A trusted Long Island business since 1853, Hicks Nurseries has been voted Best Nursery on Long Island and boasts an array of seasonal goodies to appease holiday-happy folk of every variety. Attentive employees guide shoppers through the spacious environment, helping them alight on items suited specifically for their festive fancy. Clothe immodest doors with lush wreaths and multihued ribbons, or get moved by the generous spirit of the season and pick up a fresh-cut tree ($29.99–$59.99) in which you can board out-of town elves. The nursery carries pieces for green thumbs and seasonal decorating delighters alike, also offering poinsettias ($3.99–$49.99), indoor and outdoor lighting wares, and ornaments ($2.99–$19.99). Stop by on the weekend to bop your list-filled noggin to a live brass band ushering in the season with red and green musical notes cascading from their trumpets.
For more than 25 years, Drama Kids International has nurtured thousands of thespian students and kids simply searching for an engaging activity, instilling children with the ability to speak clearly and confidently. Classes focus on sharpening articulated speech and encouraging creative expression. Children are placed in classes according to their age group: the Lower Primary (ages 5–8) teaches kids how to deliver lines and hone social skills, the Upper Primary (ages 9–11) delves into improvisation and dramatic movement, and the DKI Acting Academy (ages 12–17) preps scene-stealers on how to audition for their dream role. Each class includes a variety of activities for kids to unleash their imagination, which develops their dramatic abilities in a fun, easy-going setting. Drama Kids instructors foster an open, comfortable acting environment. Call ahead to schedule the first class and start your child down the path of becoming one of the more notable Baldwin brothers.
Like most good ideas, Gymboree Play & Music didn't begin in a business meeting—it began out of necessity. In 1976, Joan Barnes, a California mom, found herself frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time. Knowing that other parents were undoubtedly feeling the same frustration, she took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. She consulted experts to design a curriculum of activities to foster the development of children’s cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play. She hired a nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beckwith to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers. And her staff began conducting entertaining classes covering subjects ranging from music to sports to impart valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. As their children learned and socialized, parents also found benefit in meeting and befriending other moms and dads in their local area. More than 30 years later, her vision has proved to be a success: more than 712 child-centered franchises now spread over 42 countries, bringing confidence and creativity to thousands of youngsters in several continents and to one in the center of the earth.
H. Teller Archibald opened the doors of the first Fannie May in 1920, delighting the passing palates of Chicago’s LaSalle Street with exquisite chocolates that continue to tickle taste buds today. Though nearly a century has passed, Fannie May’s alchemists still rely on the same recipes as the first store, refusing to budge on quality even when faced with shortages during war times and the never-ending Gregory Middle School food fight of 1997. Renowned for sweetness and attention to detail, the chocolatiers’ treats stand as an institution of inventive eats, from the gooey pecan and caramel of their Pixies to the sunny, toasted-coconut-encased dark chocolate of their Trinidads.