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Mendo Lake Family Life

Throw a Birthday Party That Doesn’t Wipe You Out

Mar 03, 2020 11:58AM
By Kimberly Blaker

So your child’s birthday is just around the corner, and you don’t have time to plan and prepare the perfect party? Don’t despair. There are plenty of fun places to hold kids’ parties that’ll save you time in planning, preparation, and cleanup. Most importantly, your birthday child and guests will have a blast.

Skates and Blades Roller-skating rinks are again gaining popularity, and most offer a choice of inline or roller-skate rentals. Also, consider ice-skating and ice- or roller-hockey parties.

Strike It Big Bowling parties are a fun form of recreation for kids of all ages. Preschoolers can score every time with bumper bowling, while teens can go cosmic for glow-in-the-dark fun. Offer small prizes for low and high scores and the most and fewest gutters.

Pizza and Play Preschool and early elementary children can play kiddie arcade-style games, win tickets for prizes, hop on coin-operated rides, and romp in soft play areas.

Old MacDonald Had a Farm Check with a nearby farm, ranch, or apple orchard to find out what activities are offered. For a list of farms in Sonoma County, go to or do a Google search for farms in Mendocino and Lake Counties.
Recreational Romp Recreation and fitness centers offer a wide variety of activities for birthdays, including gymnastics, swimming, basketball, and arts and crafts.

You Should Be Dancin’ Local dance studios may offer birthday-party packages that include professional dance instruction and food and party treats.

Music Marvel Look for a kiddie musical adventure offered by an area musician or music center, or take a teen to see a favorite musician perform.

Craft Magic Young kids love to create. So schedule a craft party at a fabric shop, craft store, or scrap-recycling center where kids’ activities are offered.

Putt-Putt and More Family fun centers offer a variety of entertainment, including batting cages, miniature golf, video games, bumper boats, and go-carts.

Hands-On Science Kids of all ages will be thoroughly engrossed and entertained at hands-on science museums. The party-goers can try out gadgets, watch or participate in experiments, play instruments, and much more.

Climbing Adventures Daredevils won’t want to miss one of these exciting quests. Look for a local rock-climbing gym where party guests can do rock climbing with a professional instructor.

Beach Party Give your teen some fun in the sun with a beach bash. Choose a park and make a reservation for a covered picnic area. (For park locations, see,, and Look for a spot with horseshoes and plenty of sand, and don’t forget the beach balls, pizza, and cooler of soda.

Row, Row, Row Your Boat For teens, an afternoon canoe excursion on the Russian River or the Eel River is the ultimate in outdoor fun. Contact canoe rental facilities for details. Bring along soda and a picnic lunch, and make sure the food stays in the chaperone’s canoe, where it’ll be safe from tips. Don’t forget balloons for water balloon fights during rest stops.

Z Is for Zoo Zoos are an excellent place to celebrate birthdays. Many offer party packages that include meals, cake, invitations, live animal presentations, and more. 

Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer who specializes in parenting issues.