Birthday Question - Chantilly,VA

Updated on April 10, 2012
C.M. asks from Harpers Ferry, WV
14 answers

I know I'm WAY early in asking this, but my son is turning 5 in early July. He wants to have a pool party. He only has around 3 little friends that he wants to invite and the rest are all adults (grandparents, aunts and uncles). We have a community pool, but this is our first summer living here in this house. I've heard from the next door neighbor that our pool here is not good. Last year they found dead rats floating in it and its just dirty and gross. So, I was thinking about doing it at a water park. I looked at 1 place and it's $30 PER PERSON for their birthday deal. YIKES! So, I was thinking it's way cheaper to just go there and pay regular admission (I think around $13 or $15 per person to get in) and we can spend all day there instead of only 2 hours for the deal thing. So, I'm thinking of everyone and of course his friends parents would stay, so would it be awful if I said that I will pay for all the kids to get in, but I would need the parents to pay their own admission? I'm just trying to think of ideas. We aren't well off at all, but we do have time to save up for it. So, is that a really bad idea? or would you be ok if you were invited to a water park party and your kid was paid for but not you? I am friends with all the parents and know them pretty well, so no one is a stranger. Anyway, I just thought I'd ask. If it's a really bad idea, then I won't do it.

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So What Happened?

Yeah, I agree with you guys. Like I said, he only has around 3 friends that he can invite (he is in preschool, and he has a summer birthday, so his only friends are 1 next door, and 2 family friends) none of them have siblings, so it makes that part easy. I know for sure my SIL and MIL would pay for themselves. My MIL would probibly even help out with with it a little since she did with my daughters birthday last month. The birthday deal that the water park had was $30 per person, pizza, and juice and only 2 hours total at the park. That's why I was thinking, we could just go there and pay regular admission and be able to spend the whole day there and get some pizza's there (they have a little place to order pizza there) and then we could bring a small cake (I will have to call them once they are open for the season and ask if I can bring in a small cake, if not, then we can have cake for him that night at home). Thanks for not making me feel like a crazy person for thinking that way :)

We do have a YMCA that is local and some rec centers but they are ALL indoor pools. I am from CA and I just can't stand indoor pools. They are hot, stinky and give me a headache, lol! If we still lived in our old neighborhood, I would do it there. It was such a nice big pool and was super clean too! But since we don't live there anymore and they do check passes, we can't go there :( So bummed about that

To answer more questions:
There has been actually 3 neighbors tell me about that pool, not just the 1. One of them used to manage it, but gave up becuase the lifeguards wouldn't do their job and clean it before anyone got there for the day and she didn't have time to get up early before the pool opened and clean it everyday. I've walked by it. It's actually a very small pool.
We live in a town home (row house style - very tall 4 stories- and very narrow), so lots of neighbors very close to us. I don't have any yard or a place to even set up a sprinkler toy and definitly no grass near by us. So it makes it hard. Last year we had a very nice grass field behind our house and we were able to set up a slip n slide and it was great! I wish we didn't have to move out of that house but our landlord sold it.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I get the whole "pay for the kids only" concept....but at a poll...for 5 year old kids, it's a safety issue. No WAY would I have allowed my son, at 5, to go to a water park without me or my husband all day. And that's where it gets're forcing the parents to pay to attend. At 5, it's not a choice. I would go and I would pay for myself, but I would think it was a tacky, not well, thought out move on the part of the b-day kid's parents.
Definitely look at other options.
You know, for $100, you could whip up a 3' Quick Set pool in a grassy yard area and have everyone there.

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Chicago on

Why not get some sprinkler water toys for your back yard for the kids to play in, have some water balloons, pizza at home or ice cream? I would hate to have to pay my own admission to get in even if my kid was getting in free. I wouldn't want to be responsible for anyone's kids other than my own at a water park. I say keep it small and within your budget.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

How on earth could a neighborhood pool be THAT bad? Honestly?

I would reconsider and find out from more that 1 neighbor about the pool..

Maybe wait for it to open and check it out yourself.

But have a back up plan..

Here in Austin, you can rent a inflatable water slide.. They are awesome. .My sister has rented them for her kids at different times for different events.. That way it is at your house and you and the adults can also use it.. Pretty fun!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Per parties at venues:

1) You pay for your child and the kids, that are invited.
NOT the parents.
Not the other adults who are tagging along.
The parents will pay for their own admission.
And your relatives as well.

2) Will you also provide a lunch or meal? So then in this scenario, you pay for your child and the kids who are invited. Per what is offered at the venue. Or you have to bring in your own food. And you have to check to see if this is allowed at the venue.
You state, that parents or others, will pay for their own meal.

