Monday, 23 April 2012

Canberra Kids Parties

The first birthday party I organised for my son in Canberra took a lot of searching and increasingly I am finding more and more fun things to do for kids parties in Canberra.  Fairies, pirates, petting zoos and more.

Canberra Kid's Party Venues:
Farm Yard Nursery
This is a fantastic place to have a birthday party.  They have a small kitchen area with a little electric oven to heat things up.  It's all BYO food and cakes.  Balloons and party bags can be included if you want.  We had our son's second birthday here and he had the best time.  Lamas, chickens, chicks, lizards, ponies, bunnies, budgies, guinea pigs, calves, lambs.  Whether or not you get to hold a baby animal is dependent on breeding season.  We had the party in June and it was getting a bit fresh outdoors but it was wonderful and the party helpers are fantastic.

Lake Burley Griffin Cruises - Pirate Party on Springbank Island
Your captain will take you to set up your party on Springbank Island and then return to pick up your crew of scurvy landlubbers for a pirating good time aboard.  Set sail for your very own pirate get away on Treasure Island.  I haven't tried this one but I have gone for a cruise aboard the Cygnet on one of the spectacular days we had in Canberra last week.  My son got to man the wheel and actually steer the boat, which was very exciting and great camera fodder.  Garnet was a lovely skipper, nice for a 45minute treat for Mum and child at $10 for adults and gold coin donation for children.

Classic Children's Party - Fairies and Cow Boys
The Cherry Seed cafe in Gold Creek has some of the tastiest cupcakes I have ever had and holds a very sweet kids birthday.  With the beautiful green out behind the old Nicholls school house, they have a perfect place for a warm weather birthday party.  I passed by a fairy party they were holding while having something to eat at Sweet Copper (yum), it looked like magic.

Dinosaur Themed Party
Excellent party location.  Children get to run wild all afternoon through the play land.  The party gets called in for some cake, food and party games led by your provided party host.  The food that is provided is not just your usual fried chicken nuggets but there are some yummy little sandwiches, fruits, fresh sliced veges, chips, nuggets (of course), popcorn and more that I cannot recall any more.
Lets Play Themed Rooms - Pirates, Jungle, Underwater, Unicorns, Dinosaurs
The party rooms at this new indoor fun center at Gold Creek are beautifully painted and the indoor play equipment is lots of fun.  Sadly adults to not get to accompany young children through the play equipment and they are confined to an area with their own jumping castle and fun equipment.  This works out better and safer for school holidays and other times you know these places are going to be overrun with older children.

Lets Play - Space Odyssey
Yet to see but looks amazing on their website.

DanceKids Birthday Party
Dance Kids take care of providing all the entertainment you could want at a party.  Their programs include costumes, music, dance and movement and always have an educational component which is exciting and entertaining.  My son and daughter have their birthdays on the same day so we asked Sue and the daycare if we could hold the party there.  It was an amazing party and Sue showed fantastic stamina keeping ahead of the five and three year old's with abundant energy and enthusiasm.  We had one Dinosaur themed party and a Rumble in the Jungle party back to back.
These pterodactyl nest are a coconut heavy, traditional, cofur free chocolate crackle recipe and doubled up as eagles nest for the lion themed party my daughter had.

Kids Pantry - Cooking Party
Love kids pantry.

Pink Kisses - Princess, Fairy, Mermaids and Pirates, Teddy Bears Picnic

High Tea Hire Canberra
Beautiful equipment for your children's party for hire at very reasonable rates.

Bubble Party - This is a great party idea for younger children.  I was walking from a train station in Tokyo and what almost seemed like a mums and bubs flash mob turned up with a bunch of bubble tools and created the most amazing bubble party in a small patch of green in between the concrete and steel.  It was incredibubble.  Find some fantastic tips and solution recipes from FireFrog's Bubbles.
Rainbow Party - The Sweetapolita blog shows a gorgeous rainbow themed birthday with heaps of great ideas to share.

Leave it to the Proffessionals:
Addie and Me

Yummy cupcakes from Jazz Apple Cafe.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cupcake recipe:
This recipe makes to most delicious, moist and decadent chocolate cupcakes.


      200g dark chocolate, chopped (dark eating chocolate, not compound chocolate)
     125g butter, chopped
     1 3/4 cups (375g) caster sugar
     1½ cups (375ml) buttermilk
     3 eggs, beaten lightly
     2 cups (260g) plain flour
     ½ tspn baking powder
     (original recipe called for 1 3/4 cups plain and 1/4 cup of self raising but we don't keep self raising flour in the house)
     ½ cup (50g) cocoa powder
     1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda


Preheat the oven to moderate (180’C/160’C fan-forced). Grease selected pan/s (see below), line base and sides with baking paper.

Makes around 24 cupcakes.

1. Combine chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted.
2. Whisk in sugar, buttermilk and eggs.
3. Whisk in combined sifted flours, cocoa and soda.
4. Pour mixture into prepared moulds.  Only fill to half way, for smaller moulds this should be a heaped tablespoons worth of cake mix.  Do not leave this mixture for long as the chocolate mix stiffens and becomes difficult to get into the moulds.
5. Bake in a moderate oven for time specified for individual cakes (deep 15cm round = 1 hour 5 mins and deep 22cm round = 1 hour 15 mins, cupcakes = 15 - 20 minutes), or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool cupcakes in moulds for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.  I like using

150 ml thickened cream
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa

pour the cream into a bowl, sift in cocoa and icing sugar and whisk until the cream starts to thicken.  This makes a delicious and sweet icing without having too much sugar in it, decrease the icing sugar if desired, it will thicken because of the cream to a good consistency for piping.  The one downside is it is doesn't have as long a life as icing mixture made up mostly of icing sugar and you either have to keep refrigerated or pipe on shortly before serving.

Lemon and sour cream cupcakes
Chocolate isn't loved by everyone so tossing in a flavor alternative is always great if you can be bothered and these cupcakes are delicious.  I'm thinking of checking out if I can make these chocolate because they are so light and fluffy and chocolate and sour cream sounds yum.

25 g soft butter
220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3 medium eggs
2 tbsp lemon juice
150 g (1 cup) plain flour
60 g (1/3 cup) self-raising flour
100 g sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 180C.
2.Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest, then add eggs one by one, fully incorporating each one before adding the next. Stir through lemon juice.
3.Sift flours together and fold in carefully, alternating with sour cream.
4.Spoon into a prepared cupcake moulds.
5.Bake in a moderate oven for time specified for individual cakes (deep 15cm round = 40 mins and deep 22cm round = 50 mins, cupcakes = 10 -15 minutes). Test the cupcakes by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean the cake is ready; if it doesn’t, cook for a further 5 minutes and test again.
6. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from tin. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

I used the same icing as for the chocolate buttermilk cupcakes but left out the cocoa and added the zest of one lime.

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