Saturday, May 28, 2016

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park

One of the best things about summertime in Calgary is Calaway Park. And they have a NEW birthday party program this year!!

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park

Cost is often a deciding factor in party bookings, so let's look at that first.

Price 

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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park


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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park


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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park


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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park

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).

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park



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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park


3) Mountains!

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).

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park


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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park


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.

Birthday Parties 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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park
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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park

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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park

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.

Birthday Parties at Calaway Park

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.


15 comments :

  1. So much fun packed into one place! I love the pic of you and your sis, and then your kids - that's very cool! One thing you mentioned that I think is so critical is the 'lots of shade' faction - so often these great places lack a spot to get out from under the sun!

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  2. Such a great party. I had no idea they even did them. That is a great price, especially because (as you mentioned)....you don't have to clean your house! Evan would love this.

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  3. Wow Calaway Parks looks SO fun! Can you believe that we've lived here for over 12 years and have never been?! Crazy!!

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    1. Seriously, Jo-Anna?? You have to remedy this. Your kids would have a blast!

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  4. wow, this would be incredible, wish it was here in NB, Canada

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  5. I have been to Calaway Park so many times when my daughters were little and my younger daughter even had a summer job there! It is a great place for all ages to have fun! Your review of this amusement park is excellent!

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  6. I haven't been to Calaway Park in ages! We bough passes this year and reading this makes me so excited to take my kids.

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  7. So fun! We are going there this weekend. I haven't been since I've been in grade 1. I'm super pumped!

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  8. Great review, it looks super-fun there! Too bad the price of 8 plane tickets probably puts it over the edge though ;) Love the pic of you and your sister!

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  9. Maybe I'll move my kids winter birthday to here next year during the summer! What a great idea and a great price!

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  10. Wow, sounds a lot better than a bunch of kids running all through the house and yard! Great review!

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  11. This place sounds amazing. I think I'd like to have a birthday party there ;)

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  12. You gotta buy seasons passes for next year when they go on sale at Xmas. Totally worth it. One year we went 15 times. Most years we go 7-10 times and have so much fun.

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    1. Do you know when they go on sale for Xmas? Thx

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    2. They'll go on sale on November 16 this year - you don't have to wait much longer!

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