Summer birthdays offer families more party options than winter ones, with the vast outdoors accessible. Of course, summer weather can be as fickle as that of any other season, so it’s a good idea to plan a foul weather plan of action, whether that’s a substitute activity or an alternate party date. In the Washington, D.C., area, there are abundant choices for outdoor summer birthday activities. If a homespun party on the lawn is more your child’s style, living in an apartment needn’t forestall the outdoor celebration. There are plenty of public outdoor spaces for homespun parties.
Zip Through the Trees
For kids craving excitement, try a zip lining party at Go Ape. The regular course is for ages 10 and up, while a junior course is available for younger children who meet the minimum height and weight requirements. Using ziplines and tarzan swings, and rope ladders, kids explore the treetops, stopping at platforms to observe their surroundings. This year’s additions include a skateboard zipline. There are picnic areas adjacent to the course for setting up lunch and birthday cake.
Go Ape is located in Rock Creek Park at Lake Needwood.
Pontoon Boat Party
The Bladensburg Waterfront Park on the Anacostia River offers birthday parties that include use of a classroom space for the party itself plus a pontoon boat tour. The pontoon boat tour is conducted by a naturalist who points out wildlife, environmental issues, and tidbits of historical interest. Separate paddle boat and canoe rental is also available.
Tubing or Rafting at Harper’s Ferry
A little more than an hour’s drive, Harper’s Ferry is the place to go for tubing and rafting parties. The Harper’s Ferry Adventure Center offers various birthday party options for groups of 10 or more, for kids who can’t get enough of riding on the river. Birthday treats are available for purchase.
Other Outdoor Parties
Wheaton Regional Park is a favorite for younger kid birthday parties. High slides, a climbing mound and climbing wall, a carousel, a train, and a sandbox are some of the features that draw them in. Picnic tables can be reserved for $45 per hour on weekends or $25 per hour weekdays.
Friends of the National Zoo offers birthday parties for animal lovers. There’s an indoor space for eating and then, rain or shine, a naturalist takes children on a tour of chosen animal exhibits. The options include the Rainforest room party, which provides a tour of Amazonia, the great cats, great apes, and the American Trail’s sea lions, seals, beavers, wolves and bald eagles; and Otter’s Den and Bear’s Lair, both offering a tour of the Asia Trail, including the Giant Panda exhibit.