Art birthday party places
Bling out that special day with a design-your-own-jewelry party at this Soho boutique. Using semiprecious gemstones, freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals and beads, kids create their own beautiful necklaces, bracelets and earrings (clip-ons are available) and learn jewelry- making techniques like weaving and wire-wrapping in the process. Each guest leaves with two to three finished accessories (depending on the package) that they’ll love wearing for dress-up or special occasions. Additional projects and organic snacks like sushi, chips and guacamole or pretzels and beverages are available at an additional cost. Ages 7 and up.
The Upper East Side venue focused on art and nature aims to introduce kids to animals they wouldn’t usually come across in the city. At these two-hour parties of various themes, your pint-size veterinarian can touch turtles, alligators and chinchillas; create an arts and crafts project; listen to a live guitarist; and devour the pizza or chicken nuggets. The entire venue is yours for the length of the party, and the staff sets up and cleans up. Ages 1–8.
Schedule a celebration at this Queens art studio during public hours for a budget-friendly bash, or take over the space for a special private party. Open-studio packages let guests (ages 8 and up) channel their creativity into a DIY project to take home, wrapping up with time to enjoy parent-provided treats. The private parties give your group exclusive use of the studio, which allows staff members to provide younger kids with one-on-one attention. This package includes decorations, paper goods and a special gift for the celebrated guest. Ages 4 and up.
Get creative with Kidville’s whopping 16 birthday-party themes, like Sizzling Spectacular Science, Glow-in-the-Dark Dance Party and Dino-Mite, to name a few. Basic packages include a 90-minute celebration in a private space, an activity at the art table, invitations, pizza and juice, cake, party favors, two party leaders and balloons. Extras such as a performance from the Rockin' Railroad Band, snapshots from photographers, character appearances and a cookie-designing station are also available. Ages 1 to 9.
These Brooklyn crafters help your youngsters dive into fun art projects and get their creative juices flowing. For birthday parties, families choose a main activity such as decorating denim tote bags with iron-on appliqués or using stencils, felt and fabric markers to make a one- of-a-kind shirt. Let the staff know if your child has any obsessions (dogs, spaceships or Frozen, for example), and they’ll try to have supplies that cater to those interests. If your big kid (ages 7 and up) feels ambitious, opt for extra party time (an additional $70) to sew plush toys worthy of their stuffed animal collection. Want to bring the party to you? Brooklyn Craft Farm will make your home the perfect party venue. Ages 4 and up.
Kids gather in Taro's studio for a two-hour exploration of the art of origami. First up: using high-tech touchscreens to choose the pattern (a frog, airplane, flowers, a truck). Then, the origami software guides partygoers through the folding steps, and two professional instructors are on hand to help out. Once the basic design is complete, kids decorate their paper creation with stickers, stamps and markers. A table will be set up for cake and refreshments, but you must bring your own. Guided group instruction for guests can be arranged for an additional cost. Ages 5 and up.
If your kids love art, they'll really love this! Staff members guide partygoers through the galleries, then lead a hands-on art project in the education center for all to enjoy. Choose from the animal-themed Drum Beats and Little Feet party (ages 2–5) to make drums and creature sounds, or try your hand at molding imaginary creatures from clay at a Super Sculptors party (ages 2–5 or 6–10). Themes are also customizable to a degree—just ask! Ages 2 and up.
All kids need is a paint brush and a little creativity at this crafty Brooklyn venue. Party-goers are able to select a sculpture of their choosing to help their vision come to life. Fortunately, there are also plenty of package options, too. Little vigilantes, safari goers and unicorn fans are all able to find a theme that speaks perfectly to them (note that prices vary). Ages 2–16
Throw a celebration at this art studio, and let the youngsters run wild with their creativity. They’ll have access to all sorts of materials, from paints and textiles to Play-Doh, and you won’t have to worry about your apartment accidentally becoming the kids’ canvas. The birthday child gets to choose which project the group tackles, and two teachers are on hand to guide partygoers as they work on their masterpieces. Parents provide food, drinks, cake and utensils, but cleanup is taken care of by staff. Ages 2–9.
