You have officially survived parenting for 365 days! You have lived off of only a few hours of sleep per night, and if you are anything like me, you have probably obtained Gold Level status at Starbucks from the amount of coffee you have consumed in just 12 months. This all calls for a BIG celebration. I remember being so stressed out trying to just pick a Pinterest-perfect theme and an outfit for my son. After I figured out that I wanted a red wagon themed party and got my son the matching shirt, I started to panic.
Where would I have this party?
I wanted to have a large party filled with friends and family to help me celebrate the big occasion, yet I had no idea where could I throw a party that could hold that many people. My house certainly couldn’t. However, moms of babies in Lake County, stress no more. I have rounded up a list of the best venues and party locales to celebrate baby’s first birthday.
Please note, it is always a good idea to book your party several months in advance if you would like a specific date. Some venues fill up three months in advance for weekend parties, which was shocking to me.
Where to Celebrate a 1st Birthday in Lake County
I remember hearing about a dozen times not to stress too much, that first birthdays are more for the mom. If you are inviting mostly your adult friends and family, then renting a party room is your best bet. Most venues allow you to bring their own food and pretty much run the party however you would like. However, you are on your own for entertaining your guests, which can be difficult if there are many young children in attendance.
Libertyville Civic Center
135 W. Church St., Libertyville | (847) 918-8880
Located right across from the Cook Park Library, the Libertyville Civic Center is a popular choice for first birthday parties. What is especially nice is that it is right down the street from Lovin’ Oven Cakery, and you can literally walk your cake down to the party. I threw my son’s party here and have been to several other baby and bridal showers here as well. The rooms are very plain, but you can bring your own decorations and food. (Trust me, I spent about an hour decorating.) I remember it being one of the more reasonably-priced venues in the area. There are discounts available if you live in Libertyville as well.
Highland Park Community House
1991 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park | (847) 432-1515
Located just a few steps from Highland Park’s business district is the Highland Park Community House. It has a historical landmark status to it as well. You are free to bring any catering you wish. In addition, all tables, chairs, fridges, ovens, and any other equipment you need is included with your rental fee.
Round Lake Beach Cultural & Civic Center
2006 Civic Center Way, Round Lake Beach | (847) 201-9032
With several options for rentals, space to hold up to 500 people, and great window views of Hook Lake, this is a perfect place to host a celebration.
Many park districts offer room rentals or park rentals at reasonable prices. Here are some of the park districts in the area that offer rentals:
- Mundelein Park District allows you to rent either the Chalet or the Regent Center as well as rentals at the Spray Park and various park gazebos around town.
- Vernon Hills Park District has rooms available to rent in the Sullivan Center and Laschen Community Center. In addition to these options, you can also rent an indoor pavilion at Century Park or gazebos at other parks around town.
- Libertyville Park District allows you to rent party rooms at the Libertyville Sports Complex.
- Park District of Highland Park has rentals available at Rosewood Beach shelter, Highland Park Country Club, the Heller Nature Center and various parks. My cousin had a party for her daughter at Sunset Park and we all had a fantastic time.
- Grayslake Park District offers rentals of the gym or a conference room. Summer birthday? Rent out the pavilion at Century Park so you can have a spray park party. Or you can rent a pavilion at Jones Island Beach.
- Lindenhurst Park District has rentals available at most of their parks, the gym, and the community center.
- Barrington Park District has a variety of rental space at the Lodge, the Pavilion at Citizens Park, and the Lagendorf facilities. In addition, you can rent grills and projectors from them so you can display that perfect one year montage of photos.
- Fox Lake Park Distict allows both residents and non-residents to rent space at Lakefront Park and Veterans Park.
- Round Lake Area Park District is a easy choice because it has so many varieties of spaces to rent. You can choose to out a park, the senior center, or a multipurpose room at the community center and sports center. The golf course also has rental space available in their clubhouse during winter months.
