Summer birthday parties are a breeze: bouncy castles, amusement parks, pool parties and splash pads make it easy to keep groups of littles entertained. And in winter, it’s all about skating, tobogganing or huddling inside with hot chocolate and pin the tail on the reindeer. That’s a thing, right?
But fall is a little trickier. For one thing, a late-October day could be 15 degrees and sunny, or it could snow. And pumpkin patches, while fun for an hour, probably aren’t going to hold the attention of a dozen little ones amped on sugar. But don’t worry, there are still lots of ways to incorporate fall fun into your child’s celebration. Here’s how:
Brooks Farm – Open until October 28
If train rides, pumpkin cannon shows, singing chickens, pig races and zip lines are right up your birthday kid’s alley, Brook’s Farm in Mount Albert offers two-hour fall party packages that include access to all farm activities, limited food, party room, and a dedicated coordinator to oversee your event. Fall Festival Parties can be booked for weekends in September and October and start at $299 + hst for eight kids and two adults. Each additional child is $13.50 + hst and adults are $11.50 + hst. No outside food, except the birthday cake, is permitted.
Captive Kids Escape Room – Open Year Round
Captive Kids is the first escape room created specifically for kids and families. Experiences are safe, challenging, fun, and best tackled with friends. Party packages at the Vaughan, Oakville and Waterloo locations include access to the Halloween-themed Mr. Moody’s Ghost experience or Pieces of Eight, where participants must escape Blackbeard’s sinking ship. Birthday experiences include a 60-minute escape room adventure, 60 minutes in the party room, a dedicated guide, pizza, juice or water, plates, napkins, utensils and printed invitations. Price is $40 per child with a required minimum of six kids. Two adults play for free.
Centreville – Open until September 30
Centreville Theme Park at Centre Island features more than 30 rides and attractions including an antique carousel, Twirling Tea Cups, Bumper Boats and Ferris Wheel. Just make sure you do all this BEFORE they eat. And getting there on the Centre Island ferry from downtown Toronto is half the fun! Outdoor party packages for ten guests start at $495 and include park passes, lunch, a decorated tent space, loot bags and birthday cake. Additional guests are $30 each to a maximum of 15 guests. Ferry tickets are extra.
Cineplex Saturday Morning Movies – September 15, 22 and 29
If you need a last-minute idea but don’t want to pay last-minute prices, or risk the weather, Cineplex is showing kid-friendly movies on Saturday mornings at 11:00 a.m. for just $2.99 per person. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Show Dogs and Wonder are playing this month at these participating theatre locations. Call to inquire about party package options.
Chudleigh’s Apple Farm –Weekends through October 31
A custom birthday party at the pick-your-own apple farm in Milton includes a private tractor ride through the orchard, animal feeding, a delicious farm fresh lunch amongst the trees and, of course, apple picking. Oh and don’t forget about the coupon for two boxes of delicious baked Apple Blossoms, which is pretty much worth the price of admission! Parties are $300 for eight children with two complimentary adult admissions and each additional child is $20.
Elite Basketball Training Centre – Open year-round
Perfect for little ballers who can’t wait for the NBA season to start (and for kids with energy to burn!) birthday parties at the Elite Basketball Training Centre in North Toronto include 90 minutes on the court and 30 minutes in the party room. Recommended for ages 7 and up, EBTC parties start at $400 and include two coaches and access for 16 athletes. Parents must provide all food, beverage, cups utensils and party supplies.
Lionel’s Farm – Open until September 30
Located north of Toronto in Markham, Lionel’s is a family-run petting farm offering two-hour birthday parties for groups of up to 20. Party activities include pony rides, access to the petting zoo with more than 75 animals, indoor play area and a covered eating area. Guests can bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages. Prices start at $350 including tax. A wagon/sleigh/pony ride experience can also be arranged for an additional cost.
Pirate Life – Sailing weekends until October 8
Your kids could stay home and play pin the feathers on the turkey OR they could search for sunken treasure on the high seas. Pirate Life parties sail from downtown Toronto, are 90 minutes long and include a special birthday song and dance for the guest of honour, costumes, face paint, pirate names, access to the on-board BBQ facilities and loot bags (for an additional $5 per person). Packages start at $258 for ten people (two of whom must be adults). Additional tickets are available for purchase.
Toronto Zoo – Open year-round
Birthday parties at the Zoo can be customized to one of three experiential packages and for groups of any size. Parties include admission to the zoo, Meet the Keeper talks, Carnivore Enrichment Feedings and access to the Discovery Zone. Animal encounters, sleepovers at the Serengeti Bush Camp, “Keeper for a Day” and behind-the-scenes tours (for groups of 4-6 only) are also available for additional cost. Two-hour parties with access to a private, indoor venue start at $197.75 including HST. Guest admission (15% off the regular price), parking and catering options are extra.
Treewalk Village – Open until October 28
At Bruce’s Mill Conservation Area in Stouffville, kids can channel their inner spider monkey by climbing from tree house to tree house through 8-foot tall hammock nets and wood bridges, or explore a network of tunnels and challenge themselves on the treewee obstacle course. Parties include two-hour entry to Treewalk Village, a reserved uncovered outdoor space, t-shirt for the birthday kid and option to bring your own food and beverage or order pizza, cake and drinks on-site for an additional cost. Parties start at $274 + HST for up to 12 participants. A ratio of 1:6 between adults and kids must be maintained at all times.