August 31 was my daughter’s 7th birthday. Every year, her parties have been huge. We’ve invited everyone in her class, as well as every set of relatives we have, and the result is always chaos. Sometimes, we even do an entire weekend of parties, with one in Arlington for her friends and one in Austin for family only. After last year, in which we threw a weekend of parties and traveled to Austin and back in less than a day, and then took my final exam for my paralegal certification on that Monday, we were done with huge, elaborate weekend parties.
Simplicity is best.
I’d once read that you should keep the number of guests to your child’s age, so if your kid is turning seven, you should have seven guests. The problem we always had was limiting the guests to just a handful. We always invited the whole class, as well as Sunday school friends and family. But this year, Olivia shares a birthday with a little boy in her class. So we were already pretty evenly split, with Olivia’s male classmates opting for Matthew’s party while many of the girls went with Olivia’s party. And then, it was a holiday weekend, so some families were going out of town. And for the first time ever, we did not do a big whoop-de-do with family. We ended up with five guests altogether.
Family guilt aside–it was perfect!
As you might know, I am a Naturally Fun blogger with the City of Arlington, and I decided to give the Elzie Odom Center a try for Olivia’s party this year. She just learned how to skate this summer, and I thought it would be fun to have a good old-fashioned skate party. I’d also never booked a party at the Rec Center before, so I was eager to see what it was like.
The cost of the basic party package is $135, and that includes the cake, punch, decorations, goody bags, and skating for up to 10 guests. You are also assigned a party planner who handles the whole thing from start to finish. By the time we arrived, the party room was set up and the rink (which doubles as the basketball court, so it is HUGE) was ready to go. Our party planner got us all fitted out with skates and offered little rolly-walker thingies to the inexperienced skaters. I’d just like to go on record and say I had to learn to skate the old-fashioned way, by falling down a LOT. There were no walkers back in my day!
The rink at Elzie Odom is perfect for inexperienced skaters because it’s bright and well-lit, and they don’t blare the music or dim the lights–at least not for our party. We also had the place completely to ourselves, so we didn’t have to worry about being mown down by older, more experienced skaters. They also had the giant fans going, so it stayed cool and nice even as we worked up a sweat. I hadn’t skated since I was thirteen, so after falling once (yes it hurt and yes I laughed anyway–I had to set a good example for my seven year old after all!) I remembered to bend my knees and lean forward as I skated.
We got to skate for about an hour, then had a cake and presents break, and then another half hour of skating. It was really enjoyable to have a party with so few things going on. Skate, cake, skate. We weren’t trying to herd a bunch of kittens through a ton of activities–if your kid is like mine, she likes to do one thing that interests her and HATES transitions. If that’s the case, then a skate party at Elzie Odom might really work well for you too.
I really can’t say enough nice things about our experience at the Elzie Odom. Our party planner was so helpful and friendly, the skating was fun, and the party was just relaxed and low-key. I’d really recommend it for anyone seeking a party venue.
I guess Olivia said it all when she skated past me–walker and all–and hollered, “This is the BEST party EVER!”
You can learn more about the Naturally Fun program at the City of Arlington through the following media links:
Facebook – www.facebook.com/arlingtonparks
Twitter – www.twitter.com/arlington_parks
YouTube – www.youtube.com/NaturallyFunTV
Website – www.naturallyfun.org