By Lindsey Stuckless.
Each year, as my five-year-old son’s birthday approaches, I begin to panic with the thought of hosting another birthday party. In the past, I have been caught up in throwing a Pinterest worthy party, and the cost and stress made the whole day unenjoyable.
This year, while searching for a new and exciting party idea, I stumbled upon the option of an Eco-Adventure Birthday Party at Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA). Knowing my son is a huge fan of the Apps Mill’s Nature Centre, I booked our “Fish, Fins and Other Creatures” Birthday Party at the location for the middle of July.
Besides worrying about the weather, this party was simple to plan. The GRCA asks you keep the party as green as possible and, in the spirit of this, I sent out an e-vite instead of printed invites and skipped ordering balloons and other decorations. The day of the party was sunny and warm, perfect for spending an afternoon outside. We met Duane, our GRCA host who gathered the kids in the centre and introduced them to locally rescued snakes and turtles.
Once the creepy crawly visitors were put back in their homes, Duane led us down the path to go exploring in the river. Each child had a net and was free to explore the shallow water. For two hours the children caught crayfish and minnows, threw rocks and splashed in the water. It was the most peaceful experience I have had with a group of 15 children. Once finished we walked back and Duane started the cooking fire and provided the roasting sticks for hot dogs and marshmallows.
While there were no giant slides, video game trucks or expensive entertainers, every child enjoyed their time in nature and did not want to leave! As parents, we sometimes put pressure on ourselves to host extravagant parties, but GRCA’s eco-adventure option showed me that what kids want is a simple place to explore. No one missed the streamers, character sized balloons, trampolines or candy.
The GRCA offers over ten different eco-adventure birthday themes. We are already looking ahead to choosing another option for next year!
About Grand River Conservation Authority
The GRCA manages water and other natural resources on behalf of 39 municipalities. With 11 parks, the GRCA offers areas for swimming, hiking, and camping. Besides Eco-Age Birthday Parties, the GRCA parks offer day camps, education programs and other special events.