Admission Fees at Party Venues
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Admission Fees at Party Venues
Just wondering if people think it's tacky to invite guests
to a birthday party at Fairyland (or any other place with an
admission cost) w/o covering the admission. We are
considering having a kids party at Fairyland in the winter,
when they don't do hosted parties (that include admission).
Thus if we did cover admission for all our guests, one of us
parents would have to stand outside the gate for who knows
how long with a group ticket. Not practical. Other
solutions? Is it considered okay not to cover that cost?
Thanks for your opinions! (Just to be clear, the party would
provide food, drink, and treats for the kids!!)
we did a non-hosted party at fairyland for my daughter's 2nd birthday. We
invited 2 of her friends & their families from daycare. We met at the gate &
paid for the admission. I think it is tacky to invite people & expect them
you can always picnic near a park & take your kid their solo for their
to whatever paid location.
I don't think it is ok to invite someone to a party that
they have to pay to get into. When I had my daughter's
party at Fairyland I paid for each child and one parent
because I did not want to be responsible for 20 little
kids at Fairyland. I made it clear on the invitation that
I would have 2 tickets for each family and I expected a
parent to stay. Over 90% of the families attended, some
people brought other family members and paid for the extra
guests themselves. It was no problem at all, I waited
outside with the tickets, most people are on time, then
someone else in my family waited for the stragglers and I
went in. You can always give people your cell number and
they can call or text when they get there if they are
late. Fairyland isn't that big you can walk to the
entrance in a minute or so from anywhere in the park. We
did a party package but also purchased an extra block of
tickets that I believe you can purchase at any time. I
think it is 10 tickets for slightly under the face price
of the ticket, $75 or so. It is a great place to have a
Don't do it
In my family, the person hosting the party paid for the
party. They might ask people to bring a dish but that's it.
I was surprised when I moved back here as a adult to be
continually invited to birthday parties at restaurants
where I was expected to pay for myself and for a portion of
the birthday boy/girl's dinner and drinks. To me it's
horribly tacky. It would be different if a group of people
planned a dinner for the birthday boy/girl and then paid
for it. But I have been continually stunned by people who
plan their own birthday parties and then expect others to
pay for it. If I do the planning/inviting then I pay. One
time a friend planned one of these dinners for her
girlfriend and then was upset that 1) She had to pay $40 on
the bill because others hadn't paid enough; and 2) No one
brought her girlfriend a cake. It was unbelievable. I told
her that if all she had to pay to host a party was $40 then
she got off easy.
Your question about Fairyland strikes me as the same kind
of thing. You're planning the party and inviting people so
you should pay for it. The logistics could be difficult
which is one reason why I've never had a Fairyland party. I
wonder if you could leave a card number with them and then
pay the entrance fees for your guests at the end when you
know how many attended?
Party host pays for party
Yes, it is kind of tacky not to pay for your guests It's a party, after
all, and you wouldn't ask them to bring their own (i.e. pay for) food to
an event at your home.
Let guests know they need to show up on time (and of course allow
for a reasonable chunk of time to wait for them). If they're late, they
miss out. Shouldn't be that hard for anyone to grasp, especially as I
imagine your party will only be a couple of hours.
We've done two FL parties. The first we did in party area and did wait
around at the entrance for late guests and it was annoying and
stressful, especially when one didn't show up. The second we held in
the picnic area (open to anyone), bought tix in advance (I think when
you buy a certain number they are discounted) and posted one person
at the gate to give out tickets within a certain window of time.
BTW, FL tix don't expire so you can use any leftovers on subsequent
Not OK, sorry. You're the host of the party, you should pay.
One option might be to pay a teen $10 to stand at the gate for an hour
out the tickets. After an hour, any late-arriving guests would be on their
Not polite to charge admission to parties
I'm not sure you will want to hear this but I don't think
it is right to ask people to pay for *anything* if they
are invited to a birthday party. Period. This is something
that always has bothered me, and I can't understand how
people think it is ok. We often get invited to parties at
Roberts Park and the parking fee is $5.00. Not right.
And, it's not just the Miss Manners thing. It's that
people don't always have the money, and shouldn't be asked
to pay for an invitation. Seriously. Choose another site
or be inconvenienced and have an adult friend (or a teen
you know who needs a ''job'') stand at the entrance to pay.
We've hosted a party at Fairyland. We paid for one parent and one child per
family. I gave the tickets out beforehand, I didn't want to be waiting at the
gate during the party, especially as we booked a party area, and we only had it
for a short time. I did have to tell a couple of people that we weren't paying
for siblings though, in contrast to all the people who feel they are always being
asked to pay as guests, I find it incredibly rude when people bring siblings to
events and expect the host to pay. I think that's up to the family who is
attending if they want to bring additional guests to the party. I second the
person who said it's good to have more parents. Kids fan out after the cake, so
unless they are older, it's good to have parents around to keep tabs on their
own, take them to the bathroom, etc.
pay for invitees only
Although I'd graciously go along with it if invited to a party where I had to pay
an admission fee, it would bother me a bit. I would graciously go along with it
because the point of good manners is to make others feel comfortable, but I would
be a little uncomfortable about it! When throwing a party, you are the host. Do
what you can afford and people (including your kid) will be delighted with just
about any social occasion that is a genuine celebration of the kid's birthday.
