Atlanta Parent Magazineâ€™s
Voted BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY!
2016 & 2017
Find FAMILY out FUN why... WINNER Atlanta Parent’s
BEST OF 2O17
Get 20% oﬀ when you use this link to book your party.
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Online Invites Ordering or designing initiations online can save time and money.
n Minted.com and Snapfish. com: Customize birthday invitations by adding photos and details about the party. Some are more fancy depending on design, but most can be fairly low cost, especially if you sign up for their emails. Coupons and discount codes are sent frequently. n Paperlesspost.com: Choose from tons of trendy online cards without the cost of printing. Sign up, choose a design and send out via email. n Evite.com: Choose from hundreds of designs to match the birthday party theme, personalize and collect email addresses. Link gift options and then send via email to the guests. A new feature includes being able to send an invite via text message. n Facebook: Skip the invitation altogether and create a Facebook group for your child’s birthday party. Invite each child’s parent to join and include details for the party in the description. After the party, the group is a quick way to share photos. n Printables: Tons of free and low-cost printable invitations can be found on etsy.com, pinterest.com and greetingsisland.com among others. Customize the design templates on your computer, print out and send.
Twice the fun. Half the hassle. Consider holding a joint birthday party with one of your child’s friends or a sibling (if both love the idea).
by Teresa Farkas, Amanda Miller Allen and Dalia Faupel
Here are Atlanta Parent’s tips, ideas and strategies to help make your birthday party planning a breeze.
Don’t Break the Bank
Don’t invite your child’s whole class – limit the party to fewer than 10 friends. Skip party favors or limit them to one small toy, bubbles and a piece of candy per child. Or make a take-home craft at the party. Visit a discount or dollar store for plates, cups, forks, napkins, candles, balloons and more. For character-themed parties, just buy stickers to decorate the plates and cups. Cont’d on page 18
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Theme Parties, More or Less
Pick your theme and splurge on the party or do it on a budget with these ideas:
n Splurge: Buy tickets in advance to LEGOLAND Discovery Center in Atlanta for a small group starting at $12.50 per child (more if you get a LEGO collectable) or book a party for up to 40 guests for about $600. atlanta.legolanddiscoverycenter.com n Spend Less: Host a LEGO-themed party at home and let kids work on a group project or make an individual creation to take home, see who can build the tallest tower or guess how many LEGOs are in a big jar (winner gets the LEGO jar).
n Splurge: Tickets to the Center for Puppetry Arts to see a production, visit the museum and do a Create-a-Puppet Workshop are about $20 per child; party packages start at about $240 for 10 tickets (annual membership fee required). puppet.org n Spend Less: At a puppet-themed home party, kids could do a craft to make their own hand puppets out of socks, then put together a show on a cardboard box stage.
n Splurge: Atlanta has fun and elegant tea party sites for kids, including Tea Leaves & Thyme in Woodstock. Kids can dress up using the restaurant’s vintage clothing items before enjoying a formal tea with real china and silverware ($12-$22 per child). tealeavesandthyme.com
n Splurge: Take up to 12 kids and adults to the Chattahoochee Nature Center for a close encounter with critters, starting at $255 chattnaturecenter.org n Spend Less: Hold the party in your own backyard with nature scavenger hunts, nature-themed crafts and more.
n Spend Less: Set an elegant table and hold the tea party at home, using fine china, cloth napkins and a grown-up centerpiece. Get even fancier and use your silver tea service, or borrow one from a friend.
n Splurge: Take a group of girls to American Girl at North Point Mall for a deluxe party in the private dining room (about $50 per girl) or make reservations for a regularly scheduled WelliWishers tea party (about $15 per girl) or a group luncheon. americangirl.com n Spend Less: Plan a doll party at home with fun activities and ask girls to bring their dolls. Look for some ideas on pinterest.com, make a bear for the doll with craft foam and glue or a bead ID bracelet.
n Splurge: Take your child’s closest friends to an Atlanta United soccer game or a Braves game. Feast on treats at the venues and let the birthday kid pick out a new T-shirt. n Spend Less: Host a soccer, football, volleyball or kickball game at a nearby park or in the backyard. Have sport-themed foods and favors for guests.
