Mechanical bull? Human hamster balls? Zorbs? Who knew there were so many alternatives to the ubiquitous birthday bounce house? Check out the following backyard birthday entertainment options that will have them jumping for joy.

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Photo: Action Packed Parties

Mechanical Bull
Perfect for your little cowpokes, this mechanical bull operates as slowly (or quickly, for some after-party grown up fun) as you want to go. Nestled in the middle of an inflatable ring, there’s nothing scary about this ride, and it comes with its own operator (just to make sure you don’t mess up and hit the “turbo” button on accident). Planning a party on a Georgia gameday? You can replace the bull with a bulldog for an additional $100!

Where to Get It: Action Packed Parties, $650 for 2 hours, 770.466.3437

velcro

Wall of Velcro
Instead of climbing the walls of your house, suit your party guests up in specially designed velcro suits and let them storm an inflatable castle with a velcro wall. We speak