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11 Unforgettable Spots for Outdoor Birthday Parties in Puget Sound

Pony rides, zip lines, kayaking and more fresh-air party fun

Published on: April 19, 2019

Farrel-McWhirter Pony Ride

During our beautiful Pacific Northwest summers, no one wants to be inside! If you are looking for an outdoor birthday venue, we’ve rounded up plenty of choices to fit any birthday kid’s style. Whether you want to interact with animals, ride a zip line, splash in a wading pool, kayak, sail a boat or just chill out at a park, we have the perfect outdoor party setting for you.

1. Farrel-McWhirter Farm Park, Redmond

This gem of a park in Redmond feels like it is out in the country, with wide-open spaces dotted with picnic tables and family-friendly trails. You can take your party guests on a fun and educational tour to see animals such as pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens and more. Guests will love an old-fashioned guided trail ride by horse or pony. After the fun activities, gather in the party room for photos, games, crafts and cake. Party packages are available year-round on Saturdays and Sundays.

Details: Two themed party packages are available — Wild, Wild West or Unicorn Fairytale Adventure. Each party for up to 20 kids is 3 hours long, costs $450 and includes an activity. You can choose a one-hour farm program: either pony rides (ages 2–7 years) or an animal farm tour (ages 0–12 years).

This package also includes gender-neutral decorations, goody bags and a themed craft activity. Bring your own food/cake to set up in their party room. The center provides utensils/plates, a table cover and napkins. 

2. Kelsey Creek Farm, Bellevue

Another fun Eastside experience, this Bellevue farm boasts a playground, trails and farm animals, as well as farm education programs. Kids can spend the first 45 minutes of a two-hour party interacting with and learning about animals such as a pony, sheep, rabbits, goats and chickens. After petting the animals and visiting the historic barn, children can make a farm craft or decorate cookies, depending on what theme you pick. After the activities, repair to the “Farm Room,” a farm-themed, heated classroom full of amenities such as a refrigerator, freezer and microwave.

Details: Birthday party bookings are available most weekends, year-round. $200/10 kids for Bellevue residents, $220/10 kids for non-residents. Additional children are $10 each. Total party size is limited to 30 people.

3. Moss Bay, Lake Union, Seattle

For a unique Seattle birthday party experience, take your guests kayaking on Lake Union! Moss Bay, a well-known water-sports center that also offers many camps for kids, offers two different instructional group tours that can make for a memorable party: The Kids Lazy Day Lake Tour ($25 per kid, minimum 10 guests) includes a 15-minute instructional kayak session followed by a 90-minute guided tour along the shoreline of the lake. After the adventure, head to nearby Lake Union Park for cake and presents, or smaller groups can gather at the picnic tables at the marina. 

Details Tours are available May–September, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

4. Canopy Tours Northwest, Camano Island

For an unforgettable zip-line adventure, book a Canopy Tours excursion on Camano Island. You’ll ride in a Unimog vehicle into a forested area and then whoosh along six zip lines (the longest is 660 feet). The package also includes two short trail walks and a final 47-foot rappel that is velocity-controlled for an easy descent. Participants must weigh between 65 and 300 pounds and be over 48 inches tall. Kids under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Pregnant women aren’t allowed to zip.

Details: The facility has tables and shade canopies for birthday cake and presents. And, bonus! The birthday kid gets a special gift from the tour guide. 

Awesome local parks that are perfect for celebrations

5. Mud Mountain Dam Park, Enumclaw 

Mud Mountain Dam is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flood-control dam and recreation center located on the White River. This hidden jewel of a park in Enumclaw has playgrounds, a wading pool with a huge fountain, hiking trails and lots of open space. Older kids will enjoy throwing a Frisbee or kicking a soccer ball, while the younger set will plash merrily in the wading pool and explore the playground. There is plenty of shade and lots of picnic tables to go with the beautiful views of the White River.

