Mister Man and I had a birthday party to attend this afternoon for a friend of his from preschool. We did the usual choosing the present and handwriting the card, then hop skipping and jumping to the party itself.
As seems to the be the case more often than not, the party was at Pump It Up. For those of you who haven’t been there, it’s a warehouse converted to hold large inflatables that range from obstacle courses to huge slides to basketball courts and more. The newer ones even offer rock climbing walls. If you want to wear out a child, that’s the place to head.
How do I know so much about this? Why, because this is (literally) our twenty-fourth party there. At the eighth party, I started counting. It started in April of 2006, when Mister Man was two and a half (and Little Miss was an oh so cute eight and a half month old trying to climb in all the jumping things, too).
It’s a popular place to have a party. I discovered how popular in talking to the friend’s mom today who informed me that she booked this party in March. And she didn’t get the time slot she wanted because that was already booked. Wow.
So far, we’ve avoided having ours there — for a few reasons. I’m a fan of having more unique and memorable parties than the one everyone else is doing. And the Pump It Up parties are not exactly cheap . I’m guessing it’s all that liability insurance! At a party in December, Mister Man announced as we were leaving that he wanted to have his party at Pump It Up when he turns six.
For the most part, we’ve done parties at home, excluding Mister Man’s last one and Little Miss’s upcoming one, both of which were party packages won at fundraisers. It’s the first time he really asked for a particular party, and I told him that if he still wanted it there when it was closer to his party that we’d work it out. I figured we’d have plenty of time for him to get fixated on another idea.
Oh, did I mention that we’ve been to five parties there since then? Yep, each time he tells me it’s his favorite place ever, and that he wants a party there. And apparently, I need to get on the ball if I want to have one there in early October. (Hey, Pump It Up in Vernon Hills, if you’re listening, do you have a party open for the week of October 11, give or take?)
I remember this phenomenon when I was growing up. All the cool kids had their birthday parties at Cheapskate — small yellow birdie logo included. We skated for an hour or more, shooting the duck, skating backwards, and all the other fun moves and games. We played skee ball and bought bubble gum from the concession stand. At the end, we’d go to the back corner where presents were opened (and we discovered to our chagrin that Sally bought the exact same present we did!) and cake was eaten.
Pump It Up is that same phenomenon. The wee ones loved it as toddlers, and I see kids eight and older still having a blast there. To be honest, I sort of miss the days when the wee ones needed my “help” to play there. And besides, how can you deny smiles like this?
(Yes, that’s my scary lizard alien boy… I’m not sure how I did it, but this photo cracked me up! Real smile below.)
So what’s the cool place to have a party where you live?