Kids’ birthday parties are the source of more than a little bit of stress for parents, am I right? It’s great when they’re super small and they don’t know the difference, but once they’re old enough to notice that their friends are having super cool (aka super expensive) parties while they have theirs at home, playing Twister and Pin-The-Tail-On-The-Whatever-Is-Popular-At-The-Time… you’re in trouble.
But there’s hope! There are seriously TONS of options for kids birthday party venues, and none of them are in your living room. Let other people handle the decorating and cleaning up. Let other people run the activities. Let other people do as much as possible!
Here’s a list of 31 of the best birthday party options you can find in the USA. Surely your kid will like at least one of them!
- Games and Games and More Games!
- Enjoying the Outdoors
- Educational and Fun!
- Sweet and Treats
- Sports and Activities
- Art and Creativity
- New and Old Favorites
Games and Games and More Games!
1. Board Game Cafe
Your kids’ friends probably won’t want to play Candy Land at a birthday party. But what about Settlers of Catan? Or Munchkin? Or Lord Of The Rings: Risk? Take ‘em to a game café and they can play whatever the heck they want! In Athens GA there’s a sweet spot called The Rook and Pawn where the kiddos can have unlimited access to the “Wall of Games” plus one menu item and unlimited fountain drinks. Bring on the board games!
No, arcades are NOT a thing of the past. They are quite alive and well, and your kids would love to party at one! The Game Preserve in Houston TX, for instance, has dozens of video game machines, plus 36 different pinball games, and three electromechanical games. They offer party packages that include all-day passes to the arcade as well as access to the event room, so when the young’uns need a break from all that hard gaming they can head over to fuel up on cake and treats.
3. Escape Rooms
Oh man, escape rooms are so hot right now! And while they are not specifically for older kids/teens, even the easy-to-win rooms might be a bit tough for your elementary schoolers – unless they’re Sheldon Cooper, of course. Bust Out Escape Room in Albuquerque NM subtly recommends that their rooms are best for teens, and boy, they sure have some cool theme options: Davinci’s Secret, Doomsday Escape, Curse of the Mayan Temple, and Dark Side of the Moon sounds like the coolest birthday activities ever!
Enjoying the Outdoors
Maybe you’re looking to keep it simple and stick to a budget for your kids’ soiree this time. How about making use of the local park or playground down the street? Take advantage of the playground equipment, the hiking trails, the splash pads, and the picnic areas that are all cared for by the city – not you! The Ashley Okland Star Playground in Des Moines IO is a perfect example of a playground party spot. It’s an inclusive playground so everyone can enjoy some fun, the rubber footing means you won’t have to deal with muddy feet, and there’s a great covered picnic area.
5. Apple Picking
If you’re lucky enough to live in a fertile farming area, take the kids to an orchard! Places like Outhouse Orchards in New York offer some pretty cool birthday packages that may or may not include apple picking, but definitely include things like hayrides, corn mazes, parachute play, pinatas – and there’s an add-on option of having a bouncy house. Add this to all the fresh air and beautiful scenery and you’re going to see some very happy little faces!
For your outdoors-loving little one, how about a camping party? It’s like the ultimate sleepover! The Kamp Modoc Family Campground in Indiana has the best of all worlds: a swimming area with inflatables, basketball and volleyball areas, a rec hall, AND a sweet playground. Obviously, the party must have a campfire in the evening, because what’s a campout without a fire?
The zoo! What a fantastic place for a party! At the Kansas City Zoo, kiddos can enjoy gawking at all the exotic animals, gather in the event space for lemonade and refreshments, have an “educational encounter” with two animals, and make a themed craft, among other possibilities. It’s like turning your party animals loose to party among some animals!
8. Zip Lines
You’ve probably said more than once that you’d like to string the kids up by their feet. While we don’t condone this particular activity, you could take them ziplining and string them up in a different way. Having a birthday party at Mountain Ridge Adventures in Schenectady NY is the ultimate party idea and includes at least an hour in their event space, a free t-shirt for the little man or lady of the day, and 90 minutes of zipping, swinging, and crossing obstacles way up in the trees. They may award you the “Parent Of The Year” trophy after this!
Educational and Fun!
9. Factory Tour
It might not be the first idea that pops into your head, but taking the kiddos to a factory for a tour AND a party is a fantastic way to celebrate a birthday. And what better place for a kid to tour on their birthday than the Hershey factory in Pennsylvania? There are different types of party packages available and they each include birthday cake, drinks, “Mystery Show” tickets, and a “Chocolate Tour ride.” Naturally, the birthday boy or girl receives a personalized candy bar!
