Not that long after we moved to the Netherlands, I took the kids to Speelland at Berkse Bergen and it was there where Soren got bit by the karting bug. While it’s a small track, for €2. you can drive around the outdoor kartbaan a few laps. So he did that a few times the two times we visited and he LOVED it. He also visited American Road House in Zaltbommel and did karting with his dad.
So it was no surprise when we asked him if he wanted a karting birthday party this year for a small group of friends, he agreed. As he didn’t have a kids’ party last year, we really wanted to be sure to do something extra fun this year. So after looking at our options we chose to drive down and check out Hezemans in Eindhoven. It’s not that far of a drive and looked like the nicest and most professionally-run place. During our short 15 minute visit, we were sold and he was so excited. Here is he is with his favorite driver Max.
However we were not 100% sure that the parents of his friends would allow their kids to go karting as most boys around 11 wouldn’t have ever been karting before… thankfully they all agreed!
For kids, they offer two sizes karts. Mini karts: for kids who are between 1.20 – 1.45 m and Junior karts: for kids taller than 1.45 m but younger than 16 years old. Thankfully all the boys who came along were taller, so they were all able to go into the Junior karts. Our 9 year old daughter who came along yet didn’t race. In fact, she couldn’t race with them even if she wanted to join as she’s not yet 1.45 m and they are pretty strict so something to keep in mind when booking this type of party. We also kept the party quite small – which makes it much more manageable plus we had limited seats in the two cars.
Kids Party Packages
Hezemans offers different party packages for groups of 4 kids or more; which include track time, pancakes or fries and a snack. You can add extra heats and even bowling or cooking your own food on a stone grill in the middle of the table. All of the info is outlined on their website so you can customize how you want for your needs. It can take kids a few laps to get the hang of it so they gave them some time for a practice ride and then another 8 or 10 minutes to really start racing. You could see the confidence build and the lap times getting faster and faster. They boys were really was impressive. Our five guys were on the track with another party of four lads – who were celebrating a birthday too. The one boy who faster than Soren attends their Sunday sessions so has a lot of experience. I told Soren it might be something could try out more… but for now he had a LOT of fun doing this. All in all we were there for about 3 hours. They also have the kids parties on certain days & times – we did a Friday from 3-6 pm as there is a lot of demand for adult parties here. For obvious safety reasons, they cannot have the kid and adults on the track at the same time.
We did add 55 minutes of bowling into our party package for €12.50 which was fun and helped make the party a bit longer. We were afraid of traffic heading out of Eindhoven on Friday night at 5:00 pm so it was great to wait just that big longer. When we left after eating, there was no traffic – perfecr!!
At first we could see all the boys were a bit nervous about what to expect when they were out on the track. What if they crashed.. how fast do they go, etc. Their experts first show kids an instructional video and then gear them up in helmets and neck guards. Each child is fitted into a kids’ cart to ensure they can reach the pedals. Drivers aren’t let on to the track until they know how to brake, accelerate and back up, etc. So the staff questions the kids to ensure they know what they are going. It was 100% in Dutch so I didn’t get it all but my son did so that is good 🙂 The staff stays on the track to help young drivers who bump into the rails and to keep them in check if any issues. Which at the end there was a few issues – apparently on the last heat one of the older boys in the other group did some banging into the back of two of our kids and a few tears were shed – which I think came about more in frustration than pain. After a few minutes – tears were gone and all seemed fine.
The staff at were extremely helpful in figuring out the details of our go karting birthday party and during the party itself. When you arrive, you are assigned a large table so you can come in and your have a place to leave your coats and keep as your sort of “base”. As we live about 1/2 hour away, we had the kids first come to our house from school to hang out. Cleary it’s a new world for me between the conversations and things which come out of the mouths of some of these boys and the fact that they were ALL (well one wasn’t as he doesn’t have a phone yet) playing on their PHONES together… I just had to take a photo.
As they get out of school at 12:30 pm and we didn’t have to be there until 3, I first had the boys come back to ours. They first had lunch – requested Brabants worstenbroodjes, chips & soda = healthy & yummy – NOT 🙂 But I did make two delicious home-made cakes that morning, which they have been eating each day since.
What I am not sure is if you are allowed to bring your own cake to the place – I assume not as there was a sign on the door that said no outside food allowed – but birthday cakes might be an exception.
Medals on the Podium
To finish off the celebration, each child received a print-out of their race standings and the all the drivers received the same medal. Everyone went up on the podium for a photo at once. I do wish they separated the groups for the photo, but they were all set up at once so with the birthday boys in the 1st position (coincidentally) they were the fastest racers). So, I have no idea who the kids in the photo to the left and the tall one in the back, other than they were the other group who raced at the same time our kids did. It happened so fast and then before you knew it half were gone and a new group was there, so I couldn’t retake the photos of group. I could just barely get them all looking at my phone at the same time 🙂
Overall, Soren’s 12th birthday party was a definite hit. All but one of his friends had never experienced karting before and they were beyond pumped after their first round of laps. I suspect he’ll have this party here again next year and perhaps he’ll inspire some friends to also have karting parties.
I have some videos here is one.
And of course, I created a photo collage of his favorite things – some old some new.
Today as you turn 12, I wish I could go back in time. I wish I could go back and hold you as a baby. I wish I could go back to the delivery room to when Papa announced you were a boy and I insisted I see your peepee to be sure. I’d love to see your little turtle face one more time. Even with your colic and your need to sleep in the swing for the first four months of your life. I hated to return to work after 12 weeks home with you and bringing you daily to Turtle Funs daycare – so when I had to chance to take redundancy and stay home, I jumped on it. Being as stay at home mom for years has been rewarding as ever. It has also had challenging times when I felt lost and struggled and questioned if it was the right decision for me as a person. But I honestly believe you turned out the way you are today because of the time I was able to spend with you each and every day. I wish I could go back, sit still and be in that same moment just one more time.
When I look at pictures of you in your toddler years with your round cheeks and long fingers, I smile. Wondering if you’d be a lefty based on the way you held your markers and paint brush or the way you threw a ball. Inside my heart breaks a little bit because I wish I could squeeze you as you ask me a billion questions in your tiny voice, just one more time.
Now you lay on the couch next to me with your giant feet protruding under a fleece blanket and a telephone in your hands watching the Voice, Wie is de Mol and Hoogvliegers. How and where has this time gone? And here you are, this tall boy that will be a man when I blink just a few more times.
You’ve become gifted in the art of rolling your eyes when you disagree, and saying “Mom, just listen to me for a second…”. I’m not always good at listening; we both know that. We don’t always agree and sometimes I don’t handle our disagreements very well; I’m working on that.
But no matter what, you’re still my little boy. Even though your hands are nearly bigger than mine and your feet are now just that much bigger. I still love your innocence and my help with doing your hair … and the fact that you only wear deodorant after gym les, and you take the LONGEST showers in the world. You’re still my little boy. You’ll be my little boy forever.
When I look back at those days when you were just a dream in my heart or a seven pound baby in my arms…I had no idea. I had no idea the incredible young man you would become. I had no idea how my heart would stretch and grow with every day of being your mom..I had no idea how proud or in love I would be.
I wish I could go back, but I wouldn’t want to miss a second of watching you right now. Raising you has been so fun and I’m looking forward to seeing you continue to grow… what will 12 bring … or 13 or 14.
Focus & do well in school – try your hardest and doors will open for you. Without giving it your all, life will only be harder. The choice is yours…
Stay curious my boy!!