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FEATURE//KIDS' PARTIES

Birthday Alert: KL's Funkiest Outdoor Parties for Children

Are you looking for exciting new ways to celebrate your child's birthday party? KL has some fantastic outdoor venues guaranteed to thrill and surprise your party troops

Words Helen Hickey Photos Alison Morgan, Andrew Sill, Erica Pakasi & Helen Hickey

I HAVE SEEN MANY A CANDLE BLOWN OUT at KL's Jungle Gym, Kizsports and Megakidz. Children adore exploring their techni-coloured chambers and netted labyrinths, while parents relax a little. No wonder they are so popular. The problem is they are in shopping malls, which on weekends you either love or loathe. It took one Saturday afternoon completing loops around Megamall's crowded underground car park--minutes of a party ticking-away--to know which category I fell in. It was this irritating experience that started the ball rolling. Why party indoors? We live in the tropics after all: blue skies and glorious sun; in the mornings at least. Yes, the great outdoors. Pool parties are cool, literally, then there's the inflatable `bouncy castle' garden party. But-- with a sprinkling of imagination--several really `funky' ways to party will leap out and shout "pick me!" What about playing Cowboy and Indians on horseback at a riding stable run by an Apache warrior, riding through your neighbourhood in a flashing siren-sounding fire engine, or swinging from tree-to-tree in the jungle just like Tarzan and Jane? If you hear a resounding yes to any of the above, ditch that shopping mall party you were planning and no, you don't need a party planner--just take a deep breath--and read on! BE A FIREMAN FOR THE DAY WITH CAPTAIN bala and his fire engines. WWIII might be erupting from your car: a lost pacifier and bickering tired kids, but have you noticed nothing works better at silencing the din than a fire engine's siren? What is it about that piercing siren and electrifying blue lights kids find irresistible? Who knows, but arrange for one to arrive at your child's birthday party and watch those little chins drop to the floor. When not on an Earthquake search and rescue mission, supplying food to remote tribes deep in the jungles of Sarawak, Captain K Balasupramanian, `Capt Bala', founder of Malaysia Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association, brings his lovingly maintained fire engines and crew to inject a `little action' into children's parties. "People look a bit shocked when we turn up," laughs the mighty Capt Bala; they assume there is some kind of emergency. They can be forgiven for drawing such a conclusion when fire engines 113 and 212 and ambulance coming hurtling towards the party, lights

flashing and sirens whirring. A deployment to a birthday party is pretty urgent it seems! Once the entourage grinds to a halt, a dozen uniformed firemen will leap into action by dressing the children in groovy fireman hats and jackets ready to be whisked away for a thrilling ride around your neighbourhood. Children also pretend to put out a fire! Yes, they are given free rein to spray jets of water from fire hoses, with unsuspecting parents being a game target ... If you are looking for a more educational slant, Capt Bala can incorporate his fire safety tips. One involves teaching the children to `stop, drop and roll' in the event of their clothing accidentally catching fire. "Simple but important advice that's easily learnt," adds Capt Bala. At their recent fireman party, Alison Morgan, says her two boys were "wild with excitement from start to finish." The mums had an unexpected thrill too--all those men in uniform! The beaming birthday boys left with special mementos of their day, model fire engines and hats; Morgan was left with the worry of "how on earth will I match this next year?"

At their recent fireman party, Alison Morgan, says her two boys were "wild with excitement from start to finish"

Party with Capt Bala

Bookings Call Anita Lim Tel: 012­288 5067. [email protected], www. mvfra.org Cost The birthday party program is a charity raising activity. Contributions-- suggested minimum RM750--go to "MVFRA Ambulance Fund". Operate Sunday mornings one­two hour visit. Fire engines are fully operational and are subject to emergency calls, although a rare occurrence on Sunday mornings. Tips Lilian Wong (see general information) makes a wicked fire engine cake. Venue By arrangement, will come to your home or Bukit Kiara.