- Wauconda Park District has rental space available outside in gazebos, in the gymnasium, and in rooms in the community center. It is a nice choice not only because it is affordable for residents and non-residents, but it also allows you to rent kitchen space in the community center rooms.
If your child is a social butterfly and you are inviting many kids, then it might be wise to hold your party at a special party place. These places usually have some sort of entertainment. You are also given a host to help make sure your party is running smoothly (plus they will do most of the cleanup as a bonus).
Yu Kids Island
122 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills | (847) 680-3800
Walking into Yu Kids Island is like walking into a real life version of the game Candy Land. With the brightly colored swings, balloons, and things to climb on makes it feel like every child’s dream come true. The recently added an addition of the climbing play place gives children more options for play. This party place is best for children with only young friends, as there is a height restriction to play. Check out our review and our post about New & Improved Parties at Yu Kids Island.
401 E. Route 60, Volo | (847) 201-1120
Hippo Campus is a newer creative play place in Volo. They have five different rooms that all encourage sensory stimulation, and is perfect for younger children. And they offer birthday parties here. Parties include two hours of open play in their play space, snacks and drinks, and a pass for the birthday child to come back and play another day.
Children’s Neighborhood Museum – Round Lake Park District
814 Hart Road, Round Lake (Located in the basement of the Robert J. Rolek Center) | (847) 546-8558
I love the Round Lake Children’s Neighborhood Museum, and I have only heard wonderful things about their parties. This museum is a very small scale version of a children’s museum. It is basically one big room with fun things like a mini grocery store, stage, doll hospital, and garage. You can keep an eye on all the children at one time here. Parties here are very affordable and include a party room for cake.
Deerfield Park District Treehouse
836 Jewett Park Drive, Deerfield (Upstairs in the Jewett Park Community Center) | (847) 572-2628
You may have gone to open gym at the Deerfield Treehouse before. If not, the Treehouse is basically a small scale version of a playplace located in the upstairs of the Jewett Park Community Center. The play space has an eight foot tube slide, mountain climber, a spring walk, web crawl and double cush-n-cube bags, as well as much more for your little ones to play with. Children must be under four feet tall to play.
Northbrook Court, 2188 Northbrook Ct., Northbrook | (847) 205-0080
Located in Northbrook Court is the perfect party place for your little one. Gymboree can host parties for up to 20 kids in their gym. To me, there is nothing better than not having to do any work to prep for a party. Gymboree’s party hosts provide all of the entertainment, goody bags, paper supplies, and cleanup duties for your party. They also have several themes to choose from, including a special first birthday theme, dinosaur party, sports party, an art party and even a princess party.
Kohl Children’s Museum
2100 Patriot Boulevard, Glenview | (847) 832-6600
Who could not love the Kohl Children’s Museum? With their endless rooms full of exhibits and hands-on activities I have to drag my son out every time we go. The museum and parties are recommended for babies up to age eight. However, even as an adult I love this museum. The Kohl Children’s Museum offers parties for up to 40 children in their party rooms. I love that you can bring in your own food and decorate the room how you please. However, if you would like, they will supply the food for your party from Cosi and provide cupcakes.
Lambs Farm, 14245 W. Rockland Road, Libertyville | (847) 362-4636
What could be sweeter for your little lamb with a summer or spring birthday than a party at the Farmyard? Lambs Farm hosts parties in the warmer months of the year. The parties come with Farmyard passes, unlimited rides on the carousel and miniature train, and unlimited rounds of miniature golf. Party-goers also get to enjoy freshly-baked cupcakes under their outside pavilion.
701 N. Milwaukee Ave Ste 360, Vernon Hills | (847) 247-8000
20429 N. Rand Rd., Kildeer | (847) 438-8600
Everyone knows Chick-fil-A is the crown jewel of fast food restaurants around here. I love the always-friendly workers and my son loves the just-right sized play place. Chick-fil-A also offers birthday parties, too. I think it would be so perfect to have a first birthday party there since the play place is just the right sized for very little ones to play.
Where will you be celebrating your child’s first birthday? Tell us in the comments!