"NYC Winter Birthday Party Spots for Kids" by Mimi O'Connor
Originally published Jan 8, 2020 in Red Tricycle
Planning a birthday party for a winter baby in NYC? Sure, picnics and pools are off the table, but you’ve still got options — lots of options. We rounded up indoor spots where kids can roll, bowl, jump, create, swing, and burn off some energy, and included both classics and new birthday spots around town for your consideration. (Want even more choices? Check out where to hold a spa birthday party, makerspaces that will host your bash, indoor spots for toddler birthdays and tons of places in Queens to host a kid’s birthday party! Read on to find the totally cool winter birthday party your kid deserves!
For a fresh option in DUMBO, head to Beat the Bomb, where players suit up in HAZMAT gear and progress through a series of five hi-tech game rooms, with titles like "Sequencer", "Crypto Laser," "Mad Dash" and "Blocktopus." (Influences include Escape Rooms, 80s arcade games, and 90s TV game shows.) Technology in the game rooms includes motion sensors, touch screens, RFID readers, lasers and camera vision. An experience that encourages teamwork, Beat the Bomb ends with players confronting a giant paint ball— failure to disarm the bomb means becoming a glowing "Jackson Pollock painting!" (Kablooie.) Plus: they've got a photo/video booth that captures all the action! This one is for kids ages eight and up, and one adult must participate. Beat the Bomb will expand in February, adding 1,800 square feet of space with a new lobby with food and beverage offerings, streaming video feeds from inside the bomb room, photo opportunities and testing facilities to try out new games. Rates start at $49.95 per person, the birthday kid plays for free, and all guests get a voucher to come back and play again. You have the option of just playing the game, or renting a party room for up to 30 people for two hours with a "Beat the Bomb" explosion cake included. (You can bring your own cake if you want as well.) Click here for more info on parties.
Beat the Bomb
247 Water St., #106
Talk about one-stop shopping. CAMP, the "secret" toy store and activity space in the Flatiron District now also has a 6,000-square-foot Hudson Yards location (and a Brooklyn one in City Point), and they'll host your kid's birthday party, too! This version of CAMP includes features of the downtown iteration's first theme—a giant station wagon to climb in, a slide from a "bunk" into a sequined dance room, a train table, sports field, giant toy horses to ride and so much more. Let the kids run wild for a bit then corral them for an activity such as decorating T-shirts, making mason jar snow globes or creating snowman slime. (Activity prices range from free to $30.) For a sweet treat, Ample Hills Creamery ice cream is available on site—and they happen to make one of our favorite birthday cakes in town!
20 Hudson Yards, Second Fl.
Snapology of Forest Hills will hold a LEGO-themed party for you at the venue of your choosing (they do work with local spots like Commonpoint Queens, Learning Lab and Little Bear Play Café) and they will also come to you for a party in your home. Parties, which can be customized for little ones or bigger kids, start at $275 for 90 minutes with 15 kids, and you can pick from loads of themes including Harry Potter, Hello Kitty, Robotics, Minecraft, Frozen and many more. Parties include a birthday theme and a certified Snapology party instructor who sets up, cleans up, provides supplies and leads all activities.
Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx
As we wrote recently, this sweet museum is back in NYC, and it's here to stay in a new downtown location. (We think this version is even more kid-friendly than the last, and you kind of can't get more birthday-party appropriate.) Do you want to take 10 kids through the MOIC? Probably not, but a small group of friends would have a blast at this fun, interactive experience—that of course includes ice cream tasting. Tickets are $39/person.
The Museum of Ice Cream
You can do a birthday party lots of ways at this super fun (and affordable) arcade in Sunset Park's Industry City. For the bargain option, pay just $7.35 plus tax per kid and they have access to all of the games, which include foosball, old school arcade games and mini golf. (Order pizza from nearbyTable 87, bring a cake, and you're good to go.) If you want the Frying Pan to handle the details, it's $25/kid with a 10 person minimum for a two hour party, with pizza and drinks included. You get a special section with decor and basic setup, and a party helper. Parents can attend, but the pizza is not for them. For a deluxe bash, rent out the whole place for $300/hour.
