Besides being last in his class to drink legally, probably the worst part of Logan’s December’s birthday is it makes the month even busier than before.
This year, I am focusing on trying to live a simpler, healthier and happier life. To help achieve this and to make December a little less crazy, I convinced Logan to have a half-birthday party.
It wasn’t hard to convince him- presents in the summer? He was excited! Of course, I’m not convinced he knows there will not be a party in six months.
But as soon as I got his buy-in, I moved on to planning.
The first thing I did was research party ideas. Because every party we have had has been inside (and expensive) I wanted something outside that wouldn’t break the bank.
I looked at renting a space at a splash pad, having an outdoor theatre set up at home and local water parks. Finally, we found a unique eco-adventure option at Apps Mill, a local conversation area.
Apps Mill Nature Centre is part of the Grand River Conservation Authority. It’s a beautiful location for family hikes, and if you grew up around here, you probably visited at least once a year on a class trip.
Logan loves Apps Mill and regularly asks to go here so I knew he would be thrilled with this place and the party idea.
There are many different options, and I chose with the eco-adventure called Fins, Fish, and other Creatures. It included net fishing in the river, something I knew would be a hit with the 5-7 years olds who would attend.
We picked a Saturday afternoon in July, and we were lucky enough to have incredible weather (just as an FYI the parties are rain or shine so come prepared)!
To begin, the kids gathered in the Apps Mill Nature Centre and met some little critters. The turtles and snakes were a hit and the kids were happy to sit for about a half an hour and learn about the animals living in the river.
Once fishing was over, the group headed back the Nature Centre where our guide started an outdoor fire, and the kids roasted hot dogs and smores. This activity was an add-on to the party I highly recommend (it’s $50 more and makes the party three hours instead of two).
At the end of the party, besides gathering our cook-out garbage and handing out the nerf water-guns (instead of grab bags), all we had to do was take home some tired children who had a fantastic, active afternoon outdoors.
If you have a birthday party to plan (and are in the area) be sure to check out the GRCA website for all the options. You won’t be disappointed, and you will be offering a unique outdoor adventure, instead of the run of the mill indoor playground we all love to hate (let me be clear the kids love the playground).
If you are not in the area, check out your local conservation area to see if they host parties.
The half birthday party was a success! We are already planning next year’s adventure.
Even if there are a few tears in December, I’m taking it as a win.
p.s. Here are a few more shots for the afternoon!