New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published February 3rd 2017
Fun ideas for hanging out with friends & family
As children get older, birthday party invitations start to dwindle as many tweens and teenagers prefer to celebrate their birthdays on their own with friends, or without too much fuss. On a recent trip out for dinner in the city however, our family noticed an idea for a teenage birthday celebration that seemed to be making everyone happy. On the next table to us was a small group of early teenage girls enjoying a night of pizzas and gossip, with no adult in sight. At the end of the meal, they all went to say goodbye to the birthday girls' parents who were sitting on the other side of the restaurant - and who were presumably left to pay - before they went off to the movies in a flurry of giggles. Although costly for mum and dad, it was an innovative way to give them some independence and a feeling of being "grown up", without mum and dad hovering close by.
So apart from a celebration at home, or going out to dinner as above, what other ideas are there for teenage birthday celebrations in Canberra? Take a scroll through this list and see if any of these ideas apply to the teenager in your life - hopefully there will be at least one!
Image: Original photos from Bubble Soccer 2 U Canberra Facebook
1/ Bubble Soccer is a fun way to get a group of friends together and battle it out on the field - knocking each other over in the name of sport. Players literally put an oversized inflatable zorb ball over their heads, strap themselves in and then start running and kicking - with hilarious results. Active teenagers who love their sports will get a real kick out of this, so to speak, as well as cousins, aunts, uncles and other family members who may want to join in. Bubble Soccer 2 U can meet you at a local park and start setting up for a unique party that all guests will enjoy. I have personally seen Bubble Soccer 2 U getting played at Lennox Gardens on Lake Burley Griffin, which is a perfect location with parking, toilets, BBQ facilities and soft grassy fields. It was hilarious to watch and even more hysterical for the players! See here for details of Bubble Soccer 2 U, as well as other party options including Nerf wars and archery.
2/ Kids Pantry cooking school, now in Deakin, host teenage cooking parties for teenagers over 13, with a variety of fun and age appropriate themes. If your teenager particularly enjoys cooking, as well as his or her friends, it is a great way to spend a couple of hours and be able to eat the rewards at the end. Choose between a Disco Party, Pizza Party, Ice cream Parlour Party, or create your own theme. See here for details.
3/ Events in Canberra are held all throughout the year and if the dates coincide with a birthday, then they can easily be a turned into a full day of teenage fun and celebration. Over the summer period Ben and Jerry's Openair Cinema is set up on the Patrick White Lawns outside the National Library, for movies and icecreams under the stars. The ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show is held each February and is a great opportunity to spend the day on some hair-raising rides and eating junk food, before staying up for the fireworks at night. Skyfire is an event held each March, which has popular music acts perform on stage at Regatta Point before fireworks over Lake Burley Griffin. Other ideas include The Winter Festival with outdoor ice skating, as well as Canberra Raiders games and sporting finals.
Spend the day at ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show. Image: Original photos from ActewAGL Royal Canberra Show Facebook
4/ Guild board game restaurant is a popular venue for all ages, so it is suitable for groups of teenagers on their own or as a family celebration. This venue literally has hundreds of board games to choose from, with many new games and old school favourites making a comeback. The food is also a winner, with a variety of pizza options and if you visit on a Tuesday night, it is also two for one pizzas - which halves the cost of the whole evening (see their Facebook page to confirm each week). Book a long table, or if it is just a family of four see if you can grab a booth. The cost of playing the games is just $3 "gameage" per person. See here for details and here for a full article on Guild board game restaurant.
Old fashioned fun and pizzas at Guild. Image: Original photos from Guild Facebook
5/ Corin Forest Mountain Retreat is a fair drive from the northern suburbs of Canberra (45 minutes or more), however if you live in the Tuggeranong area it is a scenic 25 minutes drive up the hills. Although not a typical birthday party idea, teenagers and all ages love speeding down the alpine bobsled track on toboggans - brakes, or no brakes! The most economical way to enjoy the alpine bobsled track is to buy a pass of 10 rides for $50, which you can divide amongst your group. Be warned though - once will not be enough. In winter they stop the alpine slide and open a snow play area with taboganning and a short ski run. After these outside activities, head back inside the main lodge to warm up by the fire and enjoy delicious wood fired pizzas. There are also picnic areas if you wish to BYO. Corin Forest Mountain Retreat is open weekends, public holidays and all ACT school holidays. See here for details. For a full article on Corin Forest Mountain Retreat, see here.
Get back to nature - and have some thrills - at Corin Forest Mountain Retreat