Things don't have to be fancy! A few nuts to snack on and a cake in someone's
small house is fine with me! I think we (as a culture) make little kids'
birthday parties too overblown anyway and a sure sign that it's getting out of
hand is that you're considering something you can't really afford.
Nonetheless, whatever you do, I hope it is a nice party.
My daughter will be turning 3 in a few weeks, and I am just now
starting to plan her party.
I'm looking at all of the possibilities, and I remembered that
she loves fairyland and you can use the picnic area for a group
picnic, and pay a group entrance fee that will admit 10. That
would cover the kids, but not the adults or any siblings that
would be brought along.
We cannot afford to pay for the parents as well. Is this
incredibly tacky? What would you think if you were invited to a
kids bday party that you had to pay an entrance fee for?
I'm thinking I should think of a better plan, but am sort of
stuck on the idea right now and would love some advice!
Any party that you can't afford is a bad idea. There are always
extra expenses on top of those you expect especially when you go
to a location like an amusement park. After several years of
staging elaborate parties for my little one, I've realized that
she is just as happy playing at the park with cake and friends.
All of the parents are grateful, too, for not having to travel
and spend loads of time and $ on the party. I know it is your
darling's special day but truly everyone will enjoy it more if it
is low key.
former fancy party mama
Although I have never been to a party that requires admission
fees, I would not have a problem with it at all! Especially in
this economy! I would make it VERY clear on the invitation that
you do not want birthday presents, given that they will be paying
their own entrance fee. If it were me, I would include a note
with the invitation, explicitly stating that you will not be
covering admission, so you don't have any families showing up and
being upset that they aren't getting in for free. Something
like, ''In these tough economic times, we will be unable to
provide free admission for your family. We do hope, however,
that you will be able to join us at Fairyland...blah blah blah.''
You might want to check with Fairyland though...I know that
oftentimes places (like the zoo) have ''official party packages''
in which they provide various services and include admission for
the guests. That, however, might be pricey.
Another Frugal Momma
Incredibly tacky. You are responsible for hosting a party you
can afford (if you in fact choose to have a party). Host 5
kids with their 5 parents if you can only afford 10. Until
your child reaches ''drop off'' age for parties (as early as 5;
more often 6 and up) you will need to count a parent or
guardian with each child you invite. (And I won't get into the
uninvited siblings who may show up, despite the fact that the
party may have a ''per head'' cost...)
Your party, you pay
I think that it would be better to choose a party venue with no
entrance fee for parents. I know that my son enjoys birthday
parties, and I am happy to bring him to them, but I would be
fairly unhappy if I were expected to pay to attend them. It
would influence my decision about whether to even come to the
party, and if I did decide to come, I'd feel resentful. If you
are really set on this venue, could you invite 5 children and pay
the entrance fee for one parent for each child?
Against paying for parties
The children are three, so their parents would be required to
attend this party, right? I would be annoyed if my child were
invited to a birthday party that I had to pay to attend, and my
attendance wasn't optional. I probably would quietly turn down
the invite without telling my child about it. I have many, many
years of birthday parties in my past, and the only one I remember
where parents had to pay, was a party for older kids where parent
attendance was optional, and the admission fee was high (Great
America.) Why not have it at home? We are having an at-home
party for my 8 year-old next month, as we have done every year,
because that's what he likes the best.
Low-key is the way to go!
If the children are too young for you to take care of all of
them, so that a parent is required for each, then YES, you must
pay for at least one parent for each child. You can't invite
someone and make them pay! That is not a party, it is a
But it's OK to say ''no siblings.'' You can also scale down the
party: just invite four kids and four parents.
If you can't afford to pay for all your guests, have a cheaper
party in a park or at your home. 3-year-olds love parks; they
don't really notice how much you spend on them. Take your
daughter to Fairyland alone sometime.
no need for expensive parties
We have been invited to several entrance fee parties, and the invitation
something like ''In lieu of gifts, we are asking that you pay for your
family's entrance to
the park.'' We have had no problem with this, because we know ahead of
time and can
make our decision on whether or not to go.
In light of the current economic difficulties for many families, however,
is it possible
for your family to hold the party at a place where no fee is required?
Or, can you talk
to the park facility about a group rate?
