Whoever knew that living in the city would mean jumping with joy on days the thermostat hit above 60 degrees? Despite our total denial that summertime doesn’t necessarily mean perpetual sunshine, those three months of freedom is a great time to throw an outdoor birthday party. Lucky for us, there are plenty of Bay Area destinations to escape the fog. We’ve got the low down on 8 amazing summertime birthday party venues–Whether your little ones want to blow their candles in a swim suit, with a live zebra or at a local theme park, they will remember their birthday with friends and enjoy a sun-filled day at the same time.
Roaring Camp Railroads (Felton)
Perfect for the trainiac in your family, parents have several different birthday package options to choose from, including a private caboose party or a Thomas the Tank Engine party. All parties include a short ride on the trains, with several picnic tables for guests to enjoy some barbecue (charcoal grill provided on-site). Starting at $295 up to $650 with the option for additional party features like jugglers, a puppet show, to fun themed activities like gold panning and candle making, the birthday boy or girl can enjoy their special day with up to 20 friends. Check out all the details of their party packages here.
Location: 5401 Graham Hill Road, Felton
Children’s Fairyland (Oakland)
At the quaint storybook theme park that inspired Disneyland, parents can organize two different types of birthday parties. Either you go DIY and bring everything you need at the Teddy Bear Picnic Grove, or you splurge and reserve one of the five enclosed birthday areas, opting for a catered party. This second option is so simple you’ll barely need to do anything: for $20 per child (10-child minimum), your group enjoys the exclusive use of a themed party area, cupcakes and ice cream, a Fairyland T-shirt and crown for the birthday child, and party supplies. Will it be Cinderella with its “glass slipper” slide, Japanese Tea Garden and its interactive rain wheel, or Circus with teeter-totter? Whatever you pick, make sure to allow time for the famous puppet theatre performances, they are always a huge it.
Location: Children’s Fairyland is located on the shore of Lake Merritt at Grand Avenue and Bellevue. 699 Bellevue Avenue. Oakland.
Contact: 510-452-2259, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Aqua Adventure (Fremont)
Those summer babies sure are lucky when it comes to the weather. For little ones who love to splash, swim and slide, what better place to blow an extra candle than a water park in sunny Fremont? Aqua Adventure has a special birthday package for aquatic-minded kids. This birthday package books you a 2 and a half hour window at a Birthday Party Hut (to protect the ice-cream from the sun!) but the best part is that all the guests can enjoy the water rides and pools all day long. The birthday child even gets a return ticket for another day.
Location: 40500 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont.
Lemos Farm (Half Moon Bay)
Pint-size cowboys and cowgirls, get ready to giddy up! Between the ponies, hay rides, train rides, and goats, Lemos Farm is a total preschooler magnet! Half Moon Bay enjoys such blessed weather that families from all over the Peninsula love organizing birthday parties at Lemos Farm. You choose a Pony Party or a Choo Choo Party and the food is up to you (BYO or pizza). If your kids can spend hours at a petting zoo, this is the dream place.
Location: 12320 San Mateo Road (Hwy 92), Half Moon Bay.
Hidden Villa Farm (Los Altos)
Piglets, chickens, pizza garden, oh my! This educational organic farm offers a birthday package that includes a large picnic area and a private group tour of the farm for your party. If your kids want to say hi up-close to the goats or if they love anything garden-related, Hidden Villa is a fantastic birthday party venue. Once the tour is over, the kids can run around on the dirt trails or splash in the shallow creek shaded by oak trees.
Location: 26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills.
Contact: 650-949-8650, Email – email@example.com
San Francisco Zoo (San Francisco)
For young animal lovers, the San Francisco Zoo offers a 90-minute package that includes a birthday facility rental, lunch, cake, goodie bags for all the kids, a present for the birthday child, a costume character, one free ride per person (your guests will like that) and free parking at the zoo and unlimited access to the zoo that day. You can even add “upgrades” such as a face painter or an animal encounter. Giraffe chit-chat anyone?
Location: Sloat Boulevard & The Great Highway, San Francisco.
Contact: 415-753-7055, Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Soccer Kids (Marin county)
David Beckam better behave, the next generation is virtually starting in the crib! Young soccer fans can now have their own soccer birthday party complete with a coached game, orange cones and net goals just like on the real fields. Kids don’t even have to know anything about soccer to join – it’s all about high energy and kicking a ball!
Location: Marin county, San Francisco county, San Mateo county
Contact: Coach Jaime – 415-608-2608, Email – email@example.com
Brisbane Community Pool (Brisbane)
Swimming outside right on the edge of San Francisco? Heated swimming pool and shaded gazebos? Yes, it’s a dream come true at this community pool surrounded by green grass and trees where parents can rent one of two picnic areas and have a special birthday bash for their little tadpole. Choose from the Silver (20 adults and children) or the Gold package (40 adults and children) and enjoy a full day of swimming outdoors. Young kids love the zero depth access ramp where they just lay on their tummies and play in the pool’s “waves.”
Location: 2 Solano Street, Brisbane.
Castle Rock Arabians (Walnut Creek)
Horses, Horses, Horses. For the kid who always dreamed of having a pony birthday or just can’t spend enough time in the saddle, Castle Rock has three different packages for kids broken down by age. “Wish Upon a Horse” for the 6 and under set costs $70 per rider and involves playing games on horseback as well as time for grooming the horses and ponies. “Let’s Go Riding” for the 8 and over set includes time learning basic equestrian techniques, including catching and leading horses and costs $75 per rider. For those who absolutely adore horses, the “I Love Horses” package includes all of the activities from “Let’s Go Riding” and a chance to paint a pony! Cost is $80 per rider.
Be sure to include their picnic package ($100) for stunning views of Mt. Diablo while noshing on a barbecue lunch.
Location: 1350 Castle Rock Road, Walnut Creek
Contact: 925 933 3701
Science Adventure Birthday Parties (Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland)
Ready for a nature and science adventure? Holding a crab, looking at aquatic invertebrates through microscopes or making fish prints are only some of the activities Kids for the Bay organizes for young explorers in the Bay Area. For on-site exploration, you can meet the naturalists at the Berkeley Marina Shorebird Park (Berkeley) or the Wildcat Creek in Alvarado Park (Oakland) and let the naturalists guide the kids on a game-filled field trip. For at home science parties, the naturalists (who all have a teaching background) will come to your house and demonstrate how to create exploding volcanoes, experiment with endothermic and exothermic reactions, and make cool lava lamps to take home. Each child also makes and takes home slimy ‘gak’ and ‘oobleck’ creations. Bill Nye would approve, don’t you think?
Location: 30 mile radius around Berkeley.
Contact: Phone – 510-985-1602, Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
What is your favorite venue for an outdoor birthday party? Let us know in the comment section below.
— Laure Latham
photos courtesy of Roaring Camp Railroad facebook page, Children’s Fairyland, Aqua Adventure facebook page, Lemos Farm website, Hidden Villa Farm facebook page, SF Zoo facebook page, Soccer Kids website, Brisbane Community Pool website, Castle Rock Arabians website, Kids for the Bay facebook page