Francis ProMedica

ENT doctor

Dr. Stephanie Cole,
of ProMedica Physicians Ear, Nose and Throat at ProMedica St. Luke’s Hopsital
6005 Monclova Rd., Maumee
419-578-7555 |
Runner Up: Dr. Allan M. Rubin
ProMedica Physicians Ear, Nose & Throat

Optometrist / Ophthalmologist

Dr. Robert Rhee, MD,
of Pediatric Ophthalmologist Consultants
2927 N. McCord Rd., Suite 100, Toledo
419-517-5500 |
Runner Up: Dr. Preston G. Linley ProMedica


Dr. Mark Dumas, Dumas Chiropractic and Acupuncture
723 Phillips Ave., Building C, Toledo
419-478-0303 |
Runner Up: Turning Point Chiropractic


Dr. Ghassan S. Safadi, MD, of Allergy Clinic Ohio
7640 Sylvania Ave, Ste J, Sylvania
419-843-7780 |
Runner Up: Dr. M Rafeeq ProMedica Bay Park Hospital and Mercy St. Charles


Dr. Jon Frankel, DDS, of Jon Frankel Dentistry
5012 Talmadge Rd. , Toledo
419-474-9611 | 4359 Keystone Dr., Maumee
419-893-0221 |
Runner Up: Dr. Matthew Lark


Drs. Haerian, Ludwig & Simon Orthodontics (Sylvania Orthodontics)
6407 Monroe St., Sylvania
419-318-1756 | 7928 Secor Rd., Lambertville
734-206-2094 | 4359 Keystone Dr., Suite 200, Maumee
419-887-1247 |
Runner Up: Dr. Carl Wheeler, Wheeler Orthodontics


Dr. Bob Esplin, SylvaniaVET
4801 N. Holland-Sylvania Rd., Sylvania
419-885-4421 |
Runner up: West Suburban Animal Hospital

Get Active

Indoor Playspace

Sylvania-playland.Sylvania Playland
3620 Centennial Road, Sylvania
419-517-9094 |

When you can’t get outside to run around, Sylvania Playland is your go-to spot for indoor fun. With five different inflatable bounce houses, four swingsets, a designated toddler area with activities for kids three and under, an arcade and 18 holes of glow-in-the-dark mini golf, there’s enough to do to keep the whole family moving and active when it’s cold or rainy or just too hot to be outside. Birthday party packages are available, along with fundraising events, mom’s groups and more. With so much to do under one roof, Sylvania Playland is a favorite for kids and parents alike.

Runner up: Sky Zone

Place to go ice skating

7060 W Sylvania Avenue, Sylvania
419-885-1167 |
Runner up: Slater Family Ice Arena Bowling Green

Place to go roller skating

Ohio Skate
5735 Opportunity Drive, Toledo
419-476-2808 | 1370 Conant Street, Maumee
419-893-4031 |
Runner up: Swanton Coliseum Roller Skating Center *(this venue closed its doors on June 3, right after voting closed)

Park or playground

Wildwood Preserve Metropark
5100 Central Avenue, Ottawa Hills
419-407-9700 |
Runner up: Sidecut Metropark


Kalahari Resorts
7000 Kalahari Drive, Sandusky
419-433-7200 |
Runner up: Great Wolf Lodge

Family-friendly gym

Various locations |
Runner up: Wildwood Athletic Club

Biking trail

University/Parks Trail
419-407-9700 |
Runner up: Wabash Cannonball

Swim lessons

Various locations |
Runner up: St. James Club

Baby swim lessons

Various locations |
Runner up: University of Toledo

Sports camp

St. John’s
5901 Airport Highway, Toledo
419-865-5743 |
Runner up: YMCA

Summer day camp

Westside Montessori
7115 Bancroft Street, Toledo
419-866-1931 |
Runner up: YMCA Storer Camp

Favorite Place to ReadSylvania-library

Sylvania Branch Library
6749 Monroe Street, Sylvania
419-882-2089 |

When you want to take a break from the hustle of your busy schedule, the Sylvania Branch of the Toledo Lucas County Public Library is your favorite place to slow down and read a book. With an extensive list of ongoing activities for children and adults alike, this branch is a popular destination. It’s the busiest branch in terms of circulation and reference requests and will undergo renovations later this year to include updated technology, spaces for children and teens and a makerspace for 3-D printing and arts and crafts.

Runner up: Oregon Branch Library