Yes, I would be annoyed to be asked to pay an entrance fee for a child's
I think you should have an inexpensive birthday party at a public park (if
you have it
mid-afternoon, you don't have to serve lunch, just cake and beverages) and
arrange to take your daughter and her best friend to Fairyland some time
Birthday party veteran
if you are ready to cope with 10 three year olds on your own,
then you don't need to pay for the parents. Just write on the
invite: children should be dropped off and picked up at the
If you want the parents to come, then you need to invite them and
pay for them. If you can't, have the party at a park where it is
Hmm.... Well, first of all, if you're going to go this route you
should be VERY clear up front about the fees involved. What
about this... you should be prepared to pay for the people you
invite (kids??) and pay for them. In the invitation state
something to the effect that the entrance fee for parents and
siblings is $X. NOW ASSUME that parents will just drop off their
kids and you will be in charge of **ALL** the kids by yourself.
Because of the age group (3 years old????) I personally think
this is somewhat tacky (sorry!) and I would kindly refuse the
invitation for my child if s/he were invited (to me it's a
different story if the kids are 8 or 9 years old)....
alternately, if you said ''fairyland entrance fee is included for
one accompanying adult; siblings and additional parents are $xx.''
~ this seems more reasonable to me. I TOTALLY understand you
don't want to pay for my whole family and you are being clear up
front about what your boundaries are. I might actually come in
this case. Whatever you end up doing, have a great time!
I think that would be tacky to require parents to pay. How
about planning a picnic/party at a park where it's free? The
picnic tables by the parking lot near Tilden's little farm are
free and the kids could play on the new play struture and/or go
see Little Farm, all free? (You could supply lots of lettuce
and celery for the kids to feed to the animals.) Try to find a
way to pay for all guests, or do something else.
I wouldn't like to be invited to a party for which I have to pay...
Maybe you could go with your child to Fairyland and then have a
party at the park for everybody or at other enclosed location
that doesn't charge for the adults?
Having said that, when I go to parties in private places and want
to bring ''the other sibling'' I always ask for permission and
offer to pay for his portion. My children have always been
welcomed to the parties and sometimes I pay, while others I'm
told it's not necessary. Also, when I bring ''the other sibling''
I always try to go a little further with the present (whether
I've been asked to pay for the extra fare or not.)
I think this is tacky. I would plan on being able to cover the
entrance fee for all you invite - parents, siblings, etc. If
you cannot pay for the parents, then supply the adult manpower
to supervise the children you invite and make it clear on your
invites that it will be a kids-only party. But truly, I might
consider a thoughtful party in your home, and go to Fairyland
with a special friend for a playdate perhaps.
Your guests will be grateful
I recently went to a b-day party at fairyland for my 5 yo son's
friend. The email invitation asked guests to pay their own
entrance fee in lieu of bringing a gift (of course, stated in a
more lovely way). It was a great party and I was pleased to
attend with my son. Most of all, I was appreciative that I
didn't need to experience my usual guilty consumer angst while
shopping for a gift.
I would be pretty put off if someone ''hosted'' a party and then
expected me to pay to attend. If you are not requiring the
parents to stay and are willing to supervise all the kids on
your own, then it should be an option. If you want/need
parents to come, you must be willing to pay for them. If you
can't afford that, then maybe you should be looking for a
different venue. Maybe Bay Area-ish parents think this a
modern reality but it does seem incredibly tacky to me...
--Old school etiquette follower
Don't do it. One alternative is to pick one or two of your
daughter's closest pals and just have them and a parent come
along. That's an age-appropriate size party anyway. There is no
way parents of 3 year olds are just going to drop their kids off
at Fairyland and not stick around to keep an eye on things. And
having them pay to go to a party is tacky. Scale back or do
something different. I have older kids (10 and 14) and they don't
even remember their birthday parties before age 5. And we kind of
went all out back then. It was fun, but in a few years it isn't
For a 3 year old party, I would not require the parents to pay a
fee. Either pay for them or have it somewhere else. 3 is a
little young for a lot of kids to be left alone. So you are
asking them to either leave their small child alone without them
for the party, or foot part of your bill. At older ages you can
make the assumption that kids get dropped off, and in that case I
think it is OK for parents to have to pay if they do want to come.
Furthermore, it can be difficult to watch a group of kids in
Fairyland as they can all run in different directions. You will
need the other parents help, so you should pay for them.
- parties are expensive!
Yes, it is tacky. Entertaining within your means is definitely
the way to go. How about a picnic up at Tilden? Maybe event
parties will be an option when your child is older and her
friends come without entourages.
Bide your time
I think you should consider a picnic at a public park instead.
It's awkward to ask parents to pay, and unless you're completely
comfortable asking, and comfortable with people saying they can't
do it, then I'd avoid it and stay w/in your means. Alternatively,
you can have a party where you pay for 10 and only invite 2 or 3
other friends and their parents. I've had plenty of simple
backyard parties, and they're easy. (except for the cleanup). But
you don't have to shoo people away. My experience with the
parties at a special place is that some people are excited to go
in part b/c they don't have to pay, and ALWAYS there is some
other kid (friend/sibling) who ends up tagging along. I am
extremely uncomfortable asking people to pay their own way, even
when I have explicitly limited the party to the kids I
specfiically invited, and explicitly said I can't accommodate
siblings. And yeah, not to be rude to you, but it does come
across as tacky, since there are other ways to have a party.
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