Awesome Birthday Party Themes
Five popular themes adapted for toddlers through preteens
Zoo, aquarium, circus, puppet show, or, for older kids, a minor-league baseball game. Offbeat tours: farm, firehouse, candy factory (call your Chamber of Commerce).
Where: You may need to book a few months ahead; ask about a guide and a room to serve cake.
How much: Free (firehouse); $15 to $100 to get 10 tots into the zoo.
Pros: For the birthday boy or girl with a passion for, say, sharks, a field trip is a thrill. Other kids may not have same interests as your child, so try to keep groups small.
Cons: Children can wander off; bring a few extra pairs of eyes. Transportation can be tricky, since parents have to drop off and pick up at the location.
2 to 3: Limited appeal, except for a puppet show or a storytelling event.
4 to 5: It's more manageable to stick with a nearby attraction and a small group.
6 to 8: The perfect age to soak up new information and ask questions; allow time to play and stretch muscles.
9 to 12: Ideal for performances: musical theater, modern dance, bluegrass band.
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