Creative birthdays in Naples
1. Airport Tour. Do you have an aviation fan in the family? The staff at the City of Naples Airport offers behind the scenes tours that are perfect for a birthday party. Not only is it free but it’s tons of fun. Your day can include some of the following depending on the time of year and availability of volunteers: Tours of the commercial terminal, a visit to the tower, visit to the fire station and a tour of a firetruck. Knowledgeable volunteers will share information about the airport, the planes that fly in and out of the Naples airport and the staff that are needed to run an airport. After your tour you can take advantage of the observation deck for a refreshments and play time. A birthday party at the airport is free but there are limited slots available and you must make reservations well ahead of time. Be aware that time is most limited during season.
For more information contact Pam at 239-643-3773 or via email at Prinehart@flynaples.com.
2. Can U Dig it? Dinosaur Fun Your party guests can become junior archeologists in the covered fossil dig area at North Collier Regional Park. With a little planning you can find props for your child’s party online (orientaltrading.com has dinosaur bones and pith helmets) and then use the playground as the site for the guests to uncover dinosaur bones. Add some themed refreshments like dirt in a cup (crushed Oreo cookies and pudding!) and your guests will be talking about the party for weeks to come.
Can U Dig It is located in the park just beyond the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon water park entry. No reservations are necessary to use the Can U Dig It? area but since you will be sharing it with other children, pick a quieter time of the day if possible.
For information about the park call 239-252-4000.
3. Fire Department Visit Your party guests will love a visit to the North Naples Fire Department near Veterans Park off Immokalee Road. The kids can tour a fire truck and the firehouse. The firefighters will give the children a safety demonstration and explain the equipment. Tours are free of charge and offered during the week before 5:00 p.m. A limited number of tours are offered on weekends. Parents can rent the firehouse meeting room for $50 for refreshments or you can take the children to Veterans Park next door where there are picnic tables.
For more information contact Pat Browne at 239-597-3222 or at Pbrowne@northcollierfire.com.
4. Geocaching Geocaching is a great birthday activity for children who are 8 and older. The premise is simple: the coordinates of hidden caches are listed on www.geocaching.com and you use GPS and map reading skills to find hidden treasures.
To get started round up a few adult helpers. Three children per adult is probably a good ratio. You’ll choose your geocaching locations from the list on the site but I can tell you that there are caches hidden in or very near most of the parks in Naples including North Collier Regional Park. That makes it convenient to go geocaching and then follow up with refreshments at the park. If you’re very motivated, you can create and hide your own, personalized caches.
After the geocaching, head to the park picnic area for refreshments and prizes. As a take home favor, you can give each child a geocaching kit: pencil and paper for recording finds, and a few “trade” items (you’ll learn about that on the website). You may want to print out this article about family geocaching and include a copy in each geocaching kit so kids can share the details with their own family.
Register at www.geocaching.com for instructions and geocaching locations. You’ll also find local geocaching information by searching for geocaching at neafamily.com.
5. Naples Train Museum If your child loves trains, he/she is going to love a birthday party at the Naples Train Museum. Located within the Naples Depot Museum, at any given time there are 10 trains operating simultaneously.
The museum is a great place for a small and inexpensive birthday party for children ages 4 and up. Adults and children in the birthday party have unlimited train rides and museum time. After the children enjoy the trains inside, serve cake or cupcakes at one of the outdoor picnic tables.
Admission is adults $7, children 6 and over $4. Children under 6 are free. Book a party by calling Ken at 239-262-1776.