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GLOW Have Some Fun!
Kids and teens alike will love having a glow-in-the-dark party, think glow sticks, lots of neon and black lights.
Purchase large rolls of black craft paper (enough to cover walls or a photo area) and neon paint. Paint words, patterns or splatter paint with different colors. When dry, hang on the wall. Purchase lots of black lights for the party, this way everyone and everything will glow. Stick glow sticks inside of balloons for a colorful decoration.
Tonic water can be added to punch, juice or lemonade to glow under black light. Adding crushed Vitamin B2 tablets makes most foods glow. White foods reflect black light, such as marshmallows, vanilla ice cream or tortilla chips.
Fill empty water bottles with glow sticks, turn off the lights and bowl in the dark. Use circular-shaped glow sticks and play ring toss around a post. Play glow tag: Give each person a glow-in-the-dark necklace. Give the person who is “it” a glow necklace in a different color. When a player has been tagged, he is out.
Make glow slime by mixing psyllium husks (found in the health foods aisle), water and Vitamin B2 tablets. Once mixed, this will glow under a blacklight and feel like slime (without the sticky part). Cont’d on page 20
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Clowning4You is your one stop shop for event entertainment.
Let Them Eat Cake Parents are always looking for ways to make their child’s birthday cake stand out. Here are some local bakeries that can help.
Baker’s Man Inc.
Chef and owner, Mark Brickman, says that making cakes is no longer just placing a picture on the top; everything is 3D and brought up a notch. They can build just about anything out of cake such as monsters or Hello Kitty. Alpharetta. 770-664-9669; bakersmaninc.com
Cakes by Darcy We provide DJs, face painters, balloonist, clowns, costume characters, wait staff, event sitters, singing telegrams, lawn displays, magicians and more...
Owner Darcy decorates each cake by hand with the help of her team. Her cakes are realistic and colorfully decorated. Popular designs include LEGO cakes or Shopkins. Roswell. 770-993-2253; cakesbydarcy.com
Magic Abounds on the Malaya Express Watch the Locomotive “steam” around your event! A friendly M&R Engineer & Conductor is your guide to fun! Our Trackless Train holds up to 12-18 guests in our three passenger cars. • Birthday Parties • Grand Openings • Festivals/Fairs • Company Picnics/Parties • Family Reunions • and More!
Cake artist and co-owner, Maggie Sweeney says they continue to see popularity in Disney characters such as Minions and Frozen. The Bakery uses all-natural and organic sugars, flours and fruits in their cakes. Atlanta. 678-760-6300; cakehag.com
Apple Butter Bakery
Apple Butter Bakery cake designer and co-owner, Shellane Brown, says most parents go all out for first birthday parties then choose more simple designs as their kids get older. Popular kid designs include Elmo and cakes with the theme of the party location. Stone Mountain. 678-476-0902; applebutterbakery.com
M&R Trackless Trains are available throughout metro-Atlanta
The Choo Choo That Comes to You!
Period. Visit us at www.laservoyage.com
or call us at 678-514-3430 1866 Buford Hwy NW • Duluth 30097
Baker’s Man Inc.
Cakes by Darcy
n Piece of Cake: Nine Atlanta locations. 800-922-5390; pieceofcakeinc.com n Mae’s Bakery: Atlanta. 404-565-0938; maesbakeryatl.com n Henri’s Bakery & Café: Atlanta (Buckhead), 404-237-0202, Atlanta (Westside) 404-968-9412 and Sandy Springs, 404-256-7934. henrisbakery.com n Sweet Hut Bakery and Café: Five Atlanta locations. sweethutbakery.com n Sugar Benders Café & Bakery: Marietta. 678-402-8588; sugarbenderscakes.com
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Let Them Eat (No) Cake Who says a traditional cake has to be the birthday centerpiece? n Create a donut cake or a donut holes tower, or stack Oreos for a lighter bite. Use examples at pinterest.com for inspiration. n Arrange multi-colored cupcakes like balloons on a large serving dish, then add strings and a bow (or arrange as a number corresponding to the child’s age). n Build a brownie tower (make the treats or buy them), and decorate with candles and berries. See howdoesshe.com for a pretty example. n Make cake kabobs by putting cubes of sheet cake on a skewer and layering with frosting, then drizzle with frosting or top with sprinkles. n Make cone cupcakes, using flat-bottomed ice cream cones. (Find an easy recipe and instructions at bettycrocker.com or use bakery cupcakes; a frosting demo is at tastemade.com.)
