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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pros and Cons of popular kids birthday party venues

I have 3 kids, ages 12, 9 and almost 6.  I love planning parties and have planned parties for each of their birthdays, every year.  This means that at a minimum, not including planning my husband's, friends, family members' and my own birthday parties, that I have planned 27 birthday parties at various locations.  With this experience, I feel that I can share with you some of the pros and cons of booking some of the more popular locations for your child's birthday party.


  • Its free, or close to free if you choose to reserve a shelter.
  • Easy entertainment- there is usually a play structure, swings, a grassy area to throw a ball around or sand to dig in.
  • Easy cleanup- dispose of your trash and pack up the rest.  (Although some shelter rentals do include a cleanup checklist that may include sweeping, etc.)
  • Weather dependent- you may have to make a back up plan if it rains or snows.
  • Cooking on site may be difficult- find out ahead of time if there will be grills or firepits to cook on, otherwise you will have to bring all of your own food.
  • Bathrooms- may not be easily accessible, or even in the area at all.

  • Unlimited hours of fun in the sun- who doesn't love sunbathing and splashing in the water?
  • Fun for all ages- if you have a variety of ages coming to the party, this fits the bill for any age
  • Easy favor ideas- give each kid a squirt toy and a beach ball and they are good to go.
  • Again, weather plays a factor.  Obviously you can only do a pool party in the summer, unless you plan at an indoor pool.
  • Supervision- many pools, for good reason, have requirements on how many adults need to be there to supervise small children.  If parents are dropping off their kids and coming back later, you better keep a good eye on their prized possessions while in your care.

  • Taking a group of kids to a bowling alley is an affordable party option.  Just pay for their shoes and however many games they will play.
  • No reservations needed.  Unless you are reserving a party room, just show up with your clan.  You should probably at least call ahead though to make sure that its not a league night.
  • Great music!  Bowling alleys are always playing the top 40.  An added bonus, plan the party for their nighttime laser bowling times.  Have your guests wear white and blacklight friendly clothing for extra fun!
  • This party will only work with kids of a certain age and certain athletic ability.
  • Bowling can be a competitive sport.  Hope that none of your guests end up taking the game to seriously and then put in a sour mood if they lose the game.


  • Its free!  No deposit required.
  • You will have unlimited time to set up and decorate.
  • On site kitchen.  
  • It will give you an excuse to clean the house?
  • Limited room- if your house is like mine, you may have limited seating and table space.
  • No built in activities.  You are going to have to plan some activities to keep the kids busy if you don't want your house destroyed.
  • Pets- you may have to lock up Fido during the party.  Also, if you have a dog or cat, give your guests a heads up in case they have any allergies.
  • You will have to clean your house.

5)Rollerskating Rink-
  • It will bring back nostalgic feelings about your own childhood parties.
  • It is great exercise.  Parents will be thanking you for how well their kids sleep that night.
  • No one will feel left out.  Yes its fun to skate in a group, holding hands, but kids can also skate individually, at their own speed and there wont be any hurt feelings about who is whose "best friend."
  • Someone will inevitably be injured, hopefully not badly, but someone will be bumped into, get there fingers run over or hurt their bum when they fall.
  • A color scheme? If you like to coordinate all of your party decor, this may be a tough one to figure out based on the venue.  How about a rainbow colored theme?
  • Favors? Again, if you like to give out party favors centered around a theme, rollerskating is a tough one to figure out.  How about some glow in the dark shoelaces that the kids can wear in their skates during the party and then can take with them afterwards?

  • This party is pretty inexpensive as well.  Just pay for the games that are played.
  • Older siblings and families can join in the fun as well.
  • Choose an indoor or outdoor mini-golf range, depending on the season.
  • Some kids have short attention spans.  Mini-golf is still a hit or miss with my younger two kids.  I feel like someone in our family always ends up just kicking the ball into the hole once we get about halfway through the course.
  • Depending on how many guests you invite, you may have to split up into a few separate groups, otherwise the game will go on way, way too long.
  • At most mini-golf courses you are going to run into the problem of not having anywhere to do the cake and gifts.  Ask in advance if you might be able to set up camp at a nearby picnic table.

Hopefully this list saves you some time to figure out what the best option for your child's next birthday party will be.
Stay tuned for my next post on pros and cons of some of my more non-traditional venue suggestions.

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