Party Outside the Box: 10 Cool Birthday Spots for Kids
Children's birthday parties can feel like Groundhog Day after a while: bounce, pizza, cake, repeat. Want something different for your next celebration? Try one of these great options — after all, you've got enough socks already.
What do you get when you renovate a mechanic’s garage? North Bowl, Old City’s retro bowling alley. Host a unique, active, and fun cold weather birthday party at North Bowl and choose from two kid’s party packages, which include two hours of bowling, shoe rental, beverages, bowling-themed party supplies, balloons, and the choice of food menus.
North Bowl, 909 N. 2nd St.
If you’re in the northwest, Hi-Spot Lanes is famous for its parties, which are BYO everything and priced accordingly. Think beer for parents, juice boxes for kids, and a really fun, old-school league night vibe.
Hi-Spot Lanes, 3857 Pechin St., Philadelphia
This paint-your-own pottery and American Sign Language Studio is family-owned and offers two 90-minute parties (45 minutes of creating, 45 minutes of cake and gifts): Children’s Paint Your Own Pottery and Children’s Clay Names. The Expressive Hand provides a semi-private party room with pottery, paints, glazing, firing, and parting gift. You bring food, drink, and paper products. “We make it easy to plan an event,” said owner-operator Marcie Ziskind. ”You tell us what you need and we make it happen. It’s the place to go for different, fun, creative event-planning.”
The Expressive Hand, 622 S. 9th St.
With so many different party themes, from Jackson Pollock to Guatemalan worry dolls, it’s no wonder Philly Art Center is a favorite for kids 2 years and older. The party hostesses are fun and lead engaging art projects, for which the Art Center provide the materials and take-home bags. Also included in the party price: party paper goods for kids and adults, serving pieces, candles, balloons, a cake cutter, and party favors.
Philly Art Center, 514 Bainbridge St.
City moms who still enjoy being pampered know that Primp & Play is a dream come true. Return the favor for your son or daughter with a themed party while you enjoy a discounted spa service. For little ones looking for glamour, the spa-themed parties include manicures, chocolate pedicures and facials, and glitter tattoos. If your child is super creative, try the art-themed party with canvas painting and clay jewelry making, or a combination canvas-and-nail-painting. “Kids love having the ability to try different things at the same party,” said owner Tara Murphy. “We have a flow down that keeps them busy, moving to various areas to enjoy different activities the entire time.”
Primp & Play, 249 S. 10th St.
Everyone knows kids love Legos, so a one-hour celebration with Snapology, a traveling party service that teaches kids 5 through 12 years old how to create something new, will get your child even more excited for his birthday. “We’ll show up with laptops that have special software installed and special Lego building kits that use gears, motors, and sensors,” said owner Larry Davis. Popular party sites include rec centers, homes, churches, and synagogues in Center City, Society Hill, Fairmount, Bella Vista, the Main Line, and more. Parents need to provide the seating; Snapology provides the pizza and cake. Choose from 12 age-appropriate building activities. The birthday child gets a Snapology T-shirt.
One of the area’s newest spots, iFLY Indoor Skydiving is worth the trek from Center City to King of Prussia. Kids can thrill at a two-hour instructor air show, and then they get to fly. (Yep, you read that right.) Kids as young as 2 can participate; iFLY does parties for ages 5 to 17 featuring simulated free-fall conditions in a vertical tunnel. “The idea is to have the parents actually not have to do a thing,” said sales manager Manda Mazzuca. “Tell us your needs and we can make it happen.”
iFLY Indoor Skydiving, 290 Goddard Blvd., King of Prussia
Four- to 16-year-old thrill-seekers and outdoor adventurists will go crazy over all the neat activities at Treehouse World. Designed to keep kids engaged mentally and physically, Treehouse World lets kids be outdoor and gives them fun, challenging tasks. Pre-party, friends can romp around self-guided activities like the wooded nature trails, treehouses and bridges, active games, a children’s grove with hedgerow tunnels, log hoppers, tic-tac-toe, and chimes. The supervised activities include: rock-climbing on 40-foot trees (which involves the same system used for climbing rocks — attached to trees). There’s also trampoline bouncing with bungee assist, for kids 20 pounds and heavier, and archery tag. Treehouse World provides two pizzas, two 2-liter bottles of soda, bottled water, paper supplies, a decorated party room, and silverware.
Treehouse World, 1442 Phoenixville Pike, West Chester
Kids ages 5 to 12 can play archaeologist at the Penn Museum, with games, gallery tours, and special activities. You can even add on a visit from a live mummy! Parties are two hours long, and you can bring your own cake, food, and decorations.
Penn Museum, 3620 South St., Philadelphia
Pint-sized foodies will love a party at HomeCooked, where they’ll get to make lunch and dessert — or even have a cupcake battle. Open to kids ages 6 to 13, these parties include a tour of the kitchen and, obviously, hands-on activities. Best of all, they’ll clean up.
HomeCooked, 1 Paoli Plaza, Paoli
Featured Photography by Silvina B.