Pair any not-acake idea with pre-scooped ice cream – put scoops in a muffin tin with cupcake liners and freeze for easy serving. Cont’d on page 25 bettycrocker.com
3520 Gravel Springs Road, Buford, GA 30519
(678) 324-9590 • buford.rockinjump.com 8 Atlanta Parent March 2018
Birthday Party Resource Guide CHATTAHOOCHEE NATURE CENTER
chattnaturecenter.org Make memories and enjoy your child’s special day – while CNC takes care of all the work! Parties include admission, exclusive time with a CNC naturalist, and special activities. Four party packages from which to choose. Options include exploring the woods, getting up-close with non-releasable wildlife, discovering the stars in the STARLAB, or exploring the Discovery Center and Nature Exchange. All parties include a choice of an encounter with a non-releasable animal plus all the party fixings. 770-992-2055 ext. 237, 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell.
CHILDREN’S MUSEUM OF ATLANTA
childrensmuseumatlanta.org A party at Children’s Museum of Atlanta is the perfect way to celebrate your child and provide a fun and memorable experience for your guests. Basic, Deluxe, and Ultimate Party Packages are available. Packages include lunch tables or private party room, party host, make-and-take science or art activity, and fun and exploration on the Museum’s interactive exhibit floor. Recommended for children ages 2 - 7. Discounts available for Museum Members.
SOUTHEASTERN RAILWAY MUSEUM southeasternrailwaymuseum.org
Train-loving children will have an unforgettable party in an authentic railcar! Southeastern Railway Museum offers railcars and other spaces to celebrate parties and special occasions to excite train lovers of all ages. Explore all that Georgia’s Official Transportation History Museum has to offer, complete with full scale and model train displays, antique cars, historic depot displays, taxi cabs, tractors and more. Children can even get an inside look at a new theme of transportation each month with police vehicles, cabooses, construction vehicles and more. 770-476-2013. 3595 Buford Highway, Duluth
TREETOP QUEST treetopquest.com
Plan your children’s adventurous birthday party at our Treetop Obstacle Course and Ziplining in Dunwoody or Gwinnett! From ages 4 and up, this outdoor recreational activity is different from other birthday party places! Tight ropes, rope swings, slides, net bridges and zip-lines for older kids … just outdoor fun! Birthday parties are complete with goody bags and exciting add-on activities at each of our locations! Dunwoody 770-365-0356 firstname.lastname@example.org Gwinnett 404-277-6113 email@example.com 10 Atlanta Parent March 2018
v minigolf v football v soccer v basketball v air cannons v glow-in-the-dark inflatables v lighted interactive game floor Party Rooms with glow & regular lighting
6527 JIMMY CARTER BLVD. NORCROSS v 770-368-3008
Open Play Times (See website for times)
March 2018 Atlanta Parent 11
Let’s Party! Are you In or Out?
Go low tech with some high energy indoor and outdoor party games for kids. With many ways to customize to your theme, these games are winners for toddlers to practically teens.
Let us entertain you with puppets, music, storytelling and audience participation. Birthday child always gets a puppet! Puppet making workshops available
Blow up an equal number of balloons in two colors. Tie a ribbon around the end of each balloon and fasten the ribbon around each kid’s ankle. The balloon color indicates which team each guest is on. Start a timer for five minutes, during which kids try to stomp the opposing teams’ balloons. The winning team pops the most balloons.