Third Ave. & 36th St.
No, not that Gaga—the game, Gaga. This NYC favorite involves a ball, an octagonal pit and as many players as you can round up. Played with a soft foam ball, gaga combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping, all while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees. One of the only indoor gaga play spots in Manhattan is The Gaga Center, on the Upper East Side. Fortunately, the place does a mean birthday party—90 minutes, juice, pizza, cake, party favors and of course, gaga. Best for kids ages five and up; expect to pay about $1,300 for a party of up to 20 kids. (Although they can accommodate up to 50!) If you're looking to up the birthday fun, consider add-on options like Gaga Glow (playing in black light with glowing decor, makeup and more) or the newest choice: Gaga and a silent disco!
230 East 93 St.
Upper East Side
In what may be the best NYC birthday party deal around, Michaels will host your child’s birthday bash for as little as 50 bucks. (No, that is not a typo.) The parties happen in the cheery classroom space of the craft store (downtown Brooklyn's is shown here), and for $120, you can pick a predetermined craft project for kids to do (they have options for kids four and up); the fee also includes invitations and thank-you notes, and a party helper. Cost is for 8 kids, but you can invite more for an additional fee. For that bargain rate of $50, devise your own craft project (easy, and cheap to do at Michaels). You can even bring in your own food at no extra charge. An add-on of face-painting for $25 is also available. WOW.
Locations throughout NYC; contact your local store to book
CinemaKidz throws completely-customized birthday parties for kids ages 5 to 15. Children become actors, directors, and production crew, when they make a music video or a completely original scripted movie. Every party begins with a pre-production session regarding concept and creative so come party day, the kids can jump right in and make an original project. The party itself is production day. Everyone is involved in the process of making the masterpiece, and everyone gets a private link to the film and a digital copy shortly after the event. Popular add-ons include hair and makeup help, costumes, and decorations. CinemaKidz has studio options throughout the city, in every borough (SoHo, Williamsburg, Upper West Side, Midtown, Long Island City, etc.) and will also travel to Westchester, New Jersey, and Connecticut. CinemaKidz also offers in-home party options. Rates start at $800.
Old school bowling at its best, Astoria Bowl provides the invites, one hour of bowling (with bumpers if you want), one hour in the party room for eating and cake, and kid's choice of pizza, chicken fingers, or hot dog with fries and soda. (Plus, souvenir cup.) Parties are for kids ages four and up and happen Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Cost is $225 for 10 kids, with additional kids $22.50.
19-45 49th St.
Got a scientist in the making? Check out the birthday party packages at SciTech Kids, a new STE[A]M maker lab on the Upper East Side. SciTech will host your event at its generously-sized 81st Street location or come to your private event space. Parties include science experiments and demonstrations that are interactive, exciting and educational, and feature themes such as "Slime Party", "Bouncing Bubbles", "Harry Potter Potion Party" and "CSI Fingerprinting." Add-ons are similarly unconventional; they include a "dry ice spectacular", lab coats and goggle for attendees and Mentos and soda geyser. In addition to the science fun, parties include a SciTech activity table to keep kids busy as guests arrive, paper products matching the party theme, pizza and juice, and a T-shirt for the birthday child, who also serves as the party scientist's helper.
215 E. 81st St.
Upper East Side
Yet another kid-friendly business that's recently moved in to take advantage of large indoor spaces in Gowanus (remember Axe-throwing parties for kids?), Force Soccer Studios will host a sporty bash for your child. You get the whole place to yourself and parties include 50 minutes of on-the-field fun, with choices including soccer games and fun soccer activities, kickball, relay races, capture the flag, touch football, dodgeball and more. After working it out, sit down for cake and pizza with drinks. Parties are $700 for 12 kids ($20 for additional guests), and the guest of honor gets a Force Soccer Studios t-shirt. Click here for more info on parties.
