What’s a special birthday? The day you turn twenty-one. The day you turn forty. Your daughter’s sixteenth birthday. The year you finally buy a house, get the promotion or have a great snowboarding season? What’s a special place? Anyplace that creates memories. Here are ten top places to celebrate that special birthday.
The Campbell County Rec Center features a 42 foot tall climbing wall that is loved by climbers of all ages. Kids always love having a birthday party at this amazing facility.
If you have a daughter who studies ballet, let her show off her pirouettes on ice! Take her and her fancy-dancing girlfriends to the indoor rink at the Cam-Plex. Drop them off at a public skating session. You can also arrange a private birthday party at the rink. Stop by Mountain Mudd on the way home for hot chocolate and pastries for them, coffee for you.
If the kids are hotshot cyclists, give them what they want. Pick up your ten-year-old son and a couple of his BMX buddies and truck them over to Razor City. Let them wear themselves out on the track. Then load them up with sodas and takeout from the fast food place of their choice. Enjoy a sweaty, dirty bunch of guys in the car on the way home. Then take the party extreme with BMX videos. Check out Markit Zero on iTunes.
Dad’s birthday is a cause for familial celebration. Head for the rodeo. Check ahead for the Cam-Plex rodeo schedule. You might agree to postpone the party until a favorite event comes along, like the roping championships or the bull riding. Afterwards, serve a big cake at home, with candles, presents and a rousing chorus of “Happy Birthday to You.” That’s what memories are made of.
The mom in question might be a senior citizen with time on her hands or a thirty-something career woman with too much to do. All mothers will love a day off. Drive her over to Thermopolis and let her soak in the ancient healing waters. A nice dinner afterwards is in order. If she’s a young, busy mom, spring for a sitter and spend the night at the spa. Relaxing helps us live longer. What better birthday present could there be than that?
Okay, City Slickers isn’t everybody’s idea of what really happens on cattle drives. Getting together with old friends can very easily involve horses, though. Maybe one of your old college buddies is the first to turn thirty. Maybe one of the guys grew up on a ranch. Drive out to the Bighorn Mountains and take to the trails. There are lots of trails available. You can also have a great day of hiking, bicycling or OHV riding. Any mode of transportation works, as long as there are stories to tell afterwards.
Not for the faint of heart, a helicopter tour of the Badlands gives a unique perspective on on a landscape that has been vital to American history, mythology and film. North by Northwest is the Hitchcock movie that features Mount Rushmore as a shooting location. It’s a case of mistaken identity, but the Cold War spies don’t leave Cary Grant’s character alone. Cinema buffs love special effects, too, so a helicopter ride is just the ticket. You can talk your friend down on the long ride home. Tours depart from Custer.
Some birthdays are rites of passage. Turning twenty-one is a big event. So is turning fifty. Drive out to the Wind Cave National Park. Climb down into the earth. Breathe with it. Feel the earth respiring around you. Take your time. Transform yourself.
The Chef Dines Out
If one of your friends is a really good cook, chances are he or she is very sociable and outgoing. Chefs are always testing the menus wherever they go. Instead of picking a high-class joint, find a friendly, sociable bar and restaurant that you know your friend the cook enjoys. Invite everybody, letting them know they pay for their own meal (but can order as they like). Reserve a big table or small room ahead of time. Make sure it’s a night there’s music. That’s it. All the work is done. Enjoy.
Simple and obvious, right? Still one of the best things to do for a friend’s birthday. Check out the concert schedule at the Cam-Plex, or find out who’s playing at Jake’s Tavern. Text friends, and let everybody decide on the right music choice. Give the birthday boy or girl a say as well. After all, he or she is the reason for the party. This should involve a meal, where everyone gets to toast — or roast — the friend. Post the aftermath on youtube.
Treat yourself right this birthday. Invite your friends to join you for a beer tasting. Gillette has not one, but two microbreweries in town. Prairie Fire Brewing and Gillette Brewing Company are within a mile of each other. Perhaps your crowd already frequents one. If not, this is the night to try them both. Then saunter over to the Chophouse for a birthday meal.
Photo Courtesy of CCPR