Create BINGO cards based on things you know about guests. For example, one square might be, find someone who owns a pet bird. Or, find someone who has traveled outside of the U.S. This is an especially good game when all the guests don’t know each other. Set a timer for enough time for the kids to mingle, based on how many participants are there. When a player finds someone who completes a square, they ask them to sign their name in it. The first one to black out their card is the winner.
Tell the kids to dress for messy fun and bring a dry change of clothes. Lay out rolls of craft paper or poster board in your driveway or other flat area outside. Pour non-toxic paint into disposable pans, large enough to stand in. Play your birthday kid’s favorite upbeat tunes and let the kids create a masterpiece as they dance, jump, or walk across the paper with paint-dipped feet! Some kids may want to dip hands as well and crawl or crab walk across the canvas. Use a garden hose for clean up! After it dries, the artwork can be divided into pieces as party favors. The birthday child keeps the rest as a memento.
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Divide kids into groups (size of groups depends on number of guests) in random fashion to create equal teams. Each team receives an envelope of identical support items, like rubber bands, tape, kid scissors and/or glue dots. Have a large bin or two of recyclable items like cardboard towel rolls, cereal boxes, paper bags, magazines and yogurt cups. Each group chooses three recyclable items and, as a team, they decide what invention they’ll create. Give a 15-minute time limit so no one gets bored. Then, have each team present their inventions to the whole party.
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Party Planner Whether you’re planning a birthday bash for 20 kids or a block party for 100, our Party Planner is your ultimate resource for finding entertainers, party places and everything you need to plan your event. Listings provided by advertisers
Entertainers / Mobile Party Services Auntie Renee Storyteller Auntiereneestoryteller.com Party entertainment for boys and girls. Includes storytelling, puppet shows, games, face painting, arts and crafts. 770-402-0564. Clowning 4 You clowning4you.com The one-stop shop for event entertainment. Clowning 4 You provides djs, face painters, balloonists, clowns, costume characters, wait staff, event sitters, singing telegrams, lawn displays, magicians and more. 678-646-9741. Dream Friends Entertainment dreamfriendsentertainment.com Costumed characters, live and themed entertainment for private and corporate events. All the family favorites. Local in Atlanta with 16 years in business. Over 200 party options. 404-319-0180. Fun-O-Rama Parties funoramaparties.com Themed décor, balloon decorations, photobooth, rentals, face painting, balloon art, costumed characters & more- Pricing starts at $100. 770-572-1737. Jason’s Music Party jasonsmusicparty.com A birthday concert for children! Interactive, live musical entertainment. Ages 1-7. $150 and up. 678-708-2321. M&R Trackless Trains Choochoo2u.com Watch the Locomotive “steam” around your event! M&R Trackless Train always comes standard with a working Railroad “Crossbucks” that make noise and light up as the train approaches! The Trackless Train holds 12-18 guests in three passenger cars. Available throughout metro Atlanta. 678-526-4045. Piccadilly Puppets piccadillypuppets.org Choose between several interactive puppet shows with stories and music. The birthday child receives a puppet. Make-a puppet activity also available. Ages 2-10. $180 and up. 404-636-0022.
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Sam’s Path Mobile Petting Zoo samspathpettingzoo.com The petting zoo can come to you! Monkey, kangaroo, zebra, camel, lemur and farm animals. Camel and pony rides. $250 and up. 706-717-8837.
Adventure Air Sports adventureairsports.com Have an epic birthday adventure at Atlanta’s only state-of-the-art, extreme trampoline park – featuring a 38,000 square foot center for entertainment. One and two-hour packages include access to the largest Ninja Course in the state, pizza, party table time, a personal Adventure Party Host, and more! Prices start at $279. 425 Ernest Barrett Pkwy., Kennesaw. 678-384-2020.
College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience cfbhall.com Put your next birthday party in the Hall of Fame! Celebrate Hall of Fame style with 95,000 square feet of interactive fun including a 45-yard indoor football field! Multiple packages available including the guest of honor’s name on the video board and more! Book today! Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-880-4841.
Bouqcakes Bed and Breakfast bouqcakes.com An all-new party test kitchen featuring ovens, grocery store, decorating station, custom hats and aprons, an overnight bed & breakfast loft and more! 1825 Rockbridge Rd. SW, Stone Mountain. 770-240-1002.
Circus Camp circuscamp.org Jump, twirl, spin and swing! Circus parties with aerial trapeze training and more. Other circus arts available. Ages 5 and up. 404-370-0001.
Center for Puppetry Arts puppet.org For Center Members at the Family level and above only. Includes 10 tickets to a performance, priority seating, birthday announcement before performance, party room for one hour, crown, and use of throne for birthday child. Packages starting at $240.50 with the opportunity to purchase additional tickets, add a workshop or Museum tour, and buy fun hand puppets and invitations! Limited free on-site parking. 1404 Spring St. NW, Atlanta. 404-881-5149. Chattahoochee Nature Center chattnaturecenter.org Includes a guided hike, nature activities, live animal encounter, refreshments, party favors and use of a party room. $250 and up covers 12 participants. 9135 Willeo Rd., Roswell. 770-992-2055, ext. 237. Children’s Museum of Atlanta childrensmuseumatlanta.org A party at Children’s Museum of Atlanta is the perfect way to celebrate your child and provide a fun and memorable experience for your guests. Packages include private party room, party host, make-and-take science or art activity, and fun and exploration on the Museum’s interactive exhibit floor. Discounts available for Museum Members. 275 Centennial Park Dr., Atlanta.
Glow Galaxy glowgalaxy.com Have an awesome party in one of two glowin-the dark play arenas with sports court and mini-golf course. $200 and up. 6527-D Jimmy Carter Blvd., Norcross. 770-368-3008. Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Gwinnettparks.com Various facilities available to rent for birthday parties, team celebrations, class parties, pools, gymnasiums, pavilions, community rooms. 770822-8840. iFLY Atlanta iflyworld.com Birthdays with iFLY Atlanta are the thrill of a lifetime for everyone in attendance! Grab friends and family and learn to fly in a state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnel assisted by one of the specially trained flight instructors, then host an after-flight party in a decorated private event space. Customizable packages for groups 6+. Flying ages 3-103! Contact Dconnor@iflyworld. com to book your next party! Laser Voyage Café laservoyage.com Duluth’s Most Unique Laser Tag Arena. Great Pizza and Wings, arcade and weekly specials. 1866 Buford Hwy., Duluth. 678-514-3430. Continued on page 28
Party Planner Linda’s Riding School lindasridingschool.com Linda’s provides a unique setting for birthday parties or any special function. Party at our place or yours. One-hour parties include a demonstration for 15 minutes and ring-riding for 45 minutes. 770-922-0184. Main Event Entertainment mainevent.com There’s no birthday like a Main Event Birthday! Voted BEST Birthday Party by Moms. Main Event Entertainment birthdays are Easy for Moms, Epic for Kids. They handle all the details including invitations, set up, and clean up. Just bring the cake and the kids. Packages starting at $15.95/person. Birthday Parties can be booked online at mainevent. com or call the Main Event location of choice. Atlanta: 770-955-0717, Alpharetta: 770-5219100, Suwanee: 770-945-7111. The Man Cave mancaveatl.com Atlanta’s newest 5,000 sq. ft. facility for boys and men featuring a 16+ flavor ice cream bar, the Hunting Grounds, Fishing and Canoeing, the Rock Climbing Wall, Arcade, Basketball Court, Campfire Cookout, Game Zone, and over 200+ games and activities. 844-729-7465.
Pink Hotel pinkhotelatl.com Pink Hotel offers multiple party packages featuring a spa, tea party buffet, hair and makeup sessions, a nail salon, sleepover loft, and more. Over 10,000 sqft of premium party space. Packages start at $349. 1825 Rockbridge Road SW, Stone Mountain. 470-336-7687. Rockin’ Jump Trampoline Park buford.rockinjump.com Level up birthday parties with activities that take it up several notches! Rockin’ Jump offers a truly unique party experience with an amazing indoor trampoline park facility full of exciting attractions where party goers will have a blast. Multiple packages including jump time, pizza, drinks and more! Book today! 678-324-9590. SS Airsoft ssairsoft.com Reserve a military-themed, replica bomb shelter for an Airsoft or Nerf Party! SS Airsoft offers up to 25 different types of battle games. Have the best birthday ever! 4729 Nelson Brogdon Blvd., Sugar Hill. 678-714-6001.
Southeastern Railway Museum southeasternrailwaymuseum.org Parties in restored rail cars or outdoor pavilion. Party packages for 10 guests start at $185. Train rides also available. 3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth. 770-476-2013. Stars and Strikes starsandstrikes.com Bowling, arcade, laser tag, bumper cars and extreme party packages for kids and teens. Party host, pizza/soda, invitations included. All birthday kids get entry into FUN MACHINE! $189.90 and up. Cumming, Lawrenceville, Dallas, Stone Mountain, Sandy Springs, Woodstock, Loganville, Buford/Mall of Georgia. 678-965-5707. Tiny Towne Drive Safely tinytowne.com Indoor Park for aspiring drivers, ages 3-15. Learn the rules of the road, drive, ride, play, eat and party! Private party room and packages. Packages are $249 and up. 2055 Beaver Ruin Rd., Norcross. 470-265-6665. Treetop Quest treetopquest.com Family-friendly treetop obstacle course and zip lines for kids starting at 4 years old! Tight-ropes, rope swings, slides, net bridges and more. Birthday parties are complete with goody bags and exciting add-on activities at each location! Buford: 404-2776113 and Dunwoody: 770-365-0356.
fUN-O-RAMA PARTIES Full Service Themed Parties
Inflatables & Party Rentals • Face Painting Creative Balloon Art • Characters & Mascots Puppets, Magic & MORE!
Linda’sRidingSchool Love Horses?
Linda'sprovidesauniquesettingforbirthdayparties oranyspecialfunction.Activitiesincluderingriding. One-hour parties includes a demonstration for 15 minutes and ring-riding for 45 minutes.
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March 2018 Atlanta Parent 15
Rockin’ Jump Trampoline Park
Tumble Bus tumblebusatlanta.com Acrobats and gymnasts...Our gym comes to you! Rock climbing walls, trampoline, monkey bars and more. Ages 2-6. 770-529-5771. Tumbletots Preschool & Birthday Parties funttots.com Private parties with indoor playground, moonwalk, theme cake, crafts, tattoos, story time, balloons and gift bags. Ages 1-6. $225$260. 770-729-9660. Vinings School of Art Children can design a unique 3D sculpture, canvas painting, or work with clay. $215-265. Smyrna. 678-213-4278. WildeWood Farm Wildewoodfarm.com Birthday parties for kids 5+. Short lesson and guided trail ride in 2 hrs. Closed Sundays. 9533 Old Preserve Trail, Ball Ground, GA (Forsyth county). Facebook and 770-843-2478. Wildfire Paintball wildfirepaintball.com Low-impact paintball parties include 100 paintballs, admission, mask, gun, loader and CO2 tank. Kids as young as 6 years old can have a blast. $168 and up. Conyers: 770-8170521 and Snellville: 770-982-8180. Zoo Atlanta zooatlanta.org Be a party animal! Celebrate birthday parties at Zoo Atlanta. Includes 90-minute pavilion rental, admission and catering for 16 guests. Additional entertainment options available. $475+tax. Contact specialevents@zooatlanta. org or 404-624-5650.
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are a wonderful way to experience a working farm and gives children a “hands on,” close up encounter with farm animals. Your child will be thrilled with this unique party. Just provide all party decorations and food. • Saturdays are very busy, book your date well in advance • Closed on Sundays • Parties are set on 2 hour interval • Large covered area with picnic tables under the arena • Outdoor picnic area • Play set and toys for all • $275 base price for up to 8 riders. Each additional rider is $25
TUMBLE TOTS Preschool & Parties
PRIVATE BIRTHDAY PARTIES Ages1-7
Art Music ER CAMP SUMM Spalding@Holcomb Bridge
Norcross • www.funttots.com
FUN INDOOR PLAYGROUND atlantaparent.com