Museum & attraction birthday party places
For those kids who love all things that vroom, toot, chug and zoom, the New York Transit Museum, located in an authentic 1930's subway station, is both a historical learning experience and a chance to see vintage subways, turnstiles and engineering innovations up close. Though the guided tour pumps tiny conductors and adults full of amazing knowledge and trivia, the workshops may be the best part of the party. Museum educators lead the group in your choice of DIY activities such as designing a vehicle, creating a mosaic worthy of a subway platform or going on a scavenger hunt. A scavenger hunt is also available, too, if your curious kiddos are anxious to roam around and make discoveries. Ages 3 and up.
With the Brooklyn Bridge, the East River and the NYC skyline as a stunning backdrop, your birthday kid and the party crew can ride on the merry-goround as many times as they'd like throughout the two-hour party, trying every seat and saddle along the way. You also get a reserved table in the Picnic Grove or, when it’s raining or cold outside, the pavilion. Merry-go-rounders leave with a ride ticket as party favor. Ages 2 and up.
Kids who love making their own “potions” will dig this Mad Scientist party. Enter the laboratory (a private party room), where participants get to work on an instructor-led tabletop experiments like creating a straw rocket or digging through Pennsylvania marlstone to find fossilized shark teeth and shells. After grabbing a slice of cake, explore the rest of the massive museum, where experiments and hands-on-exhibits await; don’t miss the completely dark Touch Tunnel, a highlight for most kids. Add-ons such as simulator rides and IMax movies are available. Ages 1–12.
If your child loves thrills, Coney Island’s amusement park by the sea makes for one exciting Kings County birthday. Each of the park’s packages includes time in the party room and rides for 12 kids. A basic package ($349) gives partygoers two hours of unlimited-ride wristbands; kids can choose from mild roller coasters, teacup rides, high- flying swings and cooling water rides, and everyone gets a tasty slice of brick-oven pizza. Other packages ($449–$669) give guests arcade credits and even more ride time, including access to three “extreme” rides like the Thunderbolt Coaster or the historic wooden Coney Island Cyclone. Ages 5 and up.
There will be little time to stop and smell the flowers during an action-packed party at NYBG’s Everett Children’s Adventure Garden. Your sprouts will race past colorful streamers and into Beth’s Maze. There, they’ll find larger-than-life flowers and an instructor who guides them through the garden’s trails, all while teaching lessons about nature and science and leading them in a special craft session. Pizza and organic juice are served in a private hilltop party space. Kids will remember the celebration for weeks to come, given the potted plant they get to take home. Ages 3–12.
Take your BCM experience to the next level with an action-packed party for kids. Sign ’em up for the basic party-hour option admits up to 12 guests to a party room where you can serve your cake. Another option is to recruit a museum guide to lead your kids through activities like meeting friendly reptiles and learning about their natural habitats or adventuring together on a scavenger hunt that features hands-on exhibits with a play grocery store and pizza parlor. After the kids have worked up an appetite, they can chow down on real food and cake (provided by the venue). Ages 1–10.
The behemoth aircraft carrier, which also houses the space shuttle Enterprise, offers celebrations with pilot, astronaut, spy and Marine-themed celebrations for young adventurers. Two party hosts (one dressed in costume) lead the group on a scavenger hunt through the exhibits and to the XD simulator that takes the audience on a 4-D journey through the solar system. Lunch packages and birthday cake are included, and guests snag admission to the museum and space-shuttle pavilion, allowing them to explore the Intrepid at their own pace once the party ends. Ages 4–13.