Your kids might freak out at the word “museum,” but make them hear you out! Some of the coolest museums in the country offer parties that’ll blow your little tyke’s minds. A party at The Children’s Museum of Manhattan, for instance, can include art projects, music, giant soap bubbles, magicians, dancing, special access to exhibits, and even celebrity appearances like Dora and Diego!
11. Fire Stations
If your child has been wearing their plastic fire hat from Grandma since they received it six months ago, we recommend checking out birthday party options at the fire hall. How cool would that be? The Firefighters Hall & Museum in Minneapolis MN hosts birthday parties where do safety demonstrations, historical tours, fire call re-enactments, and – of course – opportunities to slide down the fire pole! All of this on top of the usual cake and goodies. Oh, and they’ll provide fire hats for your wee guests. We know you’ll be thrilled about that.
12. Science Center
Got a budding Einstein or Marie Curie on your hands? Then a science center birthday party is a must! There are super cool science and discovery centers all over the country, including the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore where kids can experience the observatory, dinosaur mysteries, the planetarium, and even the IMAX theater, as well as other uber cool exhibits. Add pizza and cake to this combo of super science awesomeness and your kid’s birthday is out of this world.
Sweet and Treats
13. Chocolate Shop
Does your kid hoard Halloween treats and Easter candy like nobody’s business? Treat them to a birthday party at a candy shop? I mean, how could you not want to host a place called Loli Bop Sweet Shop? This adorable space in Atlanta GA has party packages that include cake pop making, candy crafts, pizza platters, games and prizes, plus extra treats to take home.
14. Ice Cream Shop
What do kids love more, or at least as much, as chocolate? Ice cream! How about having a party at a local ice cream shop? The Arctic Scoop in Lousiville KY has some pretty sweet birthday packages where the kiddos can enjoy cake, sundae bars, games, nitrogen demonstrations, and maybe even some “dragon treats.” YUM.
15. Cooking Classes
So your kid loves to cook. How about a birthday party where they can learn some new culinary skills? Find a place like Flour Power in Raleigh NC and your mini Rachael Ray or Jamie Oliver can enjoy a themed party like “Cupcake Wars,” “Iron Chef,” or “Grosser Than Gross.” The best part? The parents don’t have to do ANY clean up of the party kitchen. Woot woot!
Sports and Activities
Bowling is so underrated these days! Kids from preschool to high school can all enjoy an event like this, and their parents will too! Most bowling alleys have a party room, as does Collins Bowling in Lexington KY. Collins offers packages with or without food and drink, and with or without arcade tokens. Bowling AND arcade games? Invite me, please!
17. Fitness Club/Community Center
How about your local community or fitness center? Consider the amenities they can offer: swimming pools, climbing walls, soccer fields… the options are virtually endless. The New Jersey Athletic Club in Lawrenceville NJ has a few different party options, including a “Ninja Warrior” party with obstacle courses, agility training, and all kinds of challenges to keep the kids on their toes. Run ‘em till they drop!
18. Ice Skating
The key to a good birthday party – from a parent’s point of view, that is – is to offer an activity that wears the kids out! Skating is perfect for that. It’s also convenient as many, many towns, whether big or small, have a skating rink or an appropriate outdoor skating space. Madison Ice Inc in Madison WI offers “Gold Medal,” “Silver Medal,” and “Bronze Medal” packages (how clever!) that include skating, games, music, and much more.
19. Martial Arts Studio
Your little karate kid will go nuts for this idea, especially if you tell them that the party pinata can be broken with kicks instead of a stick! Vision Martial Arts have several locations in North Carolina and all are uber convenient for planning events where the guests can enjoy a ninja obstacle course, doing the limbo, and a professional-looking headband for everyone.
20. Climbing Gym
Instead of having an at-home party with partygoers climbing the walls after all that cake, have the soiree at a climbing gym so they can climb someone else’s walls! The Doylestown Rock Gym in Doylestown PA has parties and activities for kids from ages 3 and up, including balancing activities, bouldering, roped climbing, and challenge courses.
21. Professional Sporting Event
So your little slugger won’t take off his favorite team’s baseball/hockey/soccer/football/basketball jersey. So what? Obviously, you need to plan a party that involves watching his or her favorite team in action! Most arenas and stadiums offer party packages, and the Fenway Park in Boston MA is no different. The kids can enjoy game seating behind the visitor’s bench, early entrance into the park (so they can watch batting practice and warm-ups, and yummy baseball game food like pizza or hot dogs! The guest of honor could even get a visit from Wally himself!
