Best of 2010: Little Creatures


Kernohan’s Toys

18 W. Anapamu St., 962-5353

5739 Calle Real, Goleta, 964-6499

Anybody who grew up baby boomer in this town remembers the big brown bear rolled out on the sidewalk in front of Kernohan’s on State Street. No doubt, they remember Mrs. Kernohan almost as fondly, too. The bear’s still there, though on other streets now and the lovely kid-friendly store belongs to Greg Brinser and family, who have owned it since 2006. He feels the tradition has been maintained with steady grace, though; they are still Kernohan’s. “We’ve been here for 56 years and we’re elated to be voted Santa Barbara’s favorite toy store,” said Brinser.

FINALIST: Chicken Little

Rainbow School
Paul Wellman


Rainbow School

5689 Hollister Ave., #C, Goleta, 964-4511

“We’re hoping people like us because this is such a happy place for learning, growing, gardening, and learning to get along with each other,” said director Julie Summer. The gardening part refers to a plot of land that each kid gets to tend, which last year yielded tomatoes, zucchini, and scads of other veggies that the young folks harvested and consumed instead of Cheetos at snack time. (Though the day we called it was 100 degrees out and the kids were slurping down ice creams and Otter Pops to keep cool and happy.) “We’re so very happy that people voted for us,” said Summers.

FINALIST: Sunrise Montessori


Zoo Camp

500 Niños Dr., 962-5339

“We’re ecstatic that we won,” said Tiffany Musgrove, director of conservation education at the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens, or, as it’s known around town: the zoo. “I think the camp is popular because it offers a combination of fun—you know, summer camps have to be fun—and education.” Depending on age group and the theme week when your child enters, the range of activities could move from simply traipsing around exotic animals all the way up to visiting the lion’s den (when they’re out), feeding elephants, or even sleeping overnight amidst the sounds of wildlife napping, too. “Ninety percent of all kids love the zoo,” promised Musgrove, “so they love the camp, too.”

FINALIST: UCSB Summer Day Camp


This Little Piggy Wears Cotton

8 E. De La Guerra St., 564-6982

1470 E. Valley Rd., Ste. V, Montecito, 969.7007

So cute! The full name of this store—most people just call it Piggy—is as much a mission statement as a catchy hook. Begun here in 1989 by a mother and dad team, it’s now a mini-chain capitalizing on the urge all parents have to swaddle their young ’uns in soft, fashionable togs. But for most of us not currently breeding, these well-established downtown S.B. and Montecito destinations provide the must-stop all-in-one shop for first, second, and third birthday parties when the kids don’t mind that you get them clothes instead of Nintendos or Katy Perry downloads for their smart phones.

FINALIST: Chicken Little


San Roque Pet Hospital

3034 State St., 682-2647

“After all the hard work we’ve put in this year, it’s so nice to know that it has been appreciated,” said Dr. Dave Dawson. “We really do have devoted clientele who are devoted to their pets. We like to say, we’re high tech, high touch—we try to pair the latest in technology with compassionate care.” The hospital proved that recently, standing up to the plate during the time when the emergency CARE Hospital shut down—they did emergency work in the interim. “The community was panicked, and, even if it was not the business we wanted to be in, we took on the extra responsibility. The staff was stressed, but we saved a lot of lives,” said Dawson.

FINALIST: White’s Pet Hospital


Dioji K-9 Resort & Athletic Club

7340 Hollister Ave, Goleta, 685-6068

“We are very excited to win,” said Jeannie Wendel, one of the owners of this very new doggie hotel, which has won awards for each of the three years it’s been open. “I’m sure people like us because we have an amazing team that truly cares about dogs, and we’re 100 percent cage free. The dogs are never left alone, they sleep on leather sofas and pillows and someone’s there with them the whole time.” There’s also the dog-bone-shaped pool, which, on the blazing hot day we called, was getting a lot of canine attention. “Some of the dogs who’ve never swam were in there today. Some of the staff are thinking about it, too,” laughed Wendel.

FINALIST: Camp Canine Animal Inn



19 S. Milpas St., 966-7292

3985 State St., 964-2868

Department stores for animals might have been a tough corporate pitch to the powers that underwrite such capitalistic schemes. But here it is, replete with bulk doggie biscuit salad bars, aquarium arcana, squeaky toys in most unusual shapes, and even fetish-y looking collars that we hope go to members of the pet kingdom. It’s kind of like the Staples store for the furry friends association. Doggone right they got that and at prices that will make you purr.

FINALIST: Lemos Feed & Pet Supply


Little Dog House

5758 Hollister Ave., Goleta, 964-2446

Little Dog House prides itself in being cage free, which also pleases owners and, obviously, pooches, too. Annabelle Hofmann thinks there are many reasons people like her grooming place, but experience might be key. “I’ve been here since 1975, can you believe it?” she said. It must mean she loves her job. “Well,” said Hofmann, who has begun a nonprofit rescue group that has saved more than 400 dogs from euthanization, “I get tired of being the boss, but I never get tired of the dogs.”

FINALIST: Colleen’s Pet Grooming


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