Codornices Park Birthday Party: Keeping it Simple - 510 Families
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Codornices Park Birthday Party: Keeping it Simple

For my son’s ninth birthday we decided to throw a fun but simple party at Codornices Park in Berkeley. It was easy peasy to put together, pretty cheap and everyone had a blast.  So if you’re looking for a laid-back birthday party that won’t break the bank, here are the details on entertainment, food, and cost.

Another great Berkeley birthday party idea>>

kid going down large slide
The slide at Codornices Park in Berkeley is built-in fun for a Birthday Party | Photo: Julie Herson

Codornices Park Birthday Venue

So admittedly our party was pretty small, with only four invited friends (plus siblings, parents, and dogs). Thus we didn’t rent one of the two reserved areas with tables at Codornices. If you have a larger party, you can rent the party areas for $90 for four hours by going to the City of Berkeley’s recreation registration catalog page.

Pro Tip: The picnic area just north of the fenced tot play area next to the creek is first-come, first-served (re: FREE). So have someone come in the morning to set up decorations to hold the spot if you’re interested. Otherwise, bring a fold-up table, some chairs, and a blanket to set up the celebration hub anywhere in the grassy field.

Birthday Entertainment

The park itself is entertaining. Depending on the age of the birthday kid, entertainment could be as simple as the stone slide, playground, and a few basketball and soccer balls. For our party, we also brought along some Frisbees, a giant Jenga, and Paddle Battle, all of which are easy to transport and tons of fun for the kids and adults. Codornices would also be a great place for a bubble show. Sterling Bubbles is one performer we’ve heard is fabulous. Find more entertainment ideas in our Birthday Guide >


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Pro Tip: Take a look at Craigslist and Nextdoor for “lawn games” or “outdoor games” and you’ll usually find some great options. I found the giant Jenga, brand new, for $20.

I also printed up a simple scavenger hunt page I found online, which you could use as competition for prizes, or just for fun. I used this free printable, which is also great for younger kids who will use the pictures if they can’t read.

Party Food in the Park

Our party was in the morning, so bagels and donuts were an easy choice. We went high-end on the bagels (Boichik), but Noah’s NY Bagels is also a solid choice and much cheaper (less than half the price!). You can order ahead and it’s easy to lay out a pretty sweet spread that’ll delight adults and kids alike. We also brought along some fresh baked gluten-free muffins as an option for those with gluten sensitivities (this is a great mix). For drinks, coffee for the adults and juice, chocolate milk, and sparkling water for the kids. We got our coffee from Peet’s just down the street, but Noah’s also offers coffee for a crowd if you’re getting your bagels from there.

donuts and bagel party spread
Bagels and donuts for a morning birthday party at Codornices Park | Photo: Julie Herson

As far as donuts, there are plenty of fabulous spots to choose from, but we went with Dream Fluff on Ashby since it’s right near Boichik and the donuts are awesome. We arranged the donuts in a circle and put candles on: cake done! (If you want a real cake, check out our handy Birthday Cake Guide)

Simple Party Decor and Goody Bags

We kept it simple with decor, with just a few things from Paper Plus Party store on San Pablo Ave in Berkeley. Their helium balloon prices are much lower than Safeway’s, and they have plenty to choose from as far as plates, napkins, and signs for cheap. For goody bags, we found some fun things at Daiso, the fun Japanese store in El Ceritto. They have inexpensive little LEGO-like pouches and other small toys, as well as fun stickers, pens, and little notebooks. Mr. Mopps also has a terrific selection of small, inexpensive party favor-type toys.


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birthday goody bag
A simple birthday goody bag | Photo: Julie Herson

Cost Breakdown

Here’s a basic breakdown of the cost for our DIY party in the park:

  • Entertainment: $20 (we already owned the balls and other toys we brought)
  • Food & Drink: $140 (imagine if we got the cheaper bagels)
  • Decor: $10
  • Goody Bags: $30

Grand total: approximately $200!

Bottom Line on a Codornices Birthday Party

Birthday Parties can get complicated and expensive, so keeping it simple at Codornices Park was a great option for our family. Everyone had a ton of fun, set-up and clean-up were pretty simple, and the final cost was reasonable. I think we’ll probably have another birthday party at Codornices in the future.

What’s your favorite place to throw a simple birthday party? Let us know in the comments!

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