Art and Creativity
Did you know that Build-A-Bear does parties? What better “Loot Bag” could there be than bringing home your own handmade, personalized stuffie? As you can see from their website, each party package includes games and activities, bear-ear paper hats, a photo booth with props, and a special heart ceremony, all led by a staff member dedicated to leading the party. Oh, and there’s a special cupcake keepsake for the birthday boy or girl!
23. Clay Café
Kids and adults alike will love attending a paint-your-own-clay party! There are “clay cafes” all over the country and many of them have some pretty sweet party packages. Picassoz in Lakeland FL has space for between 8 and 30 partygoers who will receive help with their artwork from a staff helper. Your little one and their buddies can party like artists for 90 minutes AND take home their original artwork. Win-win!
24. Art Studio
Kids love creating artwork, but we know that YOU don’t love organizing or cleaning up after the artwork! Try having the party at a local art studio instead and take the weight off of your shoulders. Good for kids ages 4 and up, Artsy Rose in Oklahoma City has three different activity-based parties for kids: canvas painting (specific or customized designs available), decoupage picture frames, and handprint painted canvas. They even offer snow cones as part of the party packages! Yummm.
25. Michaels Craft Stores
There are Michaels craft stores located all across the USA and they’re all perfect places to host kids’ birthday parties. There are a few different party themes to choose from and they include crafts (obviously) centered around the theme, like Enchanted Lands, Sea Treasures, Monster Bash, Robot Squad, and a bunch You’re provided with a staff member to help too, so you don’t have to oversee all the enthusiastic crafting on your own. Phew!
26. Karaoke/Music Studio
Did someone say karaoke? Sign me up! Although you probably haven’t considered this as a party option before, you definitely should. The Mystery Street Recording Company in Chicago IL offers a pretty sweet karaoke party package that includes a studio tour and recording tips, a party room with a sound system, and two hours of singing AND recording! Your birthday prince or princess can take home a digital download or USB drive filled with their friends’ musical memories. How cool is that? They also do adult parties, FYI.
New and Old Favorites
27. Indoor Playgrounds
Most parents will agree that indoor playgrounds are where it’s at, and birthday parties are no different. For instance, Safari Nation in Greensboro NC has some pretty sweet party packages that include unlimited playtime, water bottles for party guests, and free admission passes to use in the future. They also provide the plates and paper products and have the event room open for you for one hour. Let them play the day away!
28. Laser Tag
Prepare your battle stations because laser tag is the coolest in cool kids’ birthday parties. In fact, laser tag is another party idea that can work for young kids or teenagers alike, and parents can totally get into it too. You can reserve anywhere from 90 minutes to 3 hours for a party at Battlefield Laser Tag in Little Rock AK and everyone can have the time of their lives.
29. Circus School
So you have a little monkey on your hands? And he or she has a birthday coming up? Never fear because the circus party is here! And we’re not talking about just going to watch a circus show (although that would also be cool). No no, we’re saying take them to a place like Akrosphere Aerial & Circus Arts in Alpharetta GA and have the little animals learn aerial skills, trapeze, and other insane circus arts. Oh, and cake and snacks, obviously.
Pool parties are a staple of childhood and everyone loves them! You wear the kids out in the pool, feed them some goodies, perhaps play a few games, and send them all back home. Easy peasy! Most community pools and rec centers offer party packages too, to make things even easier. The local YMCA is always a safe bet, and like this one in Aberdeen SD. Their event room can fit 50-100 people! We don’t recommend inviting 100 kids though. Sheesh.
31. Amusement Parks
Think of the debt of gratitude they’ll owe you when you tell them they can have a party at a big amusement park. They’ll be making their bed without being asked for WEEKS afterward! While most amusement parks don’t necessarily have party packages available, they do have group rates. Carowinds in Charlotte NC, for example, offers discounts for groups of 15 or more and they’ll arrange an all-you-can-eat buffet for the party too. This is a great option for teens who might otherwise spend your entire party budget on food alone!
There’s bound to be a birthday party idea from this list that hits the mark and will light up your birthday boy or girl’s face like you’ve never seen before. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway? And while the prices of these party venues and options vary greatly, the one constant is that they’ll make your little one feel like a million bucks, and that is priceless.
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