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Best After-School Hangout
Best All-Ages Gift Emporium
Best Birthday Party
Best Book Selection
Best Catered-To-Kids Restaurant
Best Cheap Chill
Best Clothes
Best Free Thrill
Best Indoor Playground
Best Outdoor Playground
Best Outing (Other Than The Malls)
Best Party Supplies
Best Snow Cones
Best Teen Scene
Best Toys
Best Upscale Kids' Clothes

Best Playground

Reid Park
Broadway and Country Club Road

READERS' PICK: We know of five playgrounds at Reid Park, if we define a playground as an area that has apparatus like jungle gyms, swings, slides or stabiles. We visited them all and are particularly fond of two: the one with the challenging wooden suspension bridge; and the deserted one we found with traditional swings and a slide on the north side of the park. No waiting to slide or swing, and seemingly all the time in the world to follow our play whims. Families are big here: It's a multi-faceted, multi-playground oasis in the middle of our baked burgh. And it's free!

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Himmel Park, 1000 N. Country Club Road.

STAFF PICK: We came unaware--completely ignorant, in fact--of the adventure awaiting as we pulled up to 2544 E. Allen Road. If we'd only known, we might've had kids sooner. But we digress. On this fateful night we finally dabbled in the magic of Valley of the Moon. The celestial full moon added even more drama to an evening shared by children, adults and wood sprites of all ages. After brushing our hands across the magic herb, touring the fantasy landscape and hearing numerous tales of elfin and gnomic ancestry, we succumbed to its charms. We tromped. We found the golden key to everlasting happiness. We didn't pay a thin dime. But we'll be back, with donations to preserve this registered Arizona historical site. Thank the heavens that Halloween (the Valley's biggest day of the year) is just around the corner.

Case History

1998 Winner: Reid Park
1997 Winner: McDonald's
1995 Winner: Discovery Zone Funcenter

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