Can you believe Eliza turns 7 this week?
Having a January birthday can mean organising a party can be a tricky business, as many local attractions close for the winter months and the weather is rubbish.
With four brothers at home, Eliza is a bit of a tomboy and whatever they can do, she wants to do it too and when she discovered that Rockreef do children’s birthday parties, she was adament that was what she wanted to do.
Rockreef is a climbing activity centre on Bournemouth Pier and offers 28 unique Clip ‘n’ Climb walls, the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ climbing challenge, a HighLine aerial obstacle course and endless amounts of fun for participants, whilst pushing and testing their agility, confidence, climbing and problem-solving skills.
We chose the Clip ‘n’ Climb party, which she shared with her school friend Felix, as their parties clashed last year. The party includes 1½ hours activity time on the climbing walls and 45 minutes for food and large table was set up for us in the cafe, with balloons, a birthday surprise and jugs of squash in case the kids needed a break for a drink.
I have to admit I did wonder if people would turn up as we had torrential rain and high winds on Sunday, but they all braved the weather and valiantly headed up the pier with excited children in tow. With 20 children to organise, I have to say that the staff did a brilliant job of getting them kitted out and watching the safety video, whilst the parents were handed hi-vis jackets and shown how to clip and un-clip the kids from the walls.
And then they were off!!
Having climbed at Rockreef before, Eliza was straight to the top of the walls, along with Isaac and his friends.
The children that had not climbed before headed for the training walls and were shown what to do by the helpful instructors, with Eliza heading over to give her friends a helping hand when she spotted their nerves.
Eliza’s friends are mostly age 6 and 7 and some were very nervous of the walls, but I have to say their determination was amazing and the phrase “If you don’t at first succeed, just try, try again” was certainly apt for the day.
With the help of Mums, Dads and the instructors they were soon climbing high.
Although I paid for a climbing wall only party, we did upgrade Isaac, his friend and Eliza so they could go upstairs and do the HighLine aerial obstacle course, which is suspended 20ft in the air.
The swinging obstacle course includes a diverse mix of challenges, including the Swing Logs, Free Beamer, the ever-moving Cross Logs, Hi-Low Steps, Cargo Net, Tunnel and the Slope Walk.
You need to set your level of challenge and difficulty before you take on the HighLine obstacle challenges and recommend you start on easy and work you way up although Isaac and Eliza both did it with blindfolds on first!!
Sebastian, who was poorly last week, wasn’t feeling himself so wasn’t keen on joining in with the climbing this time, but did enjoy a spot of caving in the Pier Cave.
Before we stopped for food, there was one more surprise for Felix and Eliza – the chance to do the Vertical Drop Slide. Felix bravely went first and then it was Eliza’s turn.
She had to wear a full body suit to protect her skin and to give her extra slide-ability and Daddy gave her a pep talk as the handlebars were winched down. She then had to hold on tight as she was pulled up and up to an upright position. The kids can choose how high they go with the highest height a scary 25 feet up.
Although she didn’t make it to the top (I don’t blame her), she bravely made it to the first level, not once, but twice and whizzed down the slide with a massive smile on her face!
It was then time for food and being a cold and wet January day, we opted for the hot option, which was a Pizza buffet, with ice cream cone and soft drink. The cold option is a sandwich buffet, sausage rolls, crisps, ice cream cone and soft drink.
The surprise in the named envelopes on the table was that the party child receives a FREE Clip ‘N Climb Voucher as a present from RockReef, so we get the chance to go back.
Eliza was over the moon with her chocolate rock climbing cake from my very talented friend Michelle from Sculpted Bakes.
I can highly recommend Rockreef as a party destination. We were well looked after and the staff were friendly and helpful throughout. They were also happy to accommodate some food allergies in our group and provide an alternative menu for the individuals concerned.
The Rockreef clip ‘n’ climb party costs from £13.50 ph off-peak (£19.50 peak) or you can opt for a combo party which includes entry to the Pier Caves or High Line Aerial Obstacle course for £18.50 ph off-peak (£24.50 peak). Minimum party size is 8.
For cake inspiration, head over to Michelle’s blog to discover some of her secrets and other incredible creations: thesculptedbaker.wordpress.com/
Happy 7th Birthday Eliza!!!