Ideas for planning your next water-based birthday party

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Special to the Recorder

Everyone knows summer birthdays are hard. Friends are gone for the summer so it can be challenging to find people to attend. It’s hot outside so the traditional park parties or backyard parties are limited. However, you can beat the heat and attract friends to attend by hosting a water-based birthday party! Below are some surefire ways for kids to stay cool while celebrating birthdays that fall from June through August…and since we are in Florida, beyond! 

Head to a water park. Whether you take a trip as a family to Orlando’s Coco Key, a resort with a fun pool, Legoland’s water park area, Wild Adventures’ water park area or stay in Jacksonville and invite friends to Adventure Landing’s Shipwreck Island, water parks are tons of fun and help guests forget that it is hot! Adventure Landing’s birthday parties include the water park, a decorated table with an assistant, hot dogs or pizza, and you can get a $10 off coupon when you mention Fun4FirstCoastKids.com here: http://bit.ly/2tYJZSo

Head to a spring! At 74 degrees year-round, the “freezing” water - to us Floridians - is the BEST way to stay cool during the summer! Most are no more than two hours from Jacksonville. The refurbished Spring Park Pool is nearby in Green Cove Springs. The small spring head drains to a large swimming pool,and kids can swim or play on the playground for only a $2 entry! Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy views of the St. Johns River. Find all the springs near Jacksonville here: http://bit.ly/2kQG0Dr

Head to a local splash park. There are six splash parks in Jacksonville and many have free entry! Sunshine Park has a wooden playground, and kids can stay cool while they get wet in the splash park area. Murray Hill has a new splash park; Jacksonville Zoo and Hanna Park have splash parks; and if you’re a member at a local club with a pool or splash park, add friends and family to the guest list and bring your food and cake there. Kids will love splashing with friends while parents talk and keep an eye on their children. Find all the local splash parks here: http://bit.ly/2sGGMqo

Enjoy a party at your swimming lessons location. Many programs have their own pool- indoor or out- and host parties! Swim and enjoy life guards during the party, then break for cake and ice cream. Not only is the party fun, but parents will appreciate the extra, trained eyes on their kids. Find all the swimming lesson locations here: http://bit.ly/2moedaz

Head out on a water adventure! Jacksonville has many kayaking companies, locations that rent canoes and paddle boards, and we love our St. Johns River Water Taxi and St. Johns River Ferry! Many offer a guided nature lesson or history tour. Bring cake to eat on the taxi/ferry or stop at an island to enjoy snacks and sing happy birthday. Find all the local water adventures here: http://bit.ly/2swHe6y

Head to the beach. Bring a tent, table and beach buckets and shovels to enjoy hours of free fun with a beach party! This is a fun and relaxing option that will keep kids busy for hours. Be sure to have plenty of drinks and watery snacks, like watermelon and other fruits to keep kids hydrated. Organize fun-like beach Olympic competitions or a sand castle contest, or just frolic in the sand. Find all the local beaches here: http://bit.ly/2tDCYFN

Backyard water fun Rent a bounce house with a slide and add water; put out a sprinkler; add water guns, bubbles and pool noodles that squirt water; and you have your own water park in the back yard. Enjoy a bounce house rental special from Big City Bounce when you mention Fun4FirstCoastKids.com. More information can be found here: http://bit.ly/2uRhx15

And last, but not least, the classic pool party If you are lucky enough to have a backyard pool and you have summer birthdays in your home, you are set for birthday parties for life! Pool parties are classic Florida fun for the kids to swim for hours. You have to beg them to get out of the pool to eat, yet they jump out at just the mention of cake. Throw in some pool toys and be sure to designate life guards and “wa la,” you have a party. If you don’t have one at your home, no worries: there are 33 City of Jacksonville public pools! You can find the one closest to you here: http://bit.ly/2sNw29U

Terri Mashour is the owner of Fun4FirstCoastKids.com.

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