Planning an all age inclusive birthday party has gotten harder the more into our 30s we get. Between newly weds, newborns, older and younger kids, and aging parents, the crowds at family and social gatherings have become more diverse and harder to please. Taking grandma to the bar may work if she used to be a Marine (lol) but for the most part you will have to plan separate shindigs or put up with incessant complaints. Lame! To avoid not having fun on your well deserved celebratory time, consider these 10 ideas that are sure to be crowd pleasers and satisfying for the guest of honor.
1. Arcade style establishments.
GameWorks, Dave and Buster’s or any local arcade and/or family fun center may suffice to fulfill this category. Many places offer privacy/activity rooms where the people who may need more peace and quiet can hang while the kids and interested adults do their thing. Some places offer mini golf and laser tag as well. Adult themed places like the first two will have alcoholic beverages and the latter not so much. Ask before assuming you can bring in your own refreshments and decorations to make sure there are no branding conflicts, etc.
2. Board game party
In the PNW they have a few places that cater to table top gaming. Mox, Game Shire or many other card and RPG playing locations are available to host parties if you can’t do it at home. Some restaurants and brewpubs will not charge you to use their facilities as long as you purchase a minimum order of food and drinks, and have a family area (they aren’t just a 21+ bar or establishment). Some even have games!
3. Dinner and a movie at the park/backyard
With the advent of technology many systems that used to be expensive, like projectors and outdoor screens, are making a come back as cheaper and even more effective versions of themselves. Many entertainment companies will rent them to you for a small fee if you don’t have the $150- $300 to invest on a system, complete with high quality speakers and comfy lawn chairs. Pair this with a dinner BBQ and you will be ready to go. Check sunset times during the summer to avoid losing people mid movie because it is getting late. 😉
You’d be surprised how much equipment is out there to help people of all ages and disabilities to throw the ball down the lane and score a strike. The environment can get loud during leagues and peak times but it can still be a good trip for grandma and the kids if there is an activity room or restaurant attached to the venue. This is a fun way to get a team together without much hassle, and can be done on a school night quite easily. 2-4 hrs and you are done! Check Groupon for specials to have fun while you save $$$. 😀
5. Day at the beach/Water park/Pool
Pulling off this event is easier the closer you live to a beach or water park. It works best when paired with a vacation or road trip. If not find a pool that is available to rent for private parties. (Bonus points if you get an indoor pool during winter/cold weather seasons.) The Great Wolf Lodge is another cool indoorish alternative since there are a few around the USA and have rooms and packages available all year round.
6. Sports game outing
Buy group tickets and take your crowd to a day at the ball park/court. Get coordinating themed or team shirts, check out what you can take into the stadium legally and per policy so that your crew can get creative with signs, dress and chants. Bonus points of you attend college games, little league, Roller Derby or AAA baseball or female sports league play. There’s a lot out there to choose from. Find a sport that everyone likes and set up teams to play afterwards or in lieu of the event. Heads up!
7. Renting a boat for the day/River or Lake Cruise
Pick a location with meaning to the guest of honor. Be it nearby or a quick roadtrip away, there is nothing better than spending time being pampered in the high seas or quietly enjoying the view of the water. Some lines have activity rooms in existing cruises that you can rent for a few hours, making planning very easy. Charter a boat with a crew for full effect, especially if you are going fishing for prize catches. Ahoy!
8. Hike location with climate controlled visitor center.
This may sound ridiculous but you can take the family to a lot of National Parks and hike spots that have climate controlled visitor centers with restaurants and educational displays. It is easier to attempt a substantial hike with the ability to leave kids behind for a while if they are too young or adults that can’t walk for longer than 15-30 mins. These guests can still enjoy the beauty of the location without having to leave a safe environment.
Sci-fi, art, music, science, technology or pop culture, museums come in so many varietals you will have many experiences to choose from. Learning is fun, especially since knowing is half the battle. 😉
10. Dress up, Mystery Murder or Escape Room party.
Check Groupon for deals in your area. If you don’t like to participate, try a show dinner theater like Teatro Zinzani or a dinner train. This idea is good for groups of 7 to 25. Some venues can be pricey so make sure everyone is willing to pay a premium if using professionals to coordinate the event.