Craziness and chaos reign supreme at birthday parties. Whether you invite 5 kids or your child’s entire class, you can guarantee the party-participants are going to be exuding excessive amounts of energy and insanity. So why not help a fellow-parent out and exercise the pint-sized party-goers before sending them home hopped up on birthday cake? Rather than stick on a movie, get the whole gaggle of grade-schoolers outdoors to burn off the crazy!
For our boys’ joint party, we took 23 kids to WildPlay in Maple Ridge. Now an outside birthday at the end of October is a risky endeavour but our boys were desperate to have their party at WildPlay. The weather-gods were agreeable and the kids had the party of their dreams.
Birthday parties at WildPlay involve climbing, swinging, scrambling, thinking, creativity, teamwork & collaboration. Those 23 monkeys were thoroughly exercised – both physically and mentally – by the end of the 2 hour party. The birthday party climbing course at WildPlay is called Monkido Kids. At the start of the party all of the kids are put into harnesses and taught how to navigate through the course. Each child has the opportunity to complete the obstacle course twice. Little & younger kids will take about 30 minutes to complete the course once. The bigger kids can do one pass through the course in about 15 – 20 minutes. The obstacle course includes walking along a highwire, riding an orange-ball zipline, climbing across a netted ladder, scrambling through a seemingly-large fishing net, crawling through a suspended barrel, leaping from swinging log to swinging log, and much more! Don’t worry, the kids are harnessed in, they aren’t going to fall to the ground. In fact once the kids’ confidence increases, they start testing their boundaries by swinging mid-air from their harnesses. The obstacles range from 2 – 10 ft above the ground.
When the kids have completed their two turns through the obstacle course, party members are welcome to use the covered picnic tables for snacks & cake. The second-best part of a party at WildPlay is the freedom the kids experience in the woods surrounding the courses. There are winding paths and trees perfect for multiple games of chase. The older kids will inevitably be fascinated by the “grown up” course. Infinitely higher in the sky & full of even-crazier obstacles, the Monkido Classic and Monkido Extreme are for participants aged 7 & up who can reach 5ft 11 inches (with their feet flat on the ground).
When planning your unforgettable WildPlay Birthday party, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- If you have different age groups in your party, have the bigger kids go first. They complete the course faster and may not be happy getting stuck behind the littler ones who are figuring out the course. Alternatively, have the little ones do one lap, eat while the big kids do 2 laps, and then the interested little ones can do their 2nd lap. This strategy worked really well for our group of kids aged 5 – 9.
- The height limit is “able to reach 4ft 7in with feet flat on the ground”. Kids need to be able to reach a certain height in order to succeed on the obstacle course. They have to manipulate a carabiner clip, above their heads, when they move from one activity to the next. If you have taller & shorter kids, alternate them. The taller kids can help the shorter kids if they get stuck.
- Kids must be 5. I would say 5 years is a definite minimum. If kids are at the end of 5 (nearing 6) they will do great. Younger 5 year olds may struggle. Kids aged 6 – 9 are perfect for this course! The WildPlay leaders are great at making the course a bit harder for the older kids.
- You are outside…embrace it! The eating area is covered picnic tables. You are outside for the entire party so be sure to dress accordingly. There isn’t a building to duck inside & warm up. If you are going in the cooler months, think of giving the kids gloves to wear.
- You need to bring your own decorations. I strongly recommend bringing table clothes for the 4 picnic tables. The table have hosted a large number of parties and a colourful table cloth brights them up. We also brought balloons to tie up, they really weren’t necessary and were rather lost in the vastness of the surrounding woods.
- Ensure the party participants sign the waiver ahead of time. Submitting the online waiver prior to the party makes the check-in process go infinitely faster.
As you can imagine, birthday parties at WildPlay are incredibly popular. The warmer Spring & Summer months fill up quickly, so be sure to book your spot early. Before we even left WildPlay following their party, our kids were asking if they could have their 2017 party back there. Now that’s a great kid-endorsement!
WildPlay in Maple Ridge:
Address: 23485 Fern Crescent, Maple Ridge