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 zipline, splash in a wading pool, kayak, sail a boat or just chill out at a park, we have the party idea for you. (Note: We can't begin to list all the amazing spots for outdoor-birthday parties. Post your favorites in the comments, and also see our fantastic birthday directory.)
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 animal such as pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens and more. Or experience a horse or pony ride in which guests will be led down a meandering forest trail for an old-fashioned trail ride. 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: A basic birthday package for up to 10 kids is $225, 11–20 kids: $325. This package includes a party sign, a couple of games, photo props and a choice of a farm tour or pony/horse ride. Bring your own food/cake to set up in their party room. Deluxe Birthday package include more options. The center provides themed goody bags, decor, utensils/plates, table cover, a craft and help with clean up.
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 will card wool from the farm’s own sheep by combing it to make it fluffy and then create a sheep craft. After the activities, retire 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. $160/15 guests for Bellevue residents, $175/15 guests for non residents.
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 Piggyback Tour ($25/ kid, minimum 10 guests) includes a 15-minute instructional kayak session followed by a 75-minute tour of the lake, where a tour leader will lead the group around Lake Union, hugging the shoreline. After the adventure, you could retire 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.
Ride the Ducks, Seattle
Ride the Ducks is a party that floats! Book a group tour on one of these unique vehicles, which starts as a bus and then turns into a boat to continue the trip on Lake Union. During the trip, the wacky tour captain keeps the crowd laughing and singing along to fun music. For a special occasion, you can reserve tickets for a group of 10 or more; even if you have less than ten people, the Duck staff will recognize your child’s birthday with a special crown and attention. Reserve your group early, as Ride the Ducks gets very busy in the summer (or wait until the off season). The Ducks' facilities are small, so you’ll have to retire to another venue or your home for cake and presents.
Details: Groups of 10 or more are charged by the person: Adults are $30, kids ages 3–12 are $18 and kids up to age 3, $1. Duck tours run year round. Another option is to charter a Duck for a private party; call 206-441-3825 for information.
Center for Wooden Boats, Lake Union, Seattle
What kid wouldn't like to rent a pirate pond boat to sail on his or her birthday? Located in hopping Lake Union Park, the Center for Wooden Boats offers pond-boat parties for groups of six or more. The 39-inch boats are exact replicas of the R-Boat the Pirate, which you can see on exhibit in the docks at south Lake Union. The Center's pond-boat party package includes 39-inch wooden pond boats for 12 kids and sailing instruction for up to two hours.
Details: A party package costs $175 for up to 24 participants. You get a table and tent for your two-hour time slot. If you use up your two hours sailing, you can enjoy your cake and presents at Lake Union Park, which also boats fountains and bike paths (note: there is very little shade). Parties are available weekends, May–October and the first Thursday of every month.
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 ziplines (the longest is 660 feet). The package also includes two short trail walks, a log bridge and a final 47-foot rappel that is velocity controlled for an easy descent. Participants must weigh between 65 and 300 pounds and 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.
Adventure Playground, Mercer Island
This one-of-a-kind program operates throughout the summer on select days of the week in the forested area of Deane’s Childrens’ Park on Mercer Island. Kids are given toolboxes, building supplies and the freedom to create their own play space, with some safety instruction.
Details: Private parties at Adventure Playground are available; the package includes a staff member who will pass out toolboxes and monitor the area and also includes the building equipment. You can invite up to 50 kids for two hours or more. The staff member guides — but does not supervise — so a few parents should stay at the party. Note: While party spots may be sold out for this year, there's always next year. Call 206-275-7862 for more information.
Plus, 6 parks that are perfect for celebrations
Mud Mountain Dam Park, Enumclaw
Mud Mountain Dam is a US 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 love the wading pool and 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 from May 16–Sept. 2, daily from 9 a.m.–8 p.m. The wading pool opens from July through August.
Grass Lawn Park, Redmond
Many reviewers call Grass Lawn Park the gold standard in parks for the entire East Side. There is something for everyone here from toddler to adults; with three playground areas, a spray pad, and climbing rocks for all abilities. In addition, there are baseball and soccer fields as well as 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 from April 1-Sept. 30.
Gene Coulon Beach Park, Renton
Located at the south end of Lake Washington, Gene Coulon Beach Park is a huge beach park that is the jewel of Renton. Take a dip in Lake Washington at the lifeguarded 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.
Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue
Newcastle Beach Park is Bellevue's largest beach park. Lifeguards are on duty for beach swimming on Lake Washington from late June through Labor Day. There is also a colorful children’s play area, nature trails and a 300-foot dock. Reviewers say the the playground equipment is geared toward the 8-and-under set. The beach is sanded, so don’t forget the sand toys. There are lots of grassy areas and picnic tables. Bring your bug spray, because water can mean mosquitos!
Details: The three picnic areas and one shelter can be reserved; call 425-452-6194.
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. 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.
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 is plenty of grassy area and picnic tables are available for free, or you can rent one of the two covered shelters for $100–$160. Shelter reservations available here.
Tips for a great park party
- Doublecheck the park website a few days before 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.