As my son Max’s birthday drew close I pondered many ideas for what to do for a 1-year-old’s birthday. Max is the type of kid who is more excited by the wrapping paper than the gift – so planning his first ever party was a challenge. He likes empty water bottles and books…sounds more like a dolphin than a child. Then it came to me! “Ponies For Everyone!” The idea was simple, a pony for Max and a pony keg for us adults. Undoubtedly, Kate was a little skeptical at first. “Where are we going to find a pony?” We agreed that since this was my hairbrained idea I needed to do the legwork, so I set out to find a pony.
Hooray for Google and living in the Midwest which made short work of my equestrian detective work. I found a couple who kept miniature ponies and brought them to parties all the time. Then I saw that they had a mobile petting zoo and that was when all awesomeness broke loose!
At 11 AM on Saturday Max woke up from his nap to find the house was filled with balloons and snacks. Grandpa and Dad were in the back yard tapping a pony keg, which we then performed multiple quality control tests on before any guests arrived. At 1 PM things got interesting when a trailer parked in the driveway, from inside the trailer came the bleating of a lamb, the clucks of a chicken, and the sound of hooves on metal. The petting zoo had arrived! At 2 PM the party started and eventually our back yard became ground zero for all things kid-like and pony. The petting zoo consisted of…
- A miniature pony
- A miniature donkey
- 2 miniature goats
- An alpaca
- A chicken
- A duck
- A bunny
- A 2-week-old baby lamb
Max went crazy with delight! He pet every animal, fell in love with the baby lamb, pointed to the duck and said “ducky,” and was thoroughly confused by the chicken (seeing as “chicken” was what he had for lunch). Adults sported red solo cups and like paparazzi of toddlers, we descended upon our children armed to the teeth with camera phones. Inside, grandparents devoured french-onion-dip clad chips, children jumped on chairs, cookies were gobbled, toys were played with, and the toddler party ensued. It was the best party I’ve ever been a part of…I had the best time possible.
At 4 PM Max went arms deep in cake…his pupils dilated as the sugar coursed through his tiny body and instinctively he signed for “more” immediately! Kate and I helped blow out candles and held each other as we marveled in the beauty that is an elated 1-year-old. Max had what must have been one of the best days of his life! It was an epic birthday.
Birthdays are very much for the parents at this stage in the game…Max will never remember this when he is older. However, planning a party that was designed for him while providing fun for the adults was the ultimate bonus! The adults were as excited to see the petting zoo as the kids, and to spend time with their children in the petting zoo was a memory for everyone. It was AWESOME!
So next time you are planning a party for a 1-year-old and wondering what to do? Petting zoo. If you live in the area you have to use Four Points Petting Zoo, they really made the day happen. These people were amazing, they were great with the kids, they made it educational, they cleaned up all droppings, and simply made my son’s birthday the greatest!