When it comes to birthdays, the families of Essex County know how to party.
Patch readers weighed in on some of their favorite places for children's birthdays in the area during last week's "Reader's Choice" poll.
The winners ranged from roller skating parties to cake decorating and a wide array of choices in between.
West Orange readers loved to party at The Turtle Back Zoo, a place where children can ride a carousel, visit animals in a petting zoo and bird aviary, and enjoy a large outdoor space along with an indoor reptile house.
Maplewood Karate on Valley Road, owned by Louis Toledo, was a favorite among Maplewood readers. The karate studio showcased its party offerings with photos of children kickboxing, getting red and black goodie bags, and even celebrating with a karate birthday cake.
It turns out South Orange kids love to celebrate at The Messy Artist in South Orange, a place for crafts that includes finger-painting and playing with goop, as well as painting picture frames.
In Newark, children can choose from one of three birthday party packages at the Branch Brook Park roller rink on Clifton Avenue. The rink is located inside the county's beautiful Branch Brook Park, a favorite among Newark readers.
Montclair readers say they like to swim and do sports at one of two YMCA facilities in their town. The YMCA at 25 Park St. offers swim and pool parties for children ages 6 to 12, while the Geyer Family YMCA at 159 Glenridge Ave., offers pool parties for children ages 1 to 6.
In Livingston, Build 'N Blocks, an enrichment center for math, technology and art, that hosts parties and family fun nights was a reader favorite. Readers in Millburn said they love to have parties at Splurge Bakery, where kids can decorate their own cakes, cupcakes and make their own pizzas.
Bella Princess was the choice of Bloomfield readers, who said they love to see storybook characters come to life at the venue that includes tea parties, knight parties, and sing-alongs. Belleville readers loved Uptown Dance studio, which offers everything from yoga and ballet to hip-hop at its location at 390 Union Ave.
Planet Kidz in Fairfield, a gym for children ages 10 months to 12-years-old, was a favorite of readers in the Caldwells. This party place offers gymnastics, arts and crafts, dance and yoga. With its offerings of arts and crafts and pottery, The Coloring Room on Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell, was a hit among readers in Verona. Besides birthday parties, it hosts Ladies' Nights Out and summer camps.
Next week, readers will be able to weigh in on the best places to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. So stay tuned. . . .