Cost is often a deciding factor in party bookings, so let's look at that first.
Parties at Calaway start at $269 +gst. That may sound like a lot, but let's break it down. For that price, you get:
- 8 admissions (inc. birthday child) - kids 7 and up are $36 each - that's $288 ALREADY.
- Pizza and drinks - this would cost at least $20 outside the park.
- Birthday hats and prizes for all guests - let's say this is another $20.
- A "comeback" pass for the birthday child - $36.
- A party host who will take care of set-up AND clean-up for you - priceless.
That adds up to... hold on, let me get my calculator. OKAY, it's $364. Plus you don't have to clean your house!! That alone is worth, like, $200 to me.
You can also get a smaller party package for $179 - that gets you 8 admissions and cake/gift storage, but you don't get food or the Birthday Club House. Calaway IS fine with you bringing a picnic to help keep costs down, though!
With both packages, you also get a big yellow button for the birthday child that has their name on it. Ride operators are trained to greet the birthday child by name AND wish them happy birthday. Sometimes, they'll even get everyone in line to sing Happy Birthday! This would make any kid feel special.
What You Get
In addition to everything above, if you book the larger party package, you also get to use the NEW Birthday Club House at Calaway for an hour. It's a really nice area, set apart from the rest of the park by a little lake on one side, and lots of trees and a mini golf course on the other. It's far enough from everything that it's less noisy and hectic, but still close enough to be convenient.
The Club House has several picnic tables where the kids can open presents and gorge themselves on pizza. The view is really nice - this is a great place to take some photos of the kids.
When you are finished at the Club house, Calaway will store all your presents and gear while the kids have a blast on the rides. You just pick everything up on your way out of the park!
Things I Love About Calaway Park
OMG you guys, I love it there. I have been going to Calaway Park for almost my entire life. And I have photo evidence. Below, you will see me with my sister on the boat ride, circa 1987. On the right, my own kids on the same ride, last week.
Here's why I love it so much:
1) There's something for everyone.
There is a giant sign when you go into the park where you can measure all the kids in your party. If they are very different heights, you can break them up into two groups so that the smaller kids don't have to wait while big kids go on big rides.
BUT there is lots to do for kids of any age. My son is 19 months old, and he can go on loads of rides (often with a parent - BONUS, you get to ride too).
2) There is an abundance of seating, AND tons of shade.
You don't have to elbow other people out of the way if you want to rest or cool off. The park is actually beautifully landscaped, with great big trees everywhere. There are benches near every ride, and many of them are shaded. There are also lots of places to sit and eat - we bought lunch right at noon, and we had no trouble finding a table.
How many amusement parks have a mountain view? I did a very scientific study that says ONLY THIS ONE.*
* Scientific study consisted of asking my three-year-old.
You have a gorgeous mountain view ON THE RIDES. It's pretty awesome. You can kind of see the mountains in the picture below. You can also see that Calaway Park has excellent puddles (BRING EXTRA CLOTHES).
4) The people are nice.
I estimate that Calaway Park's staff is 98% teenagers. At certain food establishments ALSO staffed largely by teenagers, I've become pretty used to surly service. But the people at Calaway are unfailingly cheerful and friendly. My husband actually worked here as a teenager, and he said it was a really fun place to work.
5) The FOOD.
I love mini donuts. I also love giant pretzels, cotton candy, and churros. The hot dogs and burgers are good, too! Um, I eat a lot at Calaway Park.
If you have a toddler-sized person, be sure to buy a churro and give it to him. It will be as tall as him, and hilarious.
|See? My mouth is full of pretzel in this picture.|
6) The shows (included with admission).
If your kids need a break from all the awesome rides, Calaway Park has a 3D theatre and live stage shows. We saw the Storybook High show, where the finale is a mash-up of "Let It Go" and "Defying Gravity." When the music started, EVERY kid in the audience gasped audibly. It was awesome.
The stage shows have a lot of singing and dancing, and are very entertaining. They always get the kids in the audience up and dancing too, which is adorable.
TIP: The stage is right next to a food vendor, so if you are hungry, you can buy some food and nab a seat. Then the kids can eat while they wait. We arrived about ten minutes before the show, which was plenty of time. Even if you end up at the back, all the kids run to the front anyhow.
7) The Games.
I was raised with a healthy suspicion of midway games, but they're a bit different at Calaway Park. First, at a couple of them, your child is GUARANTEED to get a prize (the signs make it clear if this is the case). Second, the midway staffers are nice (see Reason 4 that I love Calaway Park). They don't hassle me like carnies do. And they WANT your kid to win.
Case in point: we paid for my daughter to have three tries at breaking balloons in this midway game. She started on the ground and instantly threw all of her bean bags. All of them came up short. The staff member handed all of the bean bags back to her, and put her up on the little counter. She tried again, and bang bang! She got a prize.
She did it again and won another prize for her little brother. She is three and a half. If she can do it, most kids should be able to win something here.
8) It's so much fun.
This is kind of a given, but really - every time I go, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much.
We were here on a Saturday. THE NEXT DAY, my daughter asked to go back again. Looks like we're buying season passes next year!
Full Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Calaway Park. BUT I mean every word I say. This place is totally awesome, and I'd have a party here even if they weren't working with me.