Top Ten Playful Towns in America Revealed Today by Nick Jr. Family Magazine

Mar 22, 2004, 00:00 ET from Nick Jr. Family Magazine

    NEW YORK, March 22 /PRNewswire/ -- After six months of nationwide
 research, the editors of Nick Jr. Family Magazine announced today 'The Ten
 Most Playful Towns in America.' The report is in the April issue which hits
 newsstands this week. Camel races along Main Street, library story hours with
 lines around the block, and annual jack-o-lantern contests that draw thousands
 are just some of the main attractions that make these chosen towns the best
 places for young families to live, according to the article.
     "At Nick Jr. Family Magazine, we recognize that play is an essential part
 of kids' lives," said Wendy Smolen, deputy editor, Nick Jr. Family Magazine.
 "By highlighting towns across the country that put their heart and soul into
 family time, we hope to encourage other families to become more involved in
 their communities."
     Following are the ten towns that made Nick Jr. Family Magazine's list and
 some of the attributes that made it stand out:
      -- Moscow, Idaho: Music, art, all kinds of sports, and a downtown
         Friendship Square keep residents active 24/7.
      -- Benicia, California: You can't help but love a town that races camels
         to raise money for charity.
      -- Shaker Heights, Ohio: The high school marching band has as much cache
         as the football team---and this is in Ohio!
      -- Montclair, New Jersey: New York sophistication with lots of local
         culture and camaraderie.
      -- Wayzata, Minnesota: Small enough to know everyone's name, but big on
         charity and fun.
      -- Germantown, Tennessee: A1 sports teams, stocked lakes, 700-plus acres
         of parks---Germantowners know how to enjoy themselves.
      -- Keene, New Hampshire: A picturesque college town with its own baseball
         team and traditions.
      -- Columbus, Indiana: Filled with modern architecture and art, kids are
         encouraged to touch the "masterpieces."
      -- Alpharetta, Georgia: The local mall is nicknamed 'Stroller Mall'
         because of the moms with kids walking through and the many stores
         catering to young families.
      -- Oro Valley, Arizona: The town library, with its majestic mountain
         view, is a favorite hangout for kids and parents.
     According to the 2000 census, 66 percent of families have chosen to live
 in a town outside a major city, as the appeal of backyards and barbecues is
 becoming increasingly popular. In addition to being located within 50 miles of
 a major city, Nick Jr. Family Magazine's Ten Most Playful Towns had to meet or
 exceed at least seven of the following criteria:
      -- Schools performing in the top third of their states--
      -- Student/teacher ratio below 16/1 (2000-1 national range from 13.0/1 to
      -- Expenditure per student above $7,500  (2000-1 national average:
      -- Safe neighborhoods (lower than national average crime statistics)
      -- Median age of residents below 43 (Gen-X)
      -- Median housing price (less than 3x median family income)
      -- Extensive library programs
      -- Myriad ways to enjoy outdoor activities
      -- Access to the arts
      -- Population between 2,500 and 50,000----
      *  National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
      ** Estimates, based on U.S. Census data
     Nick Jr. Family Magazine, celebrating its fifth year this fall, is the
 fastest growing magazine in the Parenting category.  Published nine times a
 year, Nick Jr. Family Magazine builds on the strength of the Nick Jr. brand to
 provide today's busy parents of kids age 0-11 with the latest information on
 child development, news and family products; and the simplest creative
 activities and ideas for spending time as a family. Nick Jr. Family Magazine
 has won numerous awards from the Association of Educational Publishers
 including Periodical of the Year and the Golden Lamp Award.  The magazine has
 also been honored by Parents' Choice and Parent's Guide to Children's Media
 and has been featured on ADWEEK's Top Ten Hot List in 2002 and 2004.  Nick Jr.
 Family Magazine has a circulation of 1.05 million and a total audience of 5.5

SOURCE Nick Jr. Family Magazine