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Try A Child's Joy, which you'll think could be more aptly named A Parent's Joy after you've done business with them. This one-stop party planner has everything you might want to rent for your little darling's birthday or bar mitzvah. Inflatable slides, bouncy rooms, mechanical rides? No problem. Clowns, jugglers, face painters? Those start at a measly $120 an hour. A Child's Joy is home to enough livestock to populate several petting zoos, and their friendly party planners are ready to help you organize the best bash your kids have ever attended.
Other parents will hate you for pulling off such a cool party, so long as you don't tell them how easy it was, thanks to your new pals at A Child's Joy.
If you're looking for something between a ride in the space shuttle and a shrug of acknowledgment, call up the good folks at McCormick-Stillman. In addition to having the best play area in the Valley, the Railroad Park offers a square deal on parties that both your kid and your wallet will appreciate. The nice price $57 plus $3 per child guest includes the use of a covered ramada, various games facilitated by two "recreation leaders," free rides on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad and the Charros Carousel, a Railroad Park T-shirt and paper engineer hat, ice cream, and punch. All you bring is the cake and the kid. See? That was easy.
"I live in an apartment and it's great to have a place she can run around at," says Corzilius. "The park is a god-send." We're sure Rev. Beecher would agree, Fred.
It shouldn't be surprising that the biggest and best dog park is located on the side of Tempe that has the fewest residents in swanky South Tempe, not the aptly named Sin City district near Arizona State University. We got lost trying to find it the first time, in part because the north-south Hardy Drive doesn't go through from Guadalupe to Elliot roads. The sports complex is so big, we were lost after we got there, too. We thought one of the fenced-in softball fields was the dog park until our old pooch started straining at her leash, pulling in the right direction.
Dogs will find plenty of room to roam here and we usually sit on top of one of the picnic tables to avoid the slobbery, though friendly, snouts that come our way. The grass was in perfect shape in early June, and gravel areas break up the open space and give the mutts something else to explore. Gates also divide the park's middle, but they're always propped open, a couple with a floppy brown Lab told us. When we were there on a weeknight at about 8 p.m. (it's open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.), the place was full of flouncing Fidos and their owners. Rosy went home exhausted.