I have a confession to make.
I dread birthday parties. The decorating, the food, the happy little faces looking to me to see what amazing activities I have planned . . . I could definitely live without it.
But the problem is this: I have 3 kids, and they tend to have birthdays with alarming regularity. And they talk to other people, worse luck. These other people so innocently ask what kind of birthday parties my kids are having, and in so doing, they plant ideas and promote birthday anarchy in sweet little heads.
The baby of the family was turning 9 this December, and December birthdays are a double whammy of affliction. She rarely gets a “real” (meaning: culturally expected) birthday party, and thankfully she hasn’t kicked up too much fuss about it. This year, she got lucky. Through Breathe Parkour, we booked an elite birthday party package, and just like they say on their website, it was a flippin’ good time!
Breathe Parkour is a space dedicated solely to the sport of parkour. Parkour is a sport that developed from military obstacle course training. It involves getting from one point to another, through complex surroundings such as an urban environment, as quickly as possible. It involves running, jumping, climbing, swinging, you know, all those things kids love to do! (My brother said he practiced parkour long before it was ever a thing.)
Breathe Parkour offers 3 birthday party packages, at 2 different locations in Calgary. All packages include the birthday space for 2 hours, 40 minutes of instruction, 40 minutes in the birthday space for snacks and food, and 40 minutes for free time in the gym. Pricing starts at $275 for the 2 hours and 15 participants. And the best part? The instructor is yours for the full 2 hours. That means you supply whatever snacks and food you want, but otherwise, those sweet, energetic little faces are looking to someone else for their entertainment!
The Elite and VIP birthday packages also offer a fear activity. The fear activity is an additional activity that is done during the open gym time and usually involves something that gets the heart racing a little bit. It can be anything from a high drop backwards into a foam pit, maybe blindfolded, or perhaps a balance walk across something really high! This activity is always safe and everyone is encouraged to participate!
All birthday packages are a maximum of 15 participants. More can be accommodated with some planning and additional charges. This number astonished my daughter, who has never been allowed to invite more than a few friends before. (She’s the youngest, and it is what it is, my friends.) With my innate enthusiasm (sarcasm font) about birthday parties, I had to admit no small amount of apprehension about the whole experience.
But the party was a win, from start to finish. The process was incredibly easy, starting with the booking of the party and the provided invitations which I quickly emailed off. I planned some food and a cake to bring, and right at the designated start time my new best friend, Brody the parkour instructor, welcomed the kids.
The kids dutifully trooped after Brody, while I was free to take a few pictures and watch, or not, as I wished. The party started with a safety talk and a discussion about the rules and then they moved on to a few games and practicing some parkour skills, like jumping and climbing. The instructor made sure to communicate not only how to get up, but how to get down. Regardless of skill (or bravery) level, all the kids were able to try out different types of movement and enjoy themselves.
It was nearly an hour before the kids swarmed back towards our party area, all chattering happily. The party area consisted of 2 large picnic tables, with lots of room for everyone. Plus, we had easy access to the washrooms, for handwashing. After inhaling no small amount of food, they were back at Brody’s side. He took them to try a fear activity and supervised them as they starting burning off their sugar high. A few more pictures later, and parents started arriving to take the party-goers home.
Done! It was a birthday party win: happy kids, thrilled birthday girl, and not-stressed out mama. I’d call that a success.
Breathe Parkour Locations:
#8 – 401 33 Street NE, Calgary, AB
#131 – 10550 42 Street SE, Calgary, AB