Force Soccer Studios
483 Baltic St.
Court 16 has been bringing top notch tennis fun to kids and families in Gowanus since 2014. Last year it opened a new facility in Long Island City where its state-of-the-art courts feature LEDs in the floor. Parties include 45 minutes of tennis fun on the court, and 45 minutes in the party room for cake and food. Activities can be tailored to skill and age group, and Court 16 can help coordinate food from local vendors. Rates are $700 for 10 kids, and $20 for each additional child, with a max of 24 per party. Face painting can be added for additional charge starting at $150 for 10-15 kids. Court 16 will design your electronic invitation, and help you customize the space for your bash. Parties take place on Saturdays from 3-4:30.
1306 Queens Plaza South
Long Island City
Being essentially big kids ourselves here, we’re a sucker for any place with a secret door. (Case in point: this place.) But there is a behind-the-bookcase entrance to a secret library at (of course) the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company in Park Slope. You can host a birthday party a couple of ways here, both of which include the chance to peruse the extensive and very cool collection of superhero supplies and paraphernalia. Rent out the space for two hours for $250 and do/host your own activity, or host a storytelling and bookmaking bash ($500 for 10 kids; $10 for each additional) with the experts from the supply company. Kids get to flex their creative muscle, creating a tale as wild and fantastical as they can imagine—and everyone leaves with a published, illustrated copy of the book. Plus: pizza, cake, and goodie bags. Parties are held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and 1-3 p.m. (P.S. Your party will support the work of 826NYC, also located here, a non-profit dedicated to helping students develop their writing skills.)
372 5th Ave.
If you want huge, private, and loaded with fun, check out Max Adventures in Marine Park. A basic package for 15 kids (max 30) is $795, and you get a two-hour party and the run of the 7,000-square-foot space, with staff making sure everyone is safe. Activities include a soft play gym, beach ball pit, basketball arcade games, mini roller coaster and bounce house for toddlers, gaga ball pit, air hockey, arcade games, spinning chair, Pie in the Face game (!) and much more. Add-ons to take it to the next level include Lazer Tag and glow in the dark disco. Max Adventures holds parties for kids ages one to 15.
2378 Flatbush Ave.
You don’t have to “paint and sip” with just wine! Muse Paintbar will host your kid’s party, where milk and juice can be the beverage of choice. (And, you get to bring in your own cake and decorations.) With locations in Tribeca and Yonkers’ Ridge Hill Mall, lots of kid-friendly designs, and rates that start at $35 a person (prices vary by location), it’s a nice choice for the artistically-inclined birthday boy or girl. You can host in a private studio with space for catering, and an artist with experience teaching kids leads the activity. Parties take place on weekday afternoons or on weekdays at noon. (Party requires a minimum of 10 guests, but of course, you could just take a few kids on your own as well.)
329 Greenwich St.
265 Market St
Kiddie Wonderland dubs itself a "themed children's entertainment center" and that feels pretty accurate. A Staten Island favorite, this play emporium also draws families from Brooklyn, New Jersey and beyond thanks to a clean space, lots of options and a wallet-friendly price. Parties get exclusive use of the venue, and even the basic birthday party package provides lots of entertainment and diversions. Kids can scale the climbing wall and structures complete with mazes and slides, and get down on the dance floor outfitted with synchronized lights, disco ball and bubble machine. A dedicated host engages kids in games and activities, and a party room area offers a spot for festive decorations, eating pizza and applying temporary tattoos — all included. Plus, every child leaves with a small gift. All this for $409 on a weekday, or $439 on a weekend, for 15 kids plus the birthday child. Take it up a notch with one of the many packages offered here, such as "Build an animal", "Pirate Scavenger Hunt", "Princesses and Knights Dressup" and "Garden Tea Party."
298 Naughton Ave.
Read the original article: 12 Spots for NYC Kids Winter Birthday Parties