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The best birthday party places for kids of all ages

Sept. 21, 2018

It’s your child’s birthday, and of course you want it to be special. For some parents, an in-home party is the way to go, but many of us are looking for birthday party options that will spare us the cleanup time and the pressure of entertaining a large group alone.

Whether you are a seasoned parent planning your teen’s next birthday or a new mom looking for the right place to have your little one’s party, read on for birthday party places that are perfect for kids of all ages.

Kids ages 5 and under

For children 5 and under, you’ll want to find a place that specializes in entertaining a younger crew with simple fun and in a limited time. Most kids this age won’t last long before they’re ready to chill out with a nap, and these places are ideal for our littlest partiers.

A gym-style venue

Places like the Little Gym, My Gym and even your local YMCA specialize in throwing parties for young kids. Typically, you are assigned helpers who guide the children through the entire party, and you just need to supply the food and paper products. Kids will love playing games, like hiding in the parachute and swinging around on the kid-sized gymnastics equipment.

Bounce venues

What better way to show your little one a good time (and wear her out as a bonus) than by letting her and her friends bounce around gleefully for an hour or so? Most bounce venues will also provide party helpers to work with the kids and several different bounce sections to ensure that no one gets bored. BounceU is a popular venue with locations all over the U.S.

Tea parties

If your child loves all things fancy, booking a tea party location for her birthday party will blow her mind. Most tea party venues will give you the option of themes, and some will even let you rent a princess for the party. Elegant finger sandwiches will sit nicely alongside pizza slices at this favorite party locale. Bella Princess in New Jersey and Olivia’s Dollhouse Tea Room in Los Angeles are adorable picks for a tea party, but you should be able to find one in your community, as well.

Fire stations

For a donation, many local fire stations will open their doors for a kid’s birthday party. The children will learn all about what firefighters do and will get a chance to play firefighter themselves as they sit in the fire truck, try out a hose and even get to slide down the firefighters’ pole. Give your local fire station a call and see if they participate in this type of activity for kids.

Swim parties

Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs and many other local venues with indoor pools are available to book for kids parties year-round, and they will also provide a party helper or two to play games with the kids during pool time. You’ll want to stick with kids around 4 and 5 years old for this type of party, and it’s also a popular location choice for elementary-aged kids.

Kids ages 5 to 10 years old

Children in this age bracket will be able to handle a bit more stimulation and take on more complicated activities. The venues listed below will provide just enough entertainment for elementary-aged kiddos.

Bowling alleys

At this point, most kids are coordinated enough to take on some bowling, and they will love knocking down the pins and will get a good giggle out of all those gutter balls. While kids will enjoy any bowling alley, a mini-bowling (bowling with a smaller-sized ball) experience will be best for the smaller ones. Order some pizza, bring a cake and join in the fun yourself!

Arts and crafts and ceramic studios

If your child is a budding artist, booking his birthday party at a place that specializes in everything crafty is the perfect plan. Places like Michael’s will host arts and crafts parties, and many communities have ceramic studios or art schools that you can book for a party where the children will do things like paint plates or make little vases. It’s a good time for everyone, and the kids get to take home their own creations at the end.

Movie theaters

Call your local movie theater and see if they host children’s birthday parties. Depending on your guest count, many will give you the option of renting out a whole theater, certain rows in the theater or give you your own small room. Theaters that do this normally also have a “party room,” where the kids can eat cake and play some games before the main event begins.

Ice cream shops

It’s a tough task to find a kid who doesn’t love ice cream, so this one is a definite winner. See if any ice cream shops in your area run “make-your-own-sundae” birthday parties. The children will love being creative with their sundaes almost as much as they’ll love eating them!

Zoos and farms

If you have an animal lover on your hands, a zoo or local farm will be the birthday party of her dreams. The kids will get to monkey around for an hour or so, checking out their favorite animals while also learning a lot of really interesting information about animal habitats and behaviors.

Museums

Your local museum might be the right pick for your inquisitive kid. The Berkshire Museum in Massachusetts offers packages based on your child’s interests, such as Aquarium Adventures and Kitchen Kaboom, while some museums, such as the Discovery Museum in Bridgeport, Connecticut, focus on STEM-based parties that encourage exploration and experimentation. Get in touch with a few museums near you and see what they have to offer. Some will even provide themed goody bags!

