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National Parks themed birthday party, Photo by Kelly Christine Sutton

National Parks-Themed Birthday Party

a birthday celebration with a Smokey Bear piñata, nature bingo and campfire fare

Rita Renner and husband, Eric, first bonded over their shared love of the outdoors. So, for daughter Ryan’s first birthday, it was only fitting to celebrate the great adventure of parenthood with a national parks–themed party.

About 50 family and friends made the trek to “Ryan National Park” in the backyard of the family’s home in Uptown Dallas. A handmade garland heralded a festive “Happy Birthday” message, while postcards of parks and monuments collected by the couple over the years set the outdoorsy scene.

Guests posed next to the wooden park sign constructed by Ryan’s grandfather and Pinterest-quality balloon garlands fashioned by Perez and her sister. The Dallas mom thoughtfully sourced other woodsy decorations from local retailers like Flea Style, Peek Kids and Viv Jordan Studio.

Plenty of cool drinks, snacks and games kept everyone happy campers. Typical campfire fare like hot dogs were served straight from the grill and washed down with soda, sparkling water and chilled applesauce pouches. Guests also munched on kid-approved trail mix like “tiny twigs” (pretzels) and “snakes” (gummy worms). BIRD Bakery provided a layered forest-themed cake for guests and a vanilla smash cake just for the birthday girl.

Ryan—dressed in a Junior Ranger outfit—and her friends scavenged for sticks, rocks and flowers in a bid to win games of Nature Bingo. The highlight of the party, though, was the life-size Smokey Bear piñata. Perez says that Ryan couldn’t get enough of watching guests of all ages swat away at the papier-mâché mascot. The petite park rangers left the party with nature-themed coloring books, notebooks and stickers.

Field Notes

Photography Kelly Christine Sutton // kellychristinephoto.com
Wood platters HomeGoods // homegoods.com
Cakes BIRD Bakery, 7 Highland Park Village, Dallas // 214/780-0322; birdbakery.com
Wood menu cards Viv Jordan Studio // vivjordan.com
Smokey Bear piñata ABC Party Headquarters, 1414 W. Davis St., Dallas // 214/943-5588
Nature notebooks Peek Kids, 8687 N. Central Expressway, Dallas // 214/987-2537; peekkids.com
Junior Ranger outfit eParks // shop.americasnationalparks.org
Stuffed animals Flea Style Deep Ellum, 3009 Commerce St., Dallas // 469/520-3222; fleastyle.com

This article was originally published in November 2018.

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Photography courtesy of Kelly Christine Sutton