Flashback Friday: Taking it Back to Petite Parties at the Park with Our Top Five Los Angeles Parks for Children's Events

What happened to petite parties at the park? Although public parks were the main children’s party destination of the eighties and nineties, birthday parties at the park have sadly become an endangered species. Parties have taken a slightly fancier turn. We (clearly) love the intricate details and unique themes that have become increasingly popular and trendy, but sometimes a messy day at the park is just what little ones need. Who said we can’t take a little fancy to the park, anyway? Set up a gorgeous dessert table with sentimental and beautiful details to make the playground a little more swanky. Many eighties and nineties babies can attest that birthday parties at the park were some of the most glorious days of childhood. Involving cheesy delivery pizza, ice cream cakes, party hats, piñatas and of course, hours of running around without a care in the world; park birthday parties simply rocked. If you’re overwhelmed with party planning, keep in mind that kids need only a few simple things (like swings, grass, friends, and cake) to feel like they’re on top of the world. Many beautiful Los Angeles parks will serve as a perfect and affordable venue for your next petite party. We’re bringing you ten of our favorite Los Angeles parks that are just right for children’s birthday parties. 

Polliwog Park

photo via mbcity.info

photo via mbcity.info

Polliwog Park in Manhattan Beach reigns as the South Bay’s largest park, sprawling over 18 acres and offering a throng of entertaining features and facilities.
— Laist

This gorgeous Manhattan Beach Park is just perfect for petite parties. With a huge playground that will have the imaginations of pint-size guests running wild, lovely ponds, and plenty of lush space for you to celebrate, this park is the number one choice for many petite party planners in the South Bay. The grounds offer beautiful gazebos, picnic areas, and even an amphitheater that can be reserved for several hours. Note that barbecues are not permitted at Polliwog, but a good ol' box of piping hot pizza is always permitted, and welcomed with open arms by all guests, small and tall.  Visit the City of Manhattan Beach website for more information about this awesome location just minutes from the strand.  

Travel Town

5200 Zoo Dr.  Los Angeles, CA 90027 

photo via trainweb.org

photo via trainweb.org

Travel Town Griffith Park offers several locations for kids birthday parties including outdoor picnic areas and inside vintage railway cars. The town railroad will thrill your party guests as it travels around the museum two times on each trip.
— Daytrippen

Give your train-themed petite party the backdrop it deserves at the Travel Town Museum! As an iconic spot for birthday parties, this supercool location definitely gets two thumbs up from the kiddos. From the real train ride to huge trains waiting to be explored, this place will keep all of your guests entertained from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave! You can celebrate SoCal sunny days by reserving the outdoor picnic area or even renting a train car (um, awesome!) for your event. Visit the Travel Town website to get the four-one-one.  

Griffith Park

4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90027

Photo courtesy of Michael Locke (flicr) via Discoverlosangeles.com 

Photo courtesy of Michael Locke (flicr) via Discoverlosangeles.com 

...Griffith Park offers a variety of activities for the entire family, including miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, golf courses, tennis courts, children’s playgrounds, camping, and “The Plunge,” a summertime swimming pool.
— Discover Los Angeles

Griffith Park is without a doubt, an LA staple. This HUGE park (thanks to Red Tricycle, we know that it is actually five times bigger than Central Park in NYC...crazy, right?) You'll find everything from museums, plenty of playgrounds, pony rides, awesome hikes, zoos, trains, and golf courses... just to name a few! One of our favorite aspects of Griffith Park is its carousel. Nestled amidst lush greens and gorgeous trees, the whimsical attraction is a gem. With countless picnic areas throughout the park, you'll have no trouble finding the perfect spot to host your petite party. Find out more on their website

Lake Balboa

6300 Balboa Blvd, Encino, CA 91316

             Photo courtesy of  Discover los angeles

             Photo courtesy of Discover los angeles

...this park has a gorgeous 19,600 square foot play area, where your kids can bounce and swing and climb to their hearts’ content. This is the Valley’s only universally accessible playground (one of 10 in the LA Parks system) “where children of all abilities can play side-by-side.
— CBS Los Angeles

Voted the "Best Park" by CBS Los Angeles in an article titled "Best Kids' Stuff in The San Fernando Valley, Lake Balboa at Anthony C. Beilenson Park (a.k.a Balboa Park) offers a multifaceted and beautiful setting that is just right for petite parties. With a universally accessible playground, many picnic areas, a stunning 27-acre man-made lake, and Japanese Cherry Blossoms in the springtime, there is plenty to do and see at this Encino park. With so many activities including fishing, bike rentals, and kayaking, little ones will have the time of their lives! Check out this information page via the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks for more information on park reservations and rentals.  

Casa Adobe De San Rafael and Park

1330 Dorothy Dr. Glendale, CA 91202

Photo courtesy of  city of glendale website

Photo courtesy of city of glendale website

The park is 1.3 acres in size and is nestled at the base of the Verdugo Mountains in a residential neighborhood. Amenities include a walking trail, a garden and a shaded picnic area with wooden tables, benches and electric outlets.
— City of Glendale Community Services & Parks

Now, THIS is a hidden gem if we've ever seen one! Well, kind of a not-so-hidden gem now (it's been featured in many magazines and sites), but this place is too charming to stay a secret anyway. Nestled in the beautiful Jewel City, Casa Adobe De San Rafael can be your own private petite party oasis. We love the huge outdoor brick fireplace, picnic pavilion, and all of the green open space just waiting to be transformed into a stunning setting for birthdays, showers, reunions, or any other petite party. There is no playground, which may be a perk for some (especially if you want to provide your own entertainment without having to compete with the play equipment). According to KCET, this Glendale charmer has a lot of history: "The Casa Adobe de San Rafael, one of the only remaining adobe casas ever constructed during the Rancho's existence, was built in the 1870's for Tomas Sanchez, first sheriff of Los Angeles County and the husband of one of Verdugo's granddaughters..In addition to the beautifully refurbished home complete with a covered porch, brick patio, and sunken garden, the park also includes a picnic pavilion." Visit the city's website for more information on reserving this awesome spot for your next soiree! 

Tell us what you think! Are park parties actually endangered, or are they coming back with a bang? Which of these is your favorite? Got two cents to spare?...please share! (see what we did there?) Seriously,we'd love to hear from you.