For parents of young children looking for a good place to throw a birthday party, the Robert Livermore Community Center is a great option.

My daughter recently had her third birthday party there, and I was impressed with all it offers. The shallow pool and play area seemed pretty safe for my daughter, who is in swim lessons but is still learning how to float on her back and kick up and grab the wall.

I was nervous at first about the babies and toddlers at the party -- anytime there is water involved there is a danger -- but I soon realized the play structure was very safe, and the parents enjoyed going in there with their kids. Since my wife and I were playing host, I asked my teen cousins to go in the water with her. My cousins seemed to have as much fun as my daughter.

There are little kid slides and water features, and then there is a big kid slide. The young adults and teenagers had a great time on the big slide. There is also a huge lap pool for the more serious swimmers.

You can rent out a room or patio area for two hours for about $100, and that comes with plenty of wristbands that allow kids to play in the pool and water slides.

Since I have a huge family, I rented out the Fiesta Room and the patio area next to it as well so people could spread out a bit. but we probably could have gotten by with just the Fiesta Room since many people spent much of the party time in the pool area. One challenge of having a party there is getting everyone rounded up for cake or piñata time.


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Having hosted birthday parties at our house before, I know it was worth paying a bit to avoid the stress of preparing and cleaning the house. Plus, there is just so much more to do at the community center. Since many of the kids at the party were a bit older, I worried they wouldn't enjoy it. But not only did the teenagers enjoy the pool and slides, some of the adults did as well.

Those who weren't interested in swimming or supervising young ones just relaxed in the air-conditioned room or shaded patio. The rented room had everything we needed: refrigerator, CD player, microwave and lots of chairs and tables. Since it was so hot, I stocked the freezer with ice cream cake, fudge and Popsicles.

It was a great place for a party. My friend and I joked that we should sue the city for not having provided our generation with such a great summer place to hang out when we were growing up. I will take my daughter back there just to play in the water. For a kid her size it costs $3 for a day pass, $5 for older kids. For kids scared of swim lessons, this might be a great safe place to discover how fun the water can be.

CONGRATS, CASIE: Congratulations to Livermore native Casie Cathrea, 17, who did very well in the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament. She won top honors among competing amateurs and is competing now through Friday in the Junior PGA Championship in Washington, D.C. After that, she will head off to Oklahoma State University to begin college.

Contact Patrick Brown at pbrown@bayareanewsgroup.com.