10 of the Best Places to Have a First Birthday Party

Your child’s first birthday may not be a day that he’ll remember for the rest of his life, but it’s certainly a moment that you’ll never forget. When the guest of honor is so young, choosing the perfect venue has less to do with finding his favorite spot and more with finding a place that will accommodate the needs of his other guests. The nearest and dearest of an infant are generally older siblings, cousins and family friends that will be a bit older and thus, more mobile. These 10 places are great venues for a first birthday party, as they’ll keep slightly-older-but-still-pint-sized guests entertained while your child smears himself with cake.

  1. Botanical Gardens – It’s never too early to instill a love of the outdoors in a child. Most cities have botanical gardens, and most of those gardens have a dedicated area for kids to play and explore. Contacting the botanical garden nearest you is the best way to figure out their policies and the logistics of staging a first birthday party in such a lush, magical place.
  2. Crafts Studios – Your baby might only be a year old, but he can smear paint on a surface with the best of them. When he’s done and the party has wrapped up, you’ll have a keepsake to remind you of the occasion for years to come.
  3. Indoor Playgrounds – Kids with birthdays in the winter months aren’t usually able to enjoy an outdoor celebration, unless they’re budding ice skaters or snowboarders. When your little one reaches her first birthday during wintertime, hauling her friends to an indoor playground can be a great way to encourage physical activity without risking frost bite.
  4. Kid-Themed Restaurants – Every city has at least one kids-only eatery. Parents may not love the pizza and shouting, but these places are heaven for kids. Your little one may be too small to attack the arcade games with fervor, but she will probably still be entranced with the animatronic shows and costumed mascots wandering around.
  5. Ice Cream Shoppes – Everyone loves ice cream. From the little ones in your entourage to the oldest member of the party, everyone is sure to be thrilled with an ice cream party. Some shoppes even encourage kids to get creative, building their own wild sundaes and choosing offbeat toppings.
  6. Parks – Those pavilions at your local playground can usually be rented or even reserved free of charge for parties, depending on the municipal policies in your area. While older kids run and play to their heart’s content, adults and very young children can enjoy the shade and shelter of a pavilion before the cake is cut and presents are distributed.
  7. Aquariums – The sights and sounds of an aquarium are entrancing for kids of all ages, even those who are just turning a year old. There may even be special programs offered by your local aquarium for birthday parties, so make sure that you contact the administrative office to find out what your options are.
  8. Zoos – There’s no upper or lower age limit on loving the zoo. Most even have smaller petting zoo areas inside to encourage hands-on interaction with domesticated animals! A zoo birthday party is a great way to encourage curiosity about animals and natural sciences in your little guests, while providing plenty of celebratory fun.
  9. Amusement Parks – The idea of strapping your one-year-old into a rollercoaster is probably repellent, but there’s more to most amusement parks than adrenaline-rush rides for thrill seekers and daredevils. Most amusement parks have an area of smaller, more sedate rides for infants, toddlers and small children. Booking a birthday party at an amusement park near you will allow your little guest of honor to cruise around on a slow-moving train or bob along in a tiny boat to celebrate his special day!
  10. Home – Birthday parties can very quickly become prohibitively expensive, and they’ll only get more extravagant as your child gets older. When he’s still so small and not likely to remember his party, there’s nothing wrong with hosting a smaller celebration with a more intimate gathering of friends and loved ones. Hosting your child’s first birthday at home allows him to stay in a comfortable, familiar environment while everyone crows about how handsome he is and how much he’s grown. 

In addition to these 10 venues, there may also be locally-owned treasures that capture the kid culture in your city perfectly. Networking with other local parents is a great way to get the skinny on what’s available for the smaller set in your neighborhood!

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