3) IN the invitation, state that: "party will be at water park. We need a head count ahead of time, if your child will be attending. The child will be paid for. Any parent that is attending will need to pay for their own admission.

Also state in the invitation: "Johnny and 1 parent is invited to Eric's 5th Birthday party."
ALL of my friends, do this in the invitation. Therefore, you "control" how many attends along with the invited child to the party.

4) Send the invitations, 1 month or 3 weeks, AHEAD of the birthday party date. SO THAT... the families can figure out their schedule and/or any babysitting they may need for their other kids. If need be. Or make their Husband stay home to watch their other kids.
If you send the invitations out at the last minute, you reduce the chances of people attending.

5) Now, it is not only the water park admission you will need to pay for... it is also for food/cake/goody bags if you have that, too. And transporting it to the venue or not. Or unless the venue 'caters' food there too. And what is that cost?

6) Water parks, are pricey. In my city, our water park costs more than that. And yes, some families may not... want to pay for going. Or they may not be able to afford it.
So you really have to think about this and if you yourself, can afford this type of party.

7) Per our kids, we always ask them what kind of party they would like. BUT... we always also "discuss" with them... about budget/what we can afford or not/and about how many kids they can invite. AND depending on this.... our kids and us, decide about the party. And they are always very amendable to it and understand. And they Always, have a party that they love and they enjoyed it. Even if, we make a party that is not as lavish as they originally talked about.

8) You also have to state on the invitation, the time frame of the party.
When it starts and when it ends.
And you will have to clean up afterwards. And then lug everything back home.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I know you're short of water ideas, but honestly, there's no way I would send my 5 y/o (or 4 if he hadn't had his birthday yet) to a water park on his own. I would go with him, but I would wonder at the planning of this that made me pay for a party that, as I see it, I had no choice but to attend with him. You say you have no backyard, so what about a park? We can rent out the gazebos at our parks through the park district for a low cost; the kids can play on the equipment or in the fields, eat at the picnic tables, and you can include any water games that you can bring with you....

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answers from Houston on

I would not expect someone to pay for me as a parent in that sort of situation, but I would at least want to know so there aren't any surprises.

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answers from Norfolk on

I am late posting on this, but you could also find out if the parents already have passes to the water park. I am near Water Country and they do passes that are about $45 for the entire summer. Does your water park offer a season pass where this may be a moot point where they already have passes?

I would mention it to them early to see what the consensus is. Since you are friends with the parents, and knowing that there will be other adults there as well some of the parents may opt not to go.



answers from Eugene on

If none of the other parents came, I wouldn't want to be responsible for 4- 5 year olds at a water park in July.

Is there another pool where you can have a party? Would a neighboring community, ymca or school pool have a better facility?

If my child were invited, I'd pay $15 to get myself into the park, just to keep an eye on the kids. I've seen how overworked the lifeguards are in those places and feel better if I can watch. But if it were me giving the party, I'd only do it at the water park if I could afford to pay for at least one parent to accompany each child. Or I'd at least ask a couple of them who were responsible and would be willing to help, and offer to pay their admission.



answers from Dallas on

How about have a "regular" party for the gang (no water park, etc.) and then have a separate water park celebration for just your son and his friends? It'll be like 2 birthdays for your son :)



answers from Dallas on

If they are your friends talk to them now and see if they would be willing to pay their way. If you are expecting them to stay they may not way to pay but since they are friends they might.

Good Luck and God Bless!



answers from Washington DC on

I would say that unless you are willing to be responsible for the kids if parents couldn't attend I would probably pass. Its just a lot to have parents dish money out for a present and then the party on top of it. And this is probably just me too but I don't think I'd let my 5 year old go to a water park without me. At that age I wanted to be within arms length of my son in water. Too much can happen with kids at that age.


answers from Los Angeles on

Parents have to go in with their children so I would expect to pay for those adults at least, one per child.

I had my guy's party at a amusement park geared towards children last year and did pay for everyone, children and adults. (And I don't have a lot of extra money, I had to save up to do it.) We got the group rate, for 20 or more, (there was a total of 20 of us) so it was less than regular prices, about $11 per person. One couple DID offer to pay for their tickets. See if the water park does group rates.

if not, maybe you could take him, his 3 friends, their parent/guardians to the water park, then have a cake and celebration at home for the family so he gets to see everyone for his birthday?



answers from Oklahoma City on

Sorry, no way would I allow someone to take my 5 yr. old all day to a water park. No way I could afford to pay for myself either. So he would not go.

I think you have a nice idea but I would see if you and your friends could make it a play date type activity where each person paid for their own family and went together, that way the kids could play in the kids area and all the parents would still be there.

So something else for the birthday.



answers from Madison on

What about renting the YMCA pool if you have one locally...

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