Chattanooga Birthday Party GuideDec 6th, 2011 | By JCrutchfield | Category: Attractions, Features
Party Like a Rock Star
The complete guide to planning a birthday party in Chattanooga
Chattanooga is a fun place to be a family and birthdays are a great time to celebrate with friends, family and fun. There are some important ingredients to a successful party but the key starts with you and your child.
Parties can be expensive, exhausting and grueling for the parents involved but they don’t have to be that way. It’s a cruel irony to celebrate a day of joy by torturing yourself with poor planning, expensive frills or tearful tirades. We’ve celebrated a lot of birthdays over the years and we’d like to share some lessons we’ve learned.
The ingredients to a happy birthday party don’t have to come with a ritzy price tag to be first-class fun. Start out by talking to your child; ask for a list of places, ideas, food and friends. Don’t be afraid to think out of the box. Those can be the parties that you remember the most and they don’t have to break the bank.
One year a son of mine wanted to be bald. He was desperate to feel that fresh scalp and no crew cut would do it. We talked about parties and presents but all he wanted was to be shiny bald. I was appalled.
We had a party at our house, rolled our trees with toilet paper to decorate, played games and had a hair stylist as the centerpiece of the day. She shaved his sweet head, gave his friends haircuts (with their parent’s supervision) and made a day that my boys and their friends will always remember.
Place, theme, games and friends. It’s like a basic dinner recipe that you change each time you make it, adding and subtracting to fit the moment. Each child is different and a party doesn’t have to be a cookie-cutter plan, it can be as tailored and individual as you, your family and your children are.
Sometimes children don’t want to have a big party with their whole class. There’s nothing wrong with a small party, a just-family party or a present, trip or activity that replaces a party. As your children grow their ideas about how to celebrate their special days will change and we have to be able to roll with those differences. We may have given birth but when it comes down to it the day is theirs.
Party Favors, Presents and Philanthropy:
Depending on your children’s age party favors are primo and kids hungrily eye the shiny little bags for their sugary goodies. Parents may be less thrilled about those treats as they’re prying children away from the frolic, fun and sugar rush of the sweet celebration. Out-of-the-box favors may be score parent points with your peers and share some of your family with theirs. Consider school supplies, art supplies, coupons, discount offers or tickets to family activities instead of candy. Think about making things with your children to use as party favors. Online sites like www.familyfun.com, a Disney franchise, MarthaStewart.com and www.eHow.com have lots of neat ideas for favors, treats and activities.
Materialism is alive and well but there comes a time when enough is enough and sometimes a meaningful birthday is best celebrated by sharing with others. Some classmates might not have the budget to bring presents to parties for each of their friends but the time spent together is real and valuable. Consider asking your child’s friends to bring gently used books for their class’s library, canned goods for a food drive or wrapped presents for a Toys for Tots drive instead of presents. Everyone can win and the spirit of giving teaches lessons and appreciation that last a lifetime.
Party Supplies / Rentals:
Activity Rentals – www.activityrentals.com
Sometimes it is the activities and not the place that make the party and we always enjoy doing business with Activity Rentals. Whether you want an inflatable bouncer, a chocolate fountain, a snow cone machine, cotton candy machine, spin art game or a fog maker they can help you. If you don’t have enough tables, chairs, carnival games, balloons, face paint, prizes or entertainment they can help at a reasonable price with terrific service.
Whether you are planning to have the party come to you or booking the place for the party you can tailor a theme to match your child. We’ve had parties at parks, celebrated in the Rolling Video Games bus, rocked out with record players at our house, gone vertical at climbing gyms and more. The smiles are the same when everyone is happy.
Chattanooga Nature Center – www.chattanooganaturecenter.org
Nature, animals, wildflowers and an awesome treehouse make the Chattanooga Nature Center and Arboretum a great venue for parties and events.
Chattanooga Parks and Recreation Centers
Visit www.chattanooga.gov for a listing of Parks and Recreation Centers in Chattanooga that are available for parties and activities.
Chattanooga Zoo – www.chattzoo.org
The Chattanooga Zoo offers a unique opportunity for birthday party fun in a beautiful setting with experienced staff that is a great opportunity for budding naturalists and animal-lovers.
Creative Discovery Museum – www.cdmfun.org
The Creative Discovery Museum puts a smile on every young face and is the perfect mix of fun and learning with a variety of options available for holiday and birthday parties.
Cynthia Howell Stationery & Gifts – Pottery Painting Party – www.cynthiahowellonline.com – Make the memory live forever for a group of friends, designing and firing your own pottery keepsakes.
Sir Goony’s Family Fun Center – www.sirgoonys.com
Go-carts, arcade games, mini-golf and batting cages can all be added to birthday party packages at Sir Goony’s.
