Dining & Entertaining

Party planner

Throw a bash that will wow the kids (without the work)

McHenry County Magazine
Donley's Wild West Town in Union
Donley's Wild West Town in Union

For your next kids party, forget the party hats and streamers, and throw a bash your kids and their friends will be talking about for years. From hosting exotic animals at your own home to spending a day in the Wild West, area establishments are helping local families plan epic parties to make every child’s birthday more memorable than the last. 

Here are a few places to consider for your next kid-friendly celebration:

1411 S. Eastwood Drive, Woodstock
815-338-7990 | woodstockgolfandgames.com

Why plan one activity when a slew of fun activities await the kids at Woodstock Golf and Games? 

Home to one of Illinois’ largest outdoor go-kart tracks, Woodstock Golf and Games is also home to five batting cages, an arcade room and a mini-golf course. The 18 holes of golf come complete with waterfalls and castles, and gets even better after dark when the course lights up.

There are a variety of packages available for parties for kids of all ages and, although they don’t include food, there is a restaurant on site. 

The most basic package is $10 a person and includes mini-golf and 12 video tokens. The second option includes mini-golf, 12 video tokens and two batting tokens for $12 a person. The last package includes golf, a go-kart ride, two batting tokens and six video tokens for $15 a person. 

847-504-7036 | animalquestinc.com

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! OK, well maybe not those kinds of exotic animals … but Animal Quest has the kinds of animals that are sure to keep any birthday party guests on his or her toes. 

Animal Quest, which was started almost six years ago by Steve and Jessica Reedy, is a traveling educational animal show featuring some 80-plus animals.

Steve Reedy, who is originally from Crystal Lake, met Jessica Reedy at America’s Teaching Zoo of Moorpark, California. After getting married, the couple returned to the area and currently reside on five acres in Antioch. 

Animal Quest makes home visits for parties all over the Chicago area, but – eventually – the couple hopes to purchase more land to create a small zoo that allows visitors.

“We started with, like, 15 animals, but we have over 100 now,” Jessica Reedy says. 

Each party can be customized to fit whatever the hosts would like, but most have an educational show with a petting zoo.

Animals vary from hedgehogs, tortoises, snakes and lizards to petting zoo animals like goats, chickens and bunnies.

“It’s interactive and fun for the kids,” Jessica Reedy says. “Everyone loves animals. The adults will even tell us that they learned something, too.”

Jessica notes that a lot of families want to avoid the creepy critters, such as snakes and cockroaches, but others request amphibians, dogs and rabbits. 

“We usually try to bring a variety of small to medium animals,” Jessica Reedy notes. “But we can definitely customize it. Everyone is a little different in what they want.”

The parties are perfect for kids of all ages (Animal Quest even does adult parties), and they cater each event to different age groups. Pricing varies, and the family-run business is willing to work with every host to make each party a special one. 

8512 S. Union Road, Union
815-923-9000 | wildwesttown.com

Since 1974, Donley’s Wild West Town has been bringing unique adventures to McHenry County for kids of all ages. 

From panning for gold pyrite at the Sweet Phyllis Mine to shooting slingshots at Huck Finn’s, there’s always something new and interesting for children to explore. 

For $17 (minimum of 20 children), children receive lunch, ice cream, and access to the museum and Wild West Town, including pony rides, an archery range, carousel rides and much more. The price is good Monday through Friday, through August, but additional party information can be found by calling Donley’s Wild West Town. 

All of the activities are recommended for children ages 3 to 12, and it also asks that there is an adult present for every 20 kids. 

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