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Park puts out welcome mat for parties

Posted: March 17, 2013 - 12:13am
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Special Photo  Studing lake ecology is one of the activities available for birthday parties at Mistletoe State Park.
Special Photo Studing lake ecology is one of the activities available for birthday parties at Mistletoe State Park.

Birthday-party planning just got a little easier for those who want to enjoy the outdoors.

Mistletoe State Park in Appling will begin hosting birthday parties beginning in April. The park will unveil its “Get Out & Play: It’s a Birthday Party” on April 6 from 2-4 p.m. Admission is free with the $5 park pass.

Guests will meet the park mascot, play carnival games, enjoy nature hikes, experience geocaching and participate in scavenger hunts, said program assistant Brenda Bettross.

“And of course, no birthday celebration would be complete without a birthday cake,” she said.

The park, which was recently presented the Best Year-Round Programming Award by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, will offer the parties under its “Come Out and Play” theme. The party mascot is the Georgia State Park Gopher.

“When possible, the Georgia State Park mascot will make an appearance during the birthday party on a party package reservation,” said Bettross, adding that park naturalist Julie Ashley will lead most of the parties.

“Julie has worked with children for years and has been a party hostess for five years,” she said. “She is very enthusiastic and excited about this new adventure.”

The park will offer two party packages. One will involve just a ranger-led activity for the group. The second package will include staff-provided entertainment, party decorations, five park passes and exclusive use of the picnic shelter for the entire day. Additional options – a cake, goodie bags, an additional program and a T-shirt for the birthday child – can be added to the second package.

“We want to get kids outdoors and enjoying nature,” said Bettross. “There are many places parents can choose to take kids for a birthday party, but none of them offer the outdoor experience Mistletoe is offering.

“When it comes to activities, nature offers something for everyone. From hiking, outdoor cooking, pulling a large net through the lake, geocaching to recreational games, our birthday parties offer the opportunity for kids to get out and play.”

While the park hasn’t had requests to help with birthday parties, many people have asked about renting a cottage for a night for a birthday party.

“Unfortunately for them, we require a two-night reservation for our cottage rentals,” said Bettross. “This birthday party package could give them another option.”

For more information or to make reservations for a party, call (706) 541-0321.

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