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Themed birthdays take the cake

If Big Chief cannot beguile your children into doing a rain dance, he will certainly thrill them with pony rides

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KIDS' PARTIES

LET BIG CHIEF SHOW YOUR COWBOYS AND indians `how' to party! So we are a long way from the Wild West plains of America ... or are we? Look northwards on a clear day and you might spot a wisp or two of smoke rising up through the forest canopy of FRIM (Forest Research Institute Malaysia), Big Chief 's smoke signals. Mohammad Adam, or Big Chief as he is known around his meandering stables on the outskirts of FRIM, is at his best when impersonating that great Apache Warrior `Geronimo'. He will greet his little chiefs, tiger lilies and gun toting cowboys wearing a feathered headdress, fringed leather suit and waving a tomahawk! Don't forget to say "How!" If Big Chief cannot beguile your children into doing a rain dance, he will certainly thrill them with pony rides around his enclosed arena that has a smoking fire as its centrepiece. He "enjoys bareback riding through the jungle" like a true Apache, but doesn't expect that of the little ones. Riding hats are supplied and

instructors accompany the ponies. The stables, Forest Horse Riding Park, are a haven for children. There's Big Chief 's collection of strapping ex-racehorses he rescued from the slaughterhouse, billy goats, duelling cockerels, Namibian guinea fowl and a gaggle of geese; sure to keep boredom at bay. Parents can enjoy all under the leafy shade of the forest canopy. Bring your barbeque along and if you really want to push the boat out, hire Kenneth Perera and his partner, dressed as cowboys, to get the partying swinging with their selection of honky-tonk tunes.

Party with Big Chief

Bookings Call Big Chief, Tel: 016­274 4408. Forest Horse Riding Park, Jalan E 5/1, Taman Ehsan, Ulu Kepong. Despite the smoke signals he's tricky to find! The new CzipLee--see general information--has a template party invitation showing directions: advise guests not to enter FRIM by main entrance, but pass it on your right and continue 1.4km until a row of link houses and golf course are reached, Big Chief's stables are sandwiched in-between. Cost RM1,200 for the hire of stables 10am­2pm, two ponies, instructors and Big Chief himself. Eats Enlist dads to do the barbeque. Bring cooler boxes filled with ice and plenty of water. Fancy dress Susie Harvey of Kampung Kids has wonderful Cowboy and Indian outfits. Tel: 012­911 1737 [email protected] Get creative Children may enjoy making Geronimo headdresses out of card strips, feathers, double-sided sticky tape and sequins. Music Kenneth Perera Tel: 013­302 0107. [email protected] Operate Saturday or Sunday, mornings best. Tips Book a Lilian Wong Cowboy and Indian birthday cake (see general information)-- terrific! Oh, and bring extra toilet roll, hand towel, hand soap, mosquito repellent and sun cream.

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Kids will be flying high on excitement

IF YOUR CHILD ENJOYS SCRAMBLING UP trees, walls or stair balustrades then try a high rope course party deep in the jungles of Shah Alam. Skytrex Sdn Bhd's adventure course constructed among the rouge trunks of colossal Meranti trees will give your cheeky monkeys the high flying escapades they crave; without the worry of an unwelcome trip to A&E. It's the handy work of Julien Repellin, a 37-year-old rock climbing enthusiast, who in 2007 brought the craze--`Le Parc Aventure'-- from his native country France to the jungles of Taman Pertanian Malaysia, formerly Bukit Cerakah. Over 500 adventure parks have sprung up in France since 1995, but Repellin raves about Malaysia's rainforests, which are "superb for courses such as this." Little Adventure, a series of aerial obstacles for young children, was built by Repellin with the help of FRIM's tree rangers and experts. Its 15 challenges, positioned three to five metres above ground level, will have your children weaving through vertical plastic poles, jumping from rope swings, or tightrope walking. You'll soon see why challenges are named after animals like the `Tupai Terbang'--flying squirrel or--`Rangkak Cicak'--crawling lizard. Repellin says the most popular is the `Selam Badak', or diving hippopotamus, where children "zip down two connecting flying foxes that span two ponds, covering a distance of 120 metres to the circuit's end." Parents can watch, from the cool shade of `skydeck'--the central picnic area--as their children bound round as many loops of Little Adventure as possible within a two-hour period. Allison Tasker recently held her daughter's seventh birthday party there. What she likes most about Little Adventure is "it tests and

