Best of Orlando 2017 - Kids & Pets

Our readers voted online for their top picks in dozens of categories, from sweet shops to car dealers, bloggers to wedding venues. We carried our snazzy "Best of Orl" sign to various winning spots for photos, then had a "blast" coloring it for the cover.




Lake Highland Preparatory School

Roberto Gonzalez

Best of Food & Drink
Best of Home Shopping
Best of People & Media
Best of Fun & Leisure
Best of Health & Beauty
Best of Kids & Pets

A Well Rounded Class Act

Founded in 1970, Lake Highland Preparatory School is one of the largest independent schools in the country, with a student enrollment of 1,900. Among the school’s greatest strengths is its offerings in math, science, technology, engineering and innovation, says Susan Clayton, Lake Highland's vice president of advancement. For 20 years, the school has offered a program that matches motivated math and science students with researchers and physicians who work as their mentors and engage them in their current laboratory projects. Vrinda Madan, who will attend Princeton University in the fall, was recently named one of 40 national finalists at the prestigious Science Talent Search. Famous alumni include Kerri Strug, 1996 Olympic Games gold medalist in women’s gymnastics, and Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed.
—Loraine O’Connell

PRIVATE SCHOOL, 9-12

1 Lake Highland Preparatory School 
Orlando
lhps.org

2 Windermere Preparatory School
Windermere
windermereprep.com

3 The First Academy
Orlando
thefirstacademy.org

PRIVATE SCHOOL, K-5

1 StarChild Academy 
Multiple Orlando-area locations
starchildacademy.com

2 Lake Highland Preparatory School
Orlando
lhps.org

3 Windermere Preparatory School
Windermere
windermereprep.com

PRIVATE SCHOOL, 6-8

1 Windermere Preparatory School
Windermere
windermereprep.com

2 Lake Highland Preparatory School 
Orlando
lhps.org

3 The First Academy
Orlando
thefirstacademy.org

PRESCHOOL

1 Ladybird Academy 
Multiple locations
ladybirdacademy.com

2 StarChild Academy
Multiple Orlando-area locations
starchildacademy.com

3 The First Academy
Orlando
thefirstacademy.org

SUMMER CAMP

1 StarChild Academy 
Multiple Orlando-area locations
starchildacademy.com

2 Ladybird Academy
Multiple Orlando-area locations
ladybirdacademy.com

3 Windermere Preparatory School
Windermere
windermereprep.com

PLACE FOR BABY  AND CHILDREN'S CLOTHING

1 Once Upon a Child
Three Orlando-area locations
onceuponachildorlandofl.com

2 The Children’s Place
Six Orlando-area locations
childrensplace.com

3 Tugboat & the Bird
Downtown Winter Park
tugboatandthebird.com


Animal Veterinary (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

ANIMAL HOSPITAL

1 Animal Veterinary Hospital of Orlando
South Orlando
myavho.com

2 Tuscawilla Oaks 
Animal Hospital
Oviedo
tuscawillaoaksah.com

3 Underhill Animal Hospital
Orlando
underhillanimalhospital.com


Rock & Brews (ROBERTO GONZALEZ)

Who's a Good Boy?

There are 52 beers on tap at Oviedo's Rock & Brews restaurant for their human customers and two for the canine variety. "We treat the dogs just like the owners," says General Manager Tavo Mendez. There's a doggie menu with five items on it, including Doggy Beer (a sodium- and preservative-free broth) and doggy ice cream (a swirl of peanut butter, banana and yogurt, frozen and served in cubes). Dogs must stay on the patio, but Rock & Brews keeps dog beds on hand in case the cement is too hot or cold for the pups’ comfort. "I believe it's a big draw," Mendez says. The restaurant is in the middle of a community, which is why they cater to families and partner with local dog- and people-oriented organizations by hosting fundraisers and volunteer luncheons. "We don't just hand out gift certificates," Mendez says. "We take it to the next level."  
—Megan Stokes

PET-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

1 Rock & Brews
Oviedo; Lee Vista Area
rockandbrews.com

2 TR Fire Grill
Winter Park
trfiregrill.com

3 Yellow Dog Eats
Gotha
yellowdogeats.com

KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

1 Kobe Japanese Steakhouse
Seven Orlando-area locations
kobesteakhouse.com

2 Uno Pizzeria & Grill
Four Orlando-area locations
unos.com

3 Café Tu Tu Tango
Southern I-Drive area
cafetututango.com

PET SPA AND GROOMING

1 Clipper Ship Pet Grooming
Lake Mary
facebook.com
(search Clipper Ship)

2 Plush Paws
College Park
plushpawsinc.com

3 Bow Wow Resort
Apopka
bowwowresort.com

SPECIALTY PET STORE

1 Woof Gang Bakery
Nine Orlando-area locations
woofgangbakery.com

2 Pookie’s Pet Nutrition 
& Bow Wow Bakery
Winter Park
pookiesbowwowbakery.com

3 The Doggie Door
Downtown Winter Park
thedoggiedoor.com

DOGGIE DAY CARE

1 Ranger’s Pet Outpost 
and Retreat
Winter Park
rangerspetoutpost.com

2 Bow Wow Resort
Apopka
bowwowresort.com

3 Eastman’s Escape
Winter Park
eastmansescape.com

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Guides & Resources

2017 Premier Veterinarians

The 2017 Pet Guide: Pet Resource Guide

Here are some of the places you can go in Central Florida when you need supplies, products and services for your best friends.

Premier Realtors 2017

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2017

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2017

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2017

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2016 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.
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