Celebrate your kid’s birthday with the art of Harlem and northern Manhattan at this beautiful and affordable uptown haven. A birthday party at Sugar Hill Children’s Museum allows admission for 12 children and 8 adults to enjoy the multimedia installations, dynamic photographs, painting and drawings—all created by local artists. Guests can also attend public scheduled storytelling shows and participate in the museum’s opportunities to create their own artwork. Parents are welcome to bring refreshments and treats to serve in Sugar Hill’s party room, and for an additional fee ($150) they can add activities such as art projects inspired by the exhibits or a performance from a professional storyteller about the neighborhood’s history. Ages 1–8.
Times Square’s home for unusual art, interactive experiences and gruesome oddities can also be your little one’s next birthday destination with the "Discovery Birthday Package." Everyone grabs a safari hat and ventures on a scavenger hunt among the space’s 500 artifacts (such as shrunken heads, albino giraffes and a Captain America statue made of scrap metal). Before guests are sent home with their “survivor certificate,” they get a chance to run the gauntlet during the timed LaserRace. Ages 8 and up.
Gift mini film directors a behind-the-scenes look at how movies, TV shows and even video games are made at a flick-focused birthday party. Young Spielbergs can create flip books and animation or do movie voice- overs. Museum educators will introduce them to the wonderful world of film beyond Disney and Pixar with a private screening of The Red Balloon or a Charlie Chaplin short, among others. Guests also get a tour of the venue’s highlights, like movie costumes. Wrap up the day with goodie bags, or extend the fun with add-ons like tailored workshops. Ages 8 and up.
Sports birthday party places
At Floyd Bennett Field, whatever party your wild thing wants, they can have. Options include ice-skating, golf, ninja warrior (imagine an indoor parkour field), rock climbing, swimming, gymnastics and other sports, and the venue throws in a birthday cake, pizza, soda and a T-shirt for the birthday star, plus a private room. Ages 2 and up.
Does your young city slicker dream of riding a pony? The Bronx Equestrian Center has several hour-long options: Kids can take turns riding a pony, each kid can get a pony to ride on a trail, or all the kids can pile onto a wagon for a hayride. All packages come with a barnlike room where you can sit for BYO food, drink and cake (which you can stash in the on-site refrigerator). Balloons and piñatas aren’t allowed, as a courtesy to the ponies. Riders must be less than 65 lbs. Ages 5 and up.
Birthday daredevils can aerially zoom across the Bronx River on a zip line at this park operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, and climbers can try their hand at treetop courses that feature challenges like rope Bowlmor Lanes bridges, tightrope walks and ladders. The 90-minute Yellow package includes invitations and, for the birthday star, a free T-shirt and return ticket for free access another day; the Green package grants one-hour access to a private room, plus pizza, cake and goodies for all. Each session includes training and prep time. Attendees must be between 50 and 275 lbs. and able to reach a height of 5’6”. Ages 7 and up.
Rent a 5,000-square-foot gym where a gaggle of wild things can jump up and down in a bounce house, swing from monkey bars, test their balance on beams and do all manner of activities to expend their youthful energy under the careful supervision of the safety-certified staff. The price includes an hour of gym time and 30 minutes for cake, pizza and soda, as well as paper products, for tots and adults, all provided by the venue. Add-ons include live musicians, a catered menu, piñatas and temporary tattoos, to name a few. Ages 1–12.
Two and a half hours at this gym space should be enough time to let your Energizer Bunny’s battery run out. The birthday package allows you to choose two activities from its wide range of offerings: a jumbo slide and bounce house (counts as one activity), soccer, basketball, swimming, dance or, for kids at least 10 years old, flag football. While you must bring the cake and candles, the Complex provides food, drink, paperware, music and goodie bags for your birthday kid and his friends. And if your little one is Ms. or Mr. Popular, have no fear: You can invite up to 32 peeps to the party. Ages 1–16.
Your monkey has been trying to scale the walls since toddlerdom, so it’s time to show ’em the ropes. The Cliffs' staff belays the young climbers in harnesses, then supervises as they try to reach the top of the colorful rock wall. There are tables off to the side for guardian-provided snacks. At the end of the two-hour session, your birthday climber completes a solo mission to the top for a prize. Ages 5 and up.