Skytrex is an eco-friendly entertainment provider: not one tree-bolt was used in constructing the course

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KIDS' PARTIES

All kitted out for climbing

GENERAL PARTY CONTACTS

BALLOONS Balloon Buzz has a great selection of reasonably priced latex/helium filled balloons in its five KL stores. Free delivery offered for large orders. www.balloonbuzz.com BIRTHDAY INVITES For creative designs see Jason Chen at the new [email protected] CzipLee Plus. 10 Jalan Telawi 4, Bangsar Baru. 03­2287 0699. [email protected] CAKES Can't beat Lilian Wong's cakes--classic butter with full fondant icing best for outdoors--but book early. Tel: 03­7493 2513, [email protected] Or try Mama Min's great designs. Tel: 012­202 5550. [email protected], www.mamamin.com Making your own? Check out www.2decoratecakes.com

encourages kids' self-reliance." It was lovely to see Katie and her friends helping one another too she added. "That's what you call teamwork!" Skytrex runs a 30 minute safety briefing where registration forms are filled in, harnesses fitted and instructions given for using the carabineers and pulley. All cables and equipment undergo stringent testing by Cete Apave SudEurope, the French safety regulator. Seven instructors armed with walkie-talkies

keep a beady eye on the little adventurers and help with any `emergency exits'. Older children, 12 years and above, might try the more challenging Big Thrill course. Skytrex is an eco-friendly entertainment provider: not one tree-bolt was used in constructing the course; tree platforms are cleverly secured with pressurised supports. Plans are underway for placing educational displays giving children `fun facts on trees'. EL

EATS Enlist dads to manage the barbeque! Pick up bangers and burgers from Jarrod & Rawlins--they will also come and cook it for you--Kumar Ramasamy Tel: 016­211 2199. www.jarrod-rawlins.com. Alternatively, try Fogal's Meat Market Deli Plaza Damas, Jalan Sri Hartamas. Tel: 03­6201 3206. PARTY GEAR [email protected] at Ikano Power Centre, Tel: 03­7722 1058 has an extensive collection of co-ordinated themed party accessories. There is a new smaller branch store at 11 Ground Floor, Jalan Solaris 3, Solaris Mont Kiara, Tel: 03­6203 6858. PARTY FAVOURS Buy in bulk at wholesale prices from Happy Planet 18 Jalan Sultan, Tel: 03­2078 3607. [email protected] com

Party with Skytrex

Bookings Tel: 013­276 9841. [email protected] skytrex-adventure.com, [email protected] skytrex-adventure.com Cost Little Adventure RM25 per child or adult with maximum of 25. Big Thrill RM25 for 12 years or under, RM35 for over 12 years. Park entrance fee RM3 per adult, RM1 for child. Eats Barbeque supplied on request or bring picnic. Skydeck has ten picnic tables costing RM30 each, book at least three. Discount 10 per cent discount given on total price (excluding park entrance fee and any decorations) for groups of ten or more. Party decorations For RM350 Skytrex arranges helium balloons, table-covers and party banners and bunting. Restrictions Minimum height 1.1m and maximum weight 100kg. Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays Slots 8.30am, 10.30am and 12.30am. Weekdays bookings require minimum 25 persons. Skytrex Shuttle bus Departs from park's entrance gate every ten minutes. Travel Directions given on website. Allow one hour's travelling time from KL centre. Wear Comfortable clothing and trainers. Bring hat, sun cream and mosquito repellent.

PHOTOGRAPHER Try Photo EFXS 68-1 Jalan Telawi, Bangsar Baru. Mr Ghani Tel: 019­262 4267 or 012­213 2156. Alternatively Talking Pictures 25 Jalan BM1/4, Taman Bukit Mayang Emas, Petaling Jaya. Eric Tel: 012­3310 610 or 03­7804 2523.

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