Details: Mud Mountain is open May 11–Sept. 2, daily from 9 a.m.–8 p.m. The wading pool is open from June through August. You can reserve a picnic shelter online May 1–Sept. 30. 

6. Grass Lawn Park, Redmond

Many reviewers call Grass Lawn Park the gold standard in parks for the entire Eastside. There is something for everyone here, from toddler to adults; with three playground areas, a spray pad and climbing rocks for all abilities, as well as baseball and soccer fields and tennis and basketball courts. Add the open areas, plentiful water fountains, picnic tables, public art and even a reservable dome-shaped shelter, and Grass Lawn Park has it all!

Details: You can reserve a picnic shelter online starting June 1–Sept. 30. (It's currently under renovation)

7. Gene Coulon Beach Park, Renton 

Located at the south end of Lake Washington, Gene Coulon Beach Park is the jewel of Renton. Take a dip in Lake Washington at the lifeguard-monitored beach swimming area, or stay dry and enjoy the great playground equipment. The park also offers a horseshoe pit, sand volleyball courts, tennis courts and a paved walking path along the lake. For a fun twist on the traditional party offering of pizza, treat your guests to fish ‘n’ chips at the Ivar’s or Kidd Valley concession stands.

Details: There is plenty of open space, and you can also reserve a picnic shelter online. They are available May 1–Sept. 30.

8. Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue 

Newcastle Beach Park is Bellevue's most popular beach park. Lifeguards are on duty for beach swimming on Lake Washington from June 22–September 2. There is also a colorful children’s play area, nature trails and a 300-foot dock. Reviewers say that the playground equipment is geared toward the 8-and-under set. The beach is sanded, so don’t forget to bring your sand toys! There are lots of grassy areas and picnic tables. Bring your bug spray, because water can mean mosquitoes!

Details: The three picnic areas and one shelter can be reserved; call 425-452-6194. 

9. Powell-Barnett Park, Seattle

Located in south Seattle, Powell-Barnett is also known as “castle park” because its restrooms are built to resemble castles. The playground has a plethora of fun equipment, with separate areas for older and younger kiddos so that a variety of ages can play peaceably. Equipment includes a huge web-like climbing structure in addition to the usual slides and swings.

Details: Come early to stake out a table at Powell-Barnett, because they can’t be reserved. 

10. Carkeek Park, Seattle

This 216-acre park in Northwest Seattle has it all: hiking trails, wetlands, meadows, forest, a bridge to a sandy beach with great tide pooling on minus-tide days, plus a playground with a famous salmon slide. Carkeek is perfect for kids who want to explore nature and parents who want to stay cool. You can also check out the fruit trees in Piper’s Orchard and walk the Piper’s Canyon Story Trail.

Details: There are plenty of grassy areas and picnic tables available for free, or you can rent one of the two covered shelters. Reservations are made via a lottery system online here; if you haven't applied before March 2019, you can still call (206) 684-4080 and check availability from April 1. 

11. Sammamish State Park, Seattle

Lake Sammamish State Park is a 531-acre park with a lot to boast about. It has a fabulous state-of-the-art playground, two lakefront beaches, kayak and paddle board rentals, plus beautiful hiking trails through forests and wetlands. Note: All guests will need a Discover Pass to enter the park. Three large covered picnic shelters are reservable online (or call 888-226-7688). The park also has a generosity of 475 unsheltered picnic tables, plus 80 barbecue grills on stands. 

Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated most recently for 2019.

Tips for a great park party

  • Double-check the park website a few days before your event to make sure everything is open for business as usual.
  • Go to the park early, at least an hour ahead of the party start time, and stake out a table if you didn’t reserve a shelter. Mark your spot with a plastic tablecloth or balloons. Bring a big blanket or two in case you end up on the grass.
  • Be sure to have a way to cover food so flies and other critters don’t join your party. If you’re packing perishables, bring enough ice and a cooler for safety.
  • Pack extra towels, bottled water, sunblock and bug spray because you know that someone will forget theirs.
  • Have a back-up plan in case of rain.

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