Jacob’s 4th Birthday Party
The Beach House,
Cake baked or bought?: Baked
Number of children: 11 aged 3-5 and 7 between 5 and 18 months
Number of adults: 20
Total cost: approx $350
As this was the start of our first winter in Perth (which in all honestly was probably no different to the start of summer in the UK!) we were a little bit wary of arranging something outdoors. We therefore took the ‘easy option’ of booking Jacob’s party at an indoor play centre which we knew wouldn’t be affected by the weather. Having a mix of ages and needing something relatively central for families based both NOR and SOR we opted for the Beach House in Osborne Park, a favourite of a number of the Buggybuddys’ mums. The reason I describe it as the easy option is that it is a great option if you are short on time (and in some cases imagination!) as they take care of a lot of the arrangements for you.
There are 3 timeslots for parties on Saturdays: 9.30 – 11.00am, 12.00 – 1.30pm & 2.30 – 4.00pm. I found these times to a be a little bit difficult to fit around normal eating times and naps for the younger ones, so we opted for the 2.30pm slot. Whilst I was a little concerned that the venue might have been crowded on a weekend, I needn’t have worried and perhaps the later afternoon helped in that respect.There are 4 great themed rooms where the kids eat their party food which are separated off at the side of the play area. Jacob chose the ‘space’ room which then set the theme for the rest of the party. The room was decorated with a space mural and he loved sitting on the rocket chair at the head of the table.
Another great thing holding parties at indoor playcentres are the facilities that are available. There is a good little café within the Beach House which means the parents can grab coffee. A staff member is also assigned to your party to help coordinate.
The Beach House has a number of different party packages. The price which you pay is dependent upon the number of children attending, the ages of the children and whether the party is on a week day or weekend (it being $2 per child more for a weekend). Our party package was $21 per child.
Another good thing about holding your party at an indoor play centre is that the entertainment is already provided. The children played for around half an hour before they had their party tea and again between tea and the cutting of the birthday cake. Whilst the party was supposed to finish at 4.00pm, because we were the last party slot we were allowed to stay until the centre closed at 5.00pm and the play frame, bouncy castle and car track therefore kept the children busy. The only additional thing which would have been nice would have been if there had also been one or two party games which I have known to be included with parties at other play centres.
Given Jacob had
chosen a space theme we thought a space cake would fit the bill!
Whilst neither my husband nor I have any experience of cake
making we decided to make the cake ourselves. I viewed my
husband’s comment of ‘how hard can it be?’ with skepticism.
However, it was not as difficult as I first imagined. First I
found the inspiration for the design from pictures on the
internet. There are lots of sites where people have posted
pictures of cakes they have made which can give you lots of
ideas. Given the size of the cake I was worried about how I would
ensure that it baked properly in the centre. I therefore bought
two sponge slabs from Coles (around $5 each) which we then joined
together with butter icing and cut into the right shapes. We then
bought some fondant icing and food colourings to cover the
rocket, make the wing tips, windows and flames. Altogether the
cake cost less than $50 to make. It was a little messy but we had
fun doing it and for a first effort we were quite pleased with
the result. Thankfully Jacob was too! As an alternative, the
Beach House can arrange ice cream cakes to be provided for
The Beach House offers a number of different food options for each party package. We had a choice of 2 hot foods from chicken nuggets, cocktail hotdogs, party pies and sausage rolls. You also get bowls of crisps, marshmallows, fairy bread and fruit box drinks. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t some more healthy options so also bought a fruit platter for an additional $30.
You can obtain lolly
bags from the Beach House for $2 each. I thought this was a
little steep for a lolly and so I decided to arrange our own. The
themed party bags were bought from The Play Room and were filled
with a range of cheap toys from K-Mart, The Play Room and a
little shop in Freo market. These included power balls, bubbles,
small cars for the boys and little bracelets and rings for the
girls. I also stocked them with bags of jellies and lollies from
Crazy Clarks where party packs cost around $2.50.
Arranging a party at an indoor play centre certainly removed a lot of the planning and preparation that can go into hosting a party yourself and the play equipment and themed party rooms usually guarantee that he kids have a great time!
Planning a party? Check out the Buggybuddys Party Directory to find great birthday cake makers, party entertainers and venues amongst other things.