PARKERSBURG - Summer is prime time to throw a kids birthday, whether you choose to host one in your own backyard or plan it at another local venue.
Misti Sims, event planner and owner of Little Black Dress Events, said pool parties are popular in the summer and provide a unique party experience. Marietta Aquatic Center and Parkersburg City Park and Southwood Park pools can be rented out after-hours for private parties.
"The aquatics center is very popular for kids of all ages. It has slides, a baby pool and a lazy river," said Sims.
The Marietta Aquatic Center can be rented for $175 an hour for up to 25 people. The price goes up to $225 an hour for 26 to 60 people and $275 an hour for 60 or more people. Lifeguards are provided. The pool already has 15 party reservations for the month of July.
Parkersburg City Park and Southwood Park can also be reserved for private parties. Rates are $80 an hour, and $100 an hour to include the concession stand. City Park Pool hosts an average of one to two parties a week, while Southwood Pool books up months in advance.
To take advantage of the outdoors, party planners can rent a pavilion from a local park. Mountwood Park offers miniature golf, playgrounds, hiking trails, fishing, boat rentals and a 3D archery course. Parks provide plenty of space for kids to run and play, while also offering shelter if it rains. Shelters at Mountwood Park range from $75 to $100 a day. Jackson Memorial Park, City Park and Fort Boreman Park also offer pavilion reservations.
To beat the summer heat, party planners can take advantage of group rates at local bowling alleys or Skate County roller rink in Parkersburg.
Duane Jones, owner of Pike Street Lanes, said the bowling alley hosts between 300 and 500 parties every year.
"Mostly we have them in the fall and winter because of the weather, but we do get quite a few in the summertime too," said Jones. "Some weekends we'll have between 10 and 12 parties booked."
Birthday parties are two hours and include bowling and shoe rentals for up to six people per lane. The price also includes a birthday bowling pin, a large pizza, a pitcher of pop and a pass for a free game of bowling. The bowling alley provides party supplies, including plates, napkins and decorations. Banquet rooms are available for an additional fee for a more private party experience. Emerson Lanes, another popular party venue, hosts up to 15 parties in a single weekend.
kate Country, at Sixth Avenue and Gladstone Street, offers another unique party experience. Owner Herschel Kimes said people can book parties during public skate times or after hours. Rates for private skate parties are $100 for two hours. A private room is also available.
If you opt to host a party in your own home or backyard, plan several games and keep the food simple, said Sims. In hot summer weather, games involving water balloons will give the kids some relief.
For a fun party theme, create an ice cream bar.
"Ice cream socials are always a fabulous party theme for summer," said Sims. "From soda shoppe-like printables to make-your-own rootbeer float stations and ice cream topping selections."