Best Of Hudson Valley 2015: Kids & Pets

Including best children’s boutique, healthy pet food, and more

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Readers’ Picks


Party for Kids of All Ages

Bounce! Tampoline Sports Poughkeepsie
Got kids? Then booking a birthday party at Bounce! is a no-brainer: The floor and walls of this 10,000-square-foot facility are lined with trampolines and foam pits, so the little darlings can jump, flip, and fly to their hearts’ content. Those with more than a few candles on the cake can also enjoy refreshments and 90 minutes of floor time; think of all the calories you’ll torch with a spirited game of dodgeball or tackling the brand-new Xtreme Agility Challenge. 845-206-4555;

New Children’s Boutique

SWING Cold Spring
SWING is the brainchild of Evan Ross and Stephanie Doucette. Ross began his fashion career assisting Cyndi Lauper, putting together looks for her tour in Japan and later styling for Hollywood bigwigs like Mariska Hargitay, Liam Neeson, and Tina Fey. From lending his style talents to publications like Elle and Rolling Stone, to opening Frock, a series of designer vintage clothing stores in New York City, Ross was making his mark in the fashion world. When he met Doucette in 2012, she already knew a thing or two about fashion, having created a successful clothing line that was a hit with the working girl and celebrities alike. Fast-forward a few years; add in some blood, sweat, and tears and SWING was born. Its children’s line, Petite Doucette, caters to the 2- to 10-year-old set. The line features a sweet mix of edge and function for boys and girls. 845-809-5955;

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Kids’ Party for Chocoholics

The Chocolate Studio Beacon
Children with a serious sweet tooth can satisfy their cravings at this offshoot of the Gourmetibles candy shop. Along with party games and prizes, the birthday child and guests are encouraged to dip pretzels, marshmallows, and cookies in melted chocolate — and eat the yummy results. Molding and decorating your very own chocolate lollipop is also part of the fun. We wouldn’t be surprised to find moms and dads getting in on these gooey gastronomic games. 845-765-1165;

Kids’ Party for Animal Lovers

Two By Two Traveling Zoo Pleasant Valley
In business for 22 years, this family-run company brings from eight to 12 of its adopted “animal ambassadors” — rabbits, goats, ducks, a tortoise, a python, even a kangaroo — to your gathering, either indoors or out, for an hour-long visit with partygoers. With an eye toward conservation, the zookeepers arrive armed with fun facts and educational info. “It’s all interactive,” says owner Heather Iannucci. “The kids can hold the animals — except for the alligator; that’s against state law.” And it’s not just the children who are enthralled by the fauna. “The parents get a big charge out of them, too,” says Iannucci. 845-677-3507;


Kids’ Party for Art Lovers

Poughkidsie Poughkeepsie
Is your youngster all about arts and crafts? Consider throwing a birthday bash at Poughkidsie’s studio, a hands-on play space where creativity rules. Kids spend an hour gluing, painting, stamping, and otherwise decorating a project of their choice (a birdhouse or picture frame, a hat or a fire truck), followed by pizza in the party room. The best part: The little artists go home with a handmade treasure, and staffers take care of the mess. 845-243-3750;

Healthy Pet Food

The Natural Pet Center Gardiner
We’re picky about our own nutrition, so it stands to reason that we should be picky about our pets’ nutrition, too. The Natural Pet Center stocks only — you guessed it — natural products that are easy on animals’ systems. Foods and treats are free of corn and are made with turkey, chicken, bison, venison, lamb, beef, and other proteins, as well as some fruits and vegetables for extra antioxidants. In addition to cat and dog food (which come either dry, canned, frozen, or freeze-dried), the store carries healthy alternatives for birds, small animals like rabbits and hamsters, and livestock. 845-255-7387;

Way to Pamper your Pooch

Pet N Play Luxury Pet Resort & Spa Newburgh
Go ahead and book that tour of Norway! Your pooch will hardly notice your absence after checking in to this indulgent veterinarian-owned retreat a hop and a skip from the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge. Sure, Max and Fifi could just hang out in front of the flat-screen TVs in their spacious suites, but there are also activity packages that get them outdoors to romp around. There is even an outdoor water park, the first of its kind in this neck of the woods. Year-round aqua massage is also on offer, as are blueberry facials in the grooming salon. Puppies get special treatment, with packages that include group play sessions and a chew toy with a treat tucked inside that’s gentle on baby teeth. 845-562-7861;

- Partner Content -


Baby/Children’s Boutique

Waddle n Swaddle


The Wayfinder Experience

Dance School

Cherilyn’s School of Dance
Pleasant Valley

Dog Park

Beacon Dog Park

Karate School

Fighting Spirit Dojo
New Paltz

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Kids’ Birthday Party

Party With Us LLC

Music Program

Paul Green Rock Academy

Pet Store

Paws of Distinction
New Paltz

Place to Eat with Kids

Falls Diner
Wappingers Falls

Toy Store

Land of Oz

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