Apple picking farms

If your child was a fall baby, you might want to consider something seasonal, like apple picking. Kids this age will love picking their own apples (and maybe even a pumpkin), and many of the farms have a small petting zoo where the children can interact with farm animals.

Ice skating rinks

Ice skating rinks will book birthday parties year-round. They are the perfect seasonal pick for winter babies, and they’re also a great way to give kids a cool break from the heat in the dead of summer. Most rinks will provide a “party room” for pizza and cake after the kids are done skating.

Beauty salon

A mani/pedi party can be a big hit with kids this age who will love picking out their own colors and getting prettied up for the day. Most beauty salons will host birthday parties, though they typically host smaller groups, because they will need to have someone working with each child.

Karate dojos

Active children will love spending the afternoon with a real life Sensei and getting a mini karate lesson. Fun and physical, this is a unique party idea that the kids will not forget.

Restaurant and chef parties

Some venues like Chef It Up! or Lil’ Chef School specialize in throwing parties where kids learn how to safely cook a small main dish and a dessert. If there isn’t a chef-themed party place near you, check to see if any of your favorite local restaurants or hotels offer something similar for children.

Kids ages 10-13 years old

Planning your tween’s birthday party should be a joint venture. At this age, your child will begin to have a lot of her own opinions and you’ll want her to feel like she has a real say in her birthday party plans. There are lots of options for tweens who want to make the most of their special day with their friends.

Game trucks

Mobile video game trucks like Game On and GameTruck are becoming very popular and more widely available around the country. The best part: They come right to you! These trucks have big screens, tons of consoles and games available. They usually specialize in running fun multiplayer game competitions for your child and his friends. Check with the company ahead of time to make sure that the video games are appropriate for your child’s age group.

Trampoline parks

Trampoline parks are the bounce houses for the tween set. Most will have many trampoline areas and options and your kids will get a great workout while having a ton of fun. Trampoline parks host a lot of kids’ birthday parties a year and will do pretty much all the work for you. The popular trampoline park Sky Zone has over 200 locations around the country.  

Indoor rock climbing venues

These venues are perfect for active tweens who are looking for a little adventure. The kids won’t need to be experienced climbers, and some venues have extras, such as slides, small cave areas to explore or eco-themed games.

Spa party salons

Tweens love a spa party where they get to feel like adults and experience some serious luxury. The packages differ from salon to salon, but most offer some type of beauty mask, a massage, foot soak and tons of pampering. Bring along some plastic champagne glasses and fill them with sparkling water or soda for an added touch.

Chocolate shops

Lots of local chocolate shops will host birthday parties for older children. They’ll get to see how fancy chocolates are made and make some of their own. Some of the shops even have big chocolate fountains for the kids to take turns dipping different foods.

Kids ages 13 and up

When kids reach their teenage years, party planning can become a bit more complicated. They will want to make sure that their party reflects who they are and that their friends all have a good time. Luckily, with their help, you can throw them a birthday bash they will always remember. Here are some teenager-approved birthday party options.

Laser tag venues

The kids will have an absolute blast suiting up and chasing each other around a laser tag venue. Most of these venues will offer a private party room with the package where you can have food and cake after the games wind down and some will have other activities available, such as bumper cars.

Paintball venues

Active kids this age will love running around on teams and getting good and messy. If you’re worried about safety, research local paintball venues to ensure you are booking at a reputable one that has lots of experience with kids’ parties. They should have solid precautions and rules in place and a strong focus on safe fun.

Field trips

Teenagers are at the perfect age for a short field trip with a small group of friends. Look into taking your teen and his friends to a local theater production or baseball game, and then head back home for cake.

Karaoke venues

What teen wouldn’t want to play pop star for the night? There are venues that host karaoke parties for kids, but this is also one you could option to do at home with a small group. If you do want to do it at home, hire a local DJ to come to your house and run the whole thing for you.

Escape rooms

You and your teen will get to choose from several different themes, so she’ll be able to pick something that she is really into. The kids will be put into teams and challenged to solve puzzles in order to escape the room. An action-packed battle of wits will be the perfect build up to cake time. The famous Escape the Room hosts birthday parties on-site in various locations, and even more companies like the Great Escape Room are popping up around the country.

Read next: Best birthday party games for kids

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