Performers train for top-level circuses and dance and theater productions here, so your own teeny circus is in good hands. For two hours, your flying trapeze artist can swing through the air in a harness, in the safe hands (literally) of an instructor who will have them doing aerial backflips by the end of the session. Your party can include one or a combination of other activities like juggling, partner balancing and aerial silks and hoops. You supply the eats and refreshments, but the gym will handle cleanup (for a$50 fee). Ages 7 and up.
The all-inclusive bowling soirees provide Gennaro’s pizza and drinks (no outside food allowed, except for cake and other desserts) as well as balloons, rental shoes, lightweight bowling balls for the tiny rollers and even coffee for the adults. Party in your own private room or out on the concourse. Sprites can jam to music videos that Rab’s plays just for them. The Cosmic package turns the place into a glow-in-the-dark disco, or the kids can dash around the laser maze. Ages 3 and up.
New York’s only indoor skate park sports custom- built slopes, ramps and other features needed to practice all extreme sports moves. Celebrate your kid’s birthday with their friends by letting ’em grab a helmet and scooting, skating or BMX riding. Pizza, cake, drinks and an instructor to help them pop that ollie are included in the gold-level party ($580; silver-level, $450, bronze-level $320). All guests must sign a waiver. Ages 6 and up.
Tiny skaters can practice becoming the next Mirai Nagasu or Adam Rippon. Parties here include admission, skate rental (the smallest child size is 8), pizza or hot dogs and soda—and four whole hours of skate time. For an extra fee, you can get cottoncandy, partyinvites,a skate coach and character appearances—imagine your child's face when Elsa glides into the room on skates. All ages.
Cooking birthday party places
Now that your sprout is a year older, it’s time they learned to cook! Here, a real chef will give the crowd a step-by-step lesson on how to make a meal from scratch. While the birthday party for those who are 14–17 focuses on dishes like homemade pasta and sushi rolls, younger kids can opt for "cupcake wars" or a cultural menu that includes one sweet and two savory recipes. Obviously, you don’t have to pack your own food since kids will devour whatever they make. Ages 3–17.
This chill spot is a frozen treat lover’s paradise. A dedicated “ice cream consultant” leads the party through various flavor choices to make the perfect recipe. The process starts with a base flavor (chocolate or vanilla) and can feature all sorts of candy and salty or fruity toppings that go into the machine. Every party also includes pizza, which is just a first course before kids go on a “candy spree” and taste their own ice cream creations. Ages 4 and up.
Even the hard-to-please Eloise would find this fete at the Plaza Hotel “rawther festive.” Guests gather in a pink and white room for a tea party with details reminiscent of Kay Thompson’s beloved children’s book. Options include a pajama party brunch with croissants and Danish pastries or a “fancy” package that offers a beauty service (hair, makeup or manicure) and dress-up for a glamorous fashion show. Oh-so- precocious mischief makers can expect pink frosted cupcakes, an arts and crafts activity, themed invitations and—for the birthday kid—a copy of Eloise at the Plaza. Add-ons such as entertainers, make your own sundaes and even an etiquette class are available for an additional fee. Ages 5–11.
Birthday parties are the perfect time for sweets, and there's no better place to indulge than Brooklyn's new candy shop, Fferins of Brooklyn. The recently opened South Slope spot specializes in hard-to-find treats—Starbar, Maltesers, Teacakes—and lets patrons taste goods they might not have experienced otherwise. In the shop's birthday party package, up to 14 kiddos can enjoy a fun event that includes candy jewelry making (completely fitting) and cupcake decorating. The fee includes juice, water, plates, cutlery, napkins and material needed for the decorating activities. All ages.
