Best Bet for Summer Birthdays

Frosting on the couch, the floor, the cat.

Streamers that have been drooping for days finally hit the floor.

Balloons last forever – and you’re forced to either pop them (when the kids aren’t looking) or just wait for their eventual slow deflation into a choking a hazard.

Sound familiar?

Just talkin’ about hosting a kid’s birthday party at home. Don’t get me wrong, I actually love to throw parties in our home. I love how much money can be saved that way and the amount of personalization you can do. But sometimes – you’re busy, you’ve got a big guest list, or you’re just not in the mood for all that prep, party, and clean up.

Both of my children have “warm month” birthdays – June and August while both my husband and I have Winter birthdays. While playcafes + indoor play areas are gaining in popularity once again – there are far more options (and many times – more affordable options) for hosting a Children’s Birthday party in the summer.

and *drum roll* one of our Best Bets for Summer Birthdays is…

Great Parks of Hamilton County

The three parks that are most appropriate for a child’s birthday party within the Hamilton County Park District are Winton Woods, Sharon Woods and Miami Whitewater Forest. These parks have all the amenities you need to make your party a success.

Each of these parks contain modern playground equipment with Winton Woods and Miami Whitewater Forest having a well-kept and fully staffed wet play ground for little ones (Woodland Mound on the Eastside also has a wet play area).

Booking a Shelter Could Not Be Easier!

They also offer a variety of shelters to meet the needs of your birthday party.  These can be reserved up to one year in advance! One of the reasons why Great Parks receives a “Best Bet award” is they have recently updated their website to make searching for these shelters and reserving them to be very user-friendly.

You are able to select which park you would like to search, which populates a map of that park.  This allows you to search shelter availability by your date. Hovering over a shelter creates a pop-up with shelter specific information such as cost, distance to restrooms, and capacity.

For example – Sharon Woods…

While you are always able to contact the Parks directly at 513-521-7275 – this tool allows you to be able to plan accordingly without the pressure of trying to figure out exactly what you are looking for. No need to go drive around the park with a notebook in advance of your party to find the best spot with two or three back up options in case your first choice is booked.

Find your Perfect Party Spot!


Sometimes you want to just show up – and nearly everything is taken care of. Other times – you want to customize and do everything yourself but you simply do not have the space to host. Hamilton County Parks is perfect for every scenario.

If you’re looking for more of an experience package – they have several affordable options available. The Wet Playground Package includes space for 30 people with admission to the wet play area. This is $160 dollars. The Parky’s Farm package is for 10 children and allows use of the party room for 1.5 hours + includes play in the barn, an attendant to help with the party, and entrance into the parks 135 dollars. You may bring your own cake and icecream for both packages. While you may bring pizza to Parky’s Farm – it is discouraged due to the short amount of time allotted for a party. Additional time may be purchased in 1.5 hour increments.

The Parky’s Farm package even includes animal experiences “Animals live at the farm year-round. Under normal situations,children may expect to have hands-on interaction with three of these animals at the party. We cannot guarantee a visit
with a particular animal. Which animals we use that day will
depend on the availability of the animal.”


Is your little one content with playing at the playground for their party and you’re opting for a shelter reservation ? Don’t want to hassle with the coal grill yourself? Great Parks of Hamilton County has a solution for that as well. Catering!

The packages start at about 10 dollars per person and there are several options available. For example – the Southern BBQ Picnic (my mouth is watering over here…) has pulled pork, grilled metts, barbecue chicken breast, and sides. It can be dropped off for 10.95 per person – or cooked on site (which might be worth it for all those smells!) at 12.95 per person. Bring your own cooler + drinks or have them supplied for an additional cost. Alcohol is allowed at reserved shelters.

But if catering isn’t your thing – load the car up with the necessities of grilling, fire up the grill, and make that party one to remember!

Extras, Extras, Extras

Sharon Woods, Winton Woods, and Miami Whitewater are home to amazing harbor areas with even more activities for the entire family. Take the family for a tour of the lake on a pontoon boat. Go old-school and teach your kids the meaning of hard work with a paddle around the lake on a four person peddle boat.

The Winton Queen is a large capacity tour boat that provides something for the entire family. Per the Great Parks website, the tourboat is currently undergoing repairs. Fingers crossed that it is up and ready for the upcoming season!

Trails a-plenty at these parks – perfect for walking off the food coma bestowed upon you by the cake and BBQ!

The Great Parks of Hamilton County are a perfect spot for your next birthday party. As someone who spent two summers working here in the Harbor Area – trust me when I say that this is a “feel good atmosphere” and you’ll leave with a smile on your face <3 and a party well-remembered.