Hamilton Skate Place – www.hamiltonskate.com
The disco balls, skates, music and friends make Hamilton Skate Place a regular stop for lots of Chattanooga families (including ours!) and the party rooms and party plans can make everyone smile!
Middle schoolers, adolescents and teens will all enjoy the competition at Insane Paintball.
Learning Express Toys – www.chat.learningexpress-toys.com
Learning Express knows toys and is a great place to celebrate.
Noah’s Little Ark – www.noahslittleark.net
Noah’s Little Ark brings the zoo to you with entertaining and educational fun.
Partyville – www.mypartyville.com
Partyville is a great place for bouncy fun and a hassle-free party.
PinStrikes – www.pinstrikes1.com
Games, games and more games. Food, fun and lots of game options are available at this venue.
Pump It Up – www.pumpitupparty.com
Children travel from one inflatable-filled room to another before ending up in the party room, honoring the birthday child in an inflatable throne with cake and treats.
Raccoon Mountain Go Karts & Gem Panning – www.raccoonmountain.com
Go Karts, gem panning and arcade games can send thrills to children of all ages.
River City Pottery – www.rivercityparty.com
Paint your own pottery and make a memory that lasts a lifetime for your birthday party.
Rock City Gardens – www.seerockcity.com
Rock City Gardens offers a variety of party options for children and guests of all ages.
Rolling Video Games – www.rollingvideogames.com
The Rolling Video Games franchise offers fun on wheels. They come to you, they have a wide selection of games in this high-tech heaven and provide the perfect main event to parties for children and their parents (translate: Dads….)
Ruby Falls – www.rubyfalls.com
Visit Ruby Falls, celebrate underground and have a caving adventure that’s cool any time of year.
Scenic City Mini Golf – www.sceniccityminigolf.com
Expect fun and more at Scenic City Mini Golf in downtown Chattanooga. Open during the holidays this 18 hole miniature golf course partners with Blue Bell Ice Cream to offer fun and flavor!
Spa La Petite – www.spalapetite.com
Pampering is fun at this spa specializing in exciting, feminine parties.
Sugary Creations – www.sugarycreations.com
What about a gingerbread decorating party or a cupcake party in a fantastic venue? Signature sweets at Sugary Creations add to a lovely venue with reasonable prices and convenient hours.
Tennessee Academy of Gymnastics – www.taggym.com
Let your budding gymnast and their best buddies bounce, swing and balance in a safe and fun environment before retiring to the party room to celebrate the special one.
Tennessee Bouldering Authority – www.tbagym.com
Have a vertical celebration or book a lock-in party that is great for elementary students, middle schoolers and teens.
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum – www.tvrail.com
Trains, tunnels and engineers are the name of the game and Chattanooga’s railroad history comes alive at the TVRM’s birthday parties. The whole family will thrill to the sound of the whistle at these parties that are great for all times of the year.
The Little Gym – www.thelittlegym.com
Children of all ages are celebrated, challenged and engaged at The Little Gym of Chattanooga. The East Brainerd business is a must-visit for families exploring the connection between fine and gross motor skills in a fun environment and their parties create cravings for more tumbling, active fun.
TumbleBus – www.tumblebustots.com
This rolling party venue is a safe and fun place to celebrate with children of all ages and it can come to you, wherever you decide to be!
Urban Rocks Climbing Gym – www.urbanrocksgym.com
Urban Rocks offers a wide array of family options for fun, fitness and families.
Winner’s Circle Batting Cages - www.wcfamilyfun.com
Is your birthday bunny a baseball pro, laser tag fan or go-kart guy? WInner’s Circle offers a wide array of party options.
YMCA Chattanooga – www.ymcachattanooga.org
The YMCA offers a variety of party options at their Chattanooga area locations, including pool parties, children’s programming and more.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Assign other parents to help watch kids, monitor food, guide games and assist with activities.
Be clear in your invitations. Not all schools have directories but often class email chains can help you communicate with parents. Be clear about whether parents can drop children off without supervision or not and spell it out in the invitation, whether it’s in print, email, online, Facebook or as an evite.
Be flexible. Plan games and activities but be prepared to be flexible if the kids are having fun in their own way.
Look for balance. If you have something detailed planned like painting pottery make sure that you balance it with an activity that gets the kids running around and being active so they don’t get too antsy. If your main activity is an obstacle course and race make sure that you give the kids an opportunity to have down time and a creative activity.
Think about the time of day for your party and plan food accordingly. Even if it’s a party time that doesn’t call for a full meal make sure you have the basic food groups handy. Fruits, grains and vegetable will help you avoid the sugar rush and crash.
Your child’s birthday comes around at the same time every year. Think ahead and when you see a great sale on something that might be good for a party favor keep it in a special hiding place. You can pack a favor bag full with goodies gotten at 90% off seasonal sales.