Besides doling out incredible original flavors like Mexican Hot Chocolate and Toxic Sludge, Brooklyn's favorite ice cream emporium hosts birthday parties that are good enough to eat! Partyers get a lesson in making ice cream, then the birthday kid chooses a single concoction to churn on a stationary bike (adorable photo-op alert!). While the ice cream hardens, kids will participate in a fun craft, and then when it's all done and ready to eat, they'll pile their ice cream on fresh waffles and top them with stuff like M&M's, marshmallows and gummy bears. Eat slowly, or you'll end up with brain freeze! Find other Ample Hills' in Gowanus and Gotham West Market. Ages 5–10.
Little ones better come hungry to this birthday party venue. Attendees each receive a bowl of plain cookie dough and a number of mix-in items, such as chocolate, dried fruit and marshmallows to concoct their own cookies. Staff members bake and pack up the sweet treats, which guests then enjoy with milk, milk shakes or hot cocoa, depending on the season. Parents supply additional food and drinks. Ages 5 and up.
Young foodies can celebrate their big day with any cooking theme they can dream up, or choose from one of Freshmade's popular themes, such as Pizza Party, Tea Party, Sushi Party, Pasta Party, Taco Party and Kitchen Showdown. For an additional fee, you can tack on face painting, yoga or a photographer—even cupcake and ice-cream sandwich activities! As an added bonus, each guest will leave with a favor. Ages 2 and up.
Make your youngster’s birthday as sweet as can be with a blowout at NYC’s best-known candy emporium. There’s a Willy Wonka vibe right off the bat thanks to the colorful, candy-inspired decorations. The sugar rush continues with fun games, loads of treats and a Candy Spree, which lets guests fill a bucket with a unique selection of sweets. Various theme options add more activities to the mix, including candy crafts (candy jewelry, mini lollipop topiaries), cupcake decorating, beauty services and science experiments. Get more time or perks, like a chocolate fountain or an ice-cream sundae bar, for an additional cost. All ages.
Children become chocolatiers for the day at this dessert wonderland. After taking a tour of the shop and learning about cocoa, they create a candy that looks too good to eat...almost. The kids choose a special flat or 3-D molding for their chocolate creations, with options such as animals, ballerinas, hearts and sports gear. They use a hose to fill the molds, choosing between white, milk and dark chocolate, and then decorate as they see fit. Guests chow down on pizza and use the Chocolate Car Wash conveyor belt to cover a graham cracker, pretzel or Oreo for a special tasty treat. Extras like balloons, aprons to decorate and a chocolate fountain with fruits and marshmallows are also available for an additional cost. Ages 4 and up.
Your little one may be turning a year older, but a vintage bash at this quaint ice cream shop lets you turn the clock way back for the special day. A pharmacy in the 1920s, this Carroll Gardens spot has been spiffed up and transformed into a classic soda fountain, complete with intricate tiled floors, a long bar with swivel-stools, and soda jerks serving scoops and ice cream floats. On the day, party guests decked out in retro paper hats get to choose from sweet treats like house-made ice cream sodas and sky-high sundaes to cap their meal. All ages.
Performing arts birthday party places
If you have a budding performer around the house, these playful youth theater programs are great for harnessing their creative energy. Youngsters can shake off stage fright in 45- to 55-minute classes like Imagination Adventure, Story Drama or Musical Adventure, where they’ll use props and costumes and play characters from their favorite stories and musicals. For more in-depth instruction, try Put on a Play (ages 4–6) or Musical Treasures (ages 5–7) where kids learn choreographed dance numbers and perform scripted mini-plays for friends and family. Various locations. Ages 2 ½–7.
The Just Kidding family entertainment series at Symphony Space is one of our favorite lineups of kid-friendly music and theater, so why not make one of the shows an extra-special occasion? Choose an upcoming performance that interests the birthday boy or girl and invite a group to come along. The package includes tickets to the show plus a two-hour party in the café, complete with pizza or chicken tenders, drinks and a personalized cake. Listen up for a special birthday shout-out during the performance! Ages 2 and up.
Every young one gets the star treatment during Red Carpet Kids’ glamorous gatherings. Hollywood hopefuls can create and costar in an original live-action flick, then watch the movie in a real theater with the Lights, Camera, Action! package. The musically inclined may want to shoot their own music video (DJ, backup dancers and all) at the Music Video Awards, and stylish kids will love strutting their stuff on the runway with the Fashion Week experience. Throw in more perks, like a digital invitation concierge, a way-cool custom cake and themed swag bags, to make the party even more paparazzi-worthy. Ages 5–12.
From crime-fighting ninja babies to flying kitties, the professional improv actors of the Story Pirates bring smiles to kids faces with their fun and original stories and songs, all of which were created by other children around the world. The Story Pirates believe that within each individual child is a story to be told, so kids even have the chance to contribute their own fantastical ideas to the Story Pirates repertoire, which the Pirates will perform on the spot in front of the birthday child and all her friends. The Story Pirates offer two birthday options: The Premiere birthday (ages 4–10), which features a 45-minute long sketch comedy show with a story by the birthday child, and a bash that invites youngster to celebrate at one of their public Flagship Shows. Ages 4–12.
Sign your kids up for a Tada! party for exclusive use of the studio, two party pros that run cool musical theater activities, pizza and goody bags for each guest (up to 25). Premium parties include a song by the cast and a fun photo op on stage. Parties will be based on a theme of your child's choosing. Ages 5 and up.
The offerings at this fun-filled play space make it an ideal venue for your tot’s first birthday celebration. Tiny guests will love activities designed just for them at The Big ONE party. They hear a personalized tale during story time, sing and move to tunes performed by a Songs for Seeds guitarist and play along with kid-sized instruments. For babes who really love music, upgrade to a full band performance complete with a drummer and keyboardist. Three staffers run the show in your private party room. Choose the all-inclusive or ultimate packages for extras like pizza and juice, birthday treats and favors and exclusive access to the playground. 200 West End Ave (212-792-7591) · 10 W 25th St (212-792-7590) · 252 First Ave (212-792-7590). Ages 0–2.
The teaching artists at Treasure Trunk Theatre bring the imaginations of kids who love costumes and playing make-believe to a whole new level. The birthday boy or girl chooses the theme for the party beforehand—think pirates, fairies, outer space, superheroes or popular stories like Peter Pan—and then has an exuberant trained actor and host through fun theater games and acting out a story together. The host can bring the party to your place; along with a trunk of goodies to help in the day’s fun, or you can choose a 45-minute workshop at one of Treasure Trunk Theatre’s facilities for an additional cost. Parents can even purchase some of the pieces ahead of time to be used as party giveaways (like colorful scarves for pirates or wands for fairies). Whether the kids pretend to be astronauts, mermaids or even cars, the experience will be nothing short of magical. Ages 3–6.
The Upper East Side music mecca customizes parties to your little one’s favorite songs and theme of preference—jungle boogie, rock & roll and baseball bash, for instance—and all partygoers can jam on mini instruments. TLB Music also has a playroom—with a clubhouse, a tiny rock-climbing mountain and a play kitchen—plus extras such as a magician, character visits, face painting, glitter tattoos and party favors. All parties include Two Boots Pizza and staff setup and cleanup. Ages 1–6.
Tote your cool kid and her friends to Williamsburg for an hour-long concert where the group can jam to live music. The band will sing “Happy Birthday” onstage, and the birthday rock star gets a signed copy of the show's set list. Past themes have included “The Music of New Orleans” and “Outlaw Country,” with Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson covers. Three packages cover admission and cupcakes, and two include Blue Ribbon French bread, pizza and juice. Ages 1-10.
Imported to the U.S. in 1876 as Sweden’s exhibit for Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition, the so-called Swedish Cottage was later brought to Central Park by Frederick Law Olmsted, who thought it looked like an ideal model schoolhouse. Today, a marionette theater company puts on kid-friendly productions here, and after a private viewing of the current show (past performances have included Neverland: Peter Returns and The Three Bears Holiday Bash), your posse can retire to the adjacent private room with child-size furniture to devour the provisions you brought. All ages.
S.T.E.M. birthday party places
If your kids can’t get enough of building towering structures from these beloved Danish blocks, the Flatiron LEGO Store has something perfect for their birthday celebration. Two brick specialists guide kids through a personalized building activity, a mini-model build and competitive group challenges. Guests can even fill a large Pick-a-Brick cup with their favorite blocks from the Pick & Build Wall. Parents provide the treats (cake or another dessert) to be served in the party room, while the staff provides party favors and useful tips for creating better skyscrapers, vehicles and other projects at home. Ages 5–14.
This one-stop party destination brings together small children and architectural construction with enough rigorous energy to keep kids hooked. The center’s signature offering is a construction theme where they design their own home, then build a model of it using foam, paint, markers and more. At the end of the party, attendees take home a plastic helmet and goodie bags. The more than 15 other themes include Space Party and Under the Sea. For an extra fee, tack on hard hats, themed goody bags, photos or character appearances. Ages 8 and under.
Former P.S. 261 teacher Carmelo Piazza makes science and math super fun for your birthday kid. The self-proclaimed science geek weaves close-up creature encounters, hands-on experiments and plenty of gross jokes into the two-hour shebang at his studio space. Youngsters start by meeting the likes of a blue-tongued skink, corn snakes, bearded dragons and more, then they get to the really fun stuff—experiments! Once the little Einsteins have worked up an appetite, they chow down on parent-provided food, drinks and snacks. Ages 3–11.
Birthday party packages with three different price points (Super, Deluxe and Premium) ensure that kids get everything they want for their birthday soirée. With the Super Science Party, attendees will receive a private room for a half hour, plastic/paper goods, orders of individual plates such as pizza or chicken fingers and beverages, gift bags with free return admission and a NYSCI facilitator to lead kids through activities and exhibits. Deluxe adds on features like Rocket Park Mini Golf and Science Playground access, while Premium has additional entertainment and upgraded goodie bags. Ages 3 and up.
Let’s face it: It’s hard to tear some kids away from Minecraft, so you might as well embrace it by encouraging them to explore the video game’s programming possibilities. With a Pixel Academy shared birthday ($560 for eight children), gamers enter a custom Minecraft world in which they’re challenged to learn new techniques while having a blast. A pricier exclusive party (starting at $925) encourages those young programmers and future tech entrepreneurs with virtual reality games, motion tracking and interactive activities. Available add-ons include Minecraft swords for every guest to wield, balloons and plates and four-inch 3-D statues of partygoers. Additional location at 163 Pacific St, Brooklyn. Ages 7–14.
Aspiring filmmakers and producers get a crash course in moviemaking at this fully equipped studio party. Industry professionals guide young filmmakers on set as they practice a prewritten script (the project could be a commercial, music video or scene re-created from a favorite movie), then film and edit the epic story. The program gives everyone a chance to get in on the process and to use high-tech equipment including cameras, lights, a green screen and props. Bring your own food, drinks and sweet to feed the hungry creatives, then settle in for a screening of the finished product in the studio. Ages 8–14.
With the right tools, your tech-savvy kids can do much more than smash their own Candy Crush Saga high score. If you throw a STEM-themed party at this learning center, you’ll secure knowledgeable instructors who can help the tykes tackle awesome projects like Minecraft design, robot-making and video-game programming. The guests will pick up on math and science concepts as they practice coding techniques, strategize their chess games and try out high-end programs like Scratch. After using all that brainpower, they’ll be ready for the provided food, drinks and a tricked-out cake designed to match the party theme. Ages 5–13.
This educational spot’s parties will engage all young ’uns, from toddlers to preteens, with projects designed specifically for their age group. With all materials provided by the venue, kids can build and decorate their own working machines, such as a small tricycle, and learn the engineering and circuitry concepts behind them—and the party-goers get to take their creations home. Parents have to bring the food and cake for a celebration here, unless they splurge for the all-inclusive Platinum package. Ages 2 and up.
With 6,000 square feet of STEM- inspired and toddler-friendly room for play at this Glendale center, parents can be confident that their child will have an ultra-memorable birthday. Party packages start at $550 for 10 children and 20 adults, with pizza, balloons, juice and water included. Kids can choose among music or art activities, then spend plenty of time in the padded play areas and zip down the short chutes. Older kids (ages 6 and up) can choose a robotic activity made using LEGOs and other exciting brands for budding engineers and tech lovers. Ages 1–11.
If your tiny tykes can’t keep their hands off your tools at home, let the staff here show ’em how to use them constructively. The Brooklyn Navy Yard workshop offers a variety of age-based themed parties that allow your kids to use hammers, nails and other supplies to build and decorate more than 40 projects, including cars, airplanes, Minecraft objects and houses. Bring your own grub or pay an extra fee to have the venue supply it. Ages 4–9.
More birthday party places
When the time comes for your busy bee’s birthday, treat the whole gang to a relaxing spa day designed for little ones, with pink and white decor and kid-size amenities. Each of the three party packages includes pizza, cupcakes and juice, as well as a range of pampering opportunities: among them, a lush mini facial, manicure, pedicure and glitter makeup. Ages 4 and up.
Let your little fish splish-splash in an indoor pool reserved for him or her and friends. The pool provides water toys, including inflatable noodles, and swimmies or swim vests for less-confident swimmers. Though a certified lifeguard is always on duty, there must be an adult in the pool for every two kids, with a maximum of 25 kids in the water. The Greenpoint YMCA makes planning simple: Choose one hour of pool time, one hour in a private room (no swimming) or a combination of both, so the merpeople can swim and then recharge with snacks and cake. BYO food and decorations! All ages.
This Murray Hill arcade mecca has 30 new and refurbished vintage pinball machines with themes like Star Wars, Spider-Man and Star Trek! All two-hour birthday options offer unlimited games for the child and guests—don’t worry, there are footstools for smaller pinball wizards—with access to the VIP private party room, where everyone can enjoy food and drink. Though private parties are available, it’s easy to save money by choosing the semi-private option, which means you might share the game space with other customers. Ages 5 and up.
One of the best parks in Queens also throws one of the best parties in the borough. Your kiddo critters learn about nature in an action- packed, age-appropriate class surrounded by Alley Pond’s forests and wetlands. Helpful instructors introduce the children to several live animals—like turtles they can touch!—before leading the whole gang on a nature walk through the paths along the wetlands (weather permitting). Birthday kids can choose from several craft options, such as paper-bag animal puppets, mosaics and feathered birds to create as a group. For older kids (ages 8 and up), special tween party themes include dissecting owl pellets or, less icky, a spa party with aromatherapy and a mini massage class. Ages 2 and up.
Believe it or not, NYC has a spa that’s specifically for kids. The offerings here feel good and smell great (many are dessert-themed), and every party package adds a little glitz and glam. Birthdays include ice cream and cookies (surprise!), plus fun activities like making your own lip gloss, getting yummy vanilla, strawberry or chocolate facials or turning the birthday into an ultra-fashionable affair with hair extensions, temporary tattoos, pedicures, karaoke and hair styling or trimming. Ages 3 and up.
Complete with tunnels, slides, cushioned play mats and plenty of toys, this Upper East Side play room is heaven for toddlers and preschool- aged children. A party rental gives 15 tykes free rein over the play structures, play strollers, play kitchen and costumes, before they devour pizza, juice and cake served on paper goods befitting your child’s favorite theme (“Sesame Street,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Doc McStuffins,” etc.). Ages 2–8.