The Best Kids' Party Ideas Devon Has to Offer
There’s more to Devon than Dartmoor and there’s more to kids parties than disappointment...
From rickety old water slides to easily-distracted climbing wall instructors, the pitfalls of the children’s birthday party are as numerous as they are dangerous. Aside from the scraped knees, grazed arms and meltdowns, there’s the very real and more alarming danger that your kid’s birthday party will be boring. And that would simply never do. If you’re planning a staycation out West and looking for kids’ party ideas, Devon has a wealth of party venues and attractions to suit all ages. And seeing as inviting a lacklustre clown into your garden to create sad balloon animals no longer seems to cut the mustard, we’ve provided five exciting kids’ party ideas, Devon, to keep the little ‘uns happy and the big ‘uns sane.
Slime. Not something one generally associates with having a good time. Yet, inexplicably, it has an allure which children seem to find irresistible. It’s not a new fad – as anyone who watched Dave Benson Phillips in Get Your Own Back empty buckets of the stuff over traumatised parents in the early 90s will tell you. But while it used to be enough to just cover people in slime to provide mega entertainment, it is now used as a handy teaching aid in what’s known as Science Parties. Now these are a new fad, but provided there’s slime involved kids go crazy for them. North Devon-based Sciencedipity provide hands-on, engaging parties with just the right ratio of fun to learning. They’re also mobile, which means they can bring the party to your Plum Home as part of a family getaway. After all as the old saying goes, there ain’t no party like a science and slime party.
While some parents might thoroughly enjoy getting heavily involved in the running of a child’s party, most really don’t. In fact the dream tends to be observing the chaotic fun unfolding from afar. Dipping in and out to take the occasional snap, then retreating to a safe distance for adult chit chat – perhaps a cocktail. At Aztec Leisure in Torquay, that dream comes true. With activities ranging from soft play and aqua jets to 10-pin bowling and archery depending on the age of the children involved, this option delivers maximum enjoyment for kids with minimal input from parents. Win win. And there’s a bar.
There’s only one thing kids love more than animals and that’s extinct animals – AKA dinosaurs. At Combe Martin Wildlife and Dinosaur Park the lucky devils get both. Large animatronic and static dino models are dotted around the park, with fossils and educational stuff in the on-site museum. On the non-extinct animal side, the park’s collection is as impressive as its dedication to conservation. The Dinosaurus Playzone –a giant indoor adventure playground– is available to hire for parties. Once the kids are nicely knackered, we would suggest a relaxing ride on the Dino Express Train followed by a visit to Critter Cavern. This is the sort of wholesome unforced fun that can be enjoyed by parents as much as kids, provided neither group is terrified of dinosaurs or creepy crawlies.
Younger teens and ‘tweens’ can be a hard bunch to please. But the smart folks at the Bear Trail seem to have it sewn up. Imagine a Tough Mudder scenario but without the requirement to run 12 miles or be electrocuted by anything, followed by a barn dance. That’s the Bear Trail. The kids spend a couple of hours zip wiring, scrambling, tunneling and tumbling around the muddy assault course, before wood-fired pizzas under the stars and an awkward teenage dance in the barn. It’s a simple formula, but one which places the Bear Trail at the top of many 'kids' party ideas Devon' lists for South Devon’s cool kids. Or kool kidz, if you will.
When did escape rooms become so popular? Did it coincide with the return of the Crystal Maze? Is this all Richard O’Brien’s fault? While we at Plum Guide are certainly the experts when it comes to travel and escapism, when it comes to actually escaping from something, you might be better off seeking advice from someone else. And in Devon, that someone else is The Original Escape Room Co. With a range of themed experiences in Dartmouth and Newton Abbot, you’ll be spoiled for choice with novelty rooms from which to escape, you lucky things. And if this really doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, remember that kids love it, you’ll get some serious parent points, and that there’s a slim chance they’ll never escape, leaving you with plenty more free time to pursue your hobbies. Prices start from £12.50 and there’s an optional tea party at £5 per kid, for those who make it out.
Planning a trip to Devon and looking for the perfect area to stay? You're in luck, here's our quick guide to where to stay in Devon. And if you're ready to see the very best accommodation each area has to offer, you're in exactly the right place: Plum Guide is the definitive list of the world's best vacation homes. Each property has been personally vetted for quality by an independent home critic –who inspects everything from the wifi speed to the art on the walls– so you can book with peace of mind.