5 Ways to Outsource Your Kid’s Summertime Birthday Party

Parky’s Farm is a fully functional 100-plus acre farm at Winton Woods.

Photograph courtesy Parky's Farm

Anyone who has planned a birthday party for a four-year-old and 10 of her best daycare buddies knows this truth: You do not want that mess going down in your dining room. If you’re willing to drop some cash for a chill, turn-key event, then a professional party is the way to go.

1. Cincinnati Museum Center
Don’t be scared off by the construction; the Children’s Museum is still up and running. All-inclusive event packages are good for big parties: $200 for museum members (or $225 for non-members) gets you admission for 25 guests, decorations, and a themed birthday cake. All you have to do is show up and enjoy the air conditioning. If you go with the “Dance Party Package,” be sure to document the event for future blackmail. 1301 Western Ave., Queensgate, (513) 287-7021, cincymuseum.org

2. University of Cincinnati Campus Recreation Center
UC’s Campus Recreation Center isn’t just for students. The leisure pool, gymnasium, and climbing wall are all up for grabs in the birthday party packages on offer. $200 gets you two hours in the space, or upgrade to three hours for an extra $100. 2820 Bearcat Way, Clifton, (513)-556-0382, uc.edu/campusrec

3. The Red Balloon Cafe+Play
These folks live and breath kiddie parties, and they’ve got the idea down to a science. Prices range from $75 for an hour in the “studio” (which is a basic meeting room; it’s good for those 1st birthday parties) on up to $350 for the “deluxe plus party package,” which includes two hours in the playroom for a bunch of kids, plus decorations, snacks, a take-home craft, and coffee for the parents. Oh and that playroom? It features a custom-designed climbing structure and lots of segmented age-appropriate areas to keep everything safe and civilized. 6200 Montgomery Rd., Pleasant Ridge, (513) 620-8328, redballooncafe.com

The playroom at the Red Balloon Cafe+Play
The playroom at the Red Balloon Cafe+Play

Photo: staff


The cafe at The Red Balloon Cafe+Play
The cafeteria at The Red Balloon Cafe+Play. Anybody over the age of 30 will recognize that reclaimed parking sign, which was a nod to Kings Island’s former Happy Land of Hanna-Barbera.

Photo: staff

The cafe at The Red Balloon Cafe+Play
The front-room cafe at The Red Balloon Cafe+Play

Photo: Staff

4. Parky’s Wetland Adventure Wet Playground at Woodland Mound
This might be the best party deal on the list. At $9.50  per child, you can host a few of your kid’s besties and still have room in your budget for an ice cream cone or two. And this place is a summer fun wonderland: There’s a 16-foot water-spewing tree that doubles as a water slide. There are frogs, turtles, and a bright blue heron that shower the play area with rhythmic spritzes of cool water. There’s a totally legit snack bar. All good things. 8250 Old Kellogg Rd., Woodland Mound Park, (513)-474-2666, greatparks.org


Photograph courtesy Parky's Ark

Parky’s Farm

5. Parky’s Farm at Winton Woods
Parky’s Farm is a fully functional 100-plus acre farm at Winton Woods, ideal for troops of kids to wander and learn about animals and nature while celebrating a special someone’s birthday. For $12.50 per child, a pro party host or hostess takes everyone on a walking tour of the farm to pay a visit to the goats, ponies, chickens, and other farm animals. The rest of the time can be spent exploring Parky’s Playbarn, or one of the many other indoor and outdoor play areas available. If you can corral the kids away from play time for long enough, a private party room is available for the enjoyment of presents and birthday refreshments. 10073 Daly Rd., Winton Woods, (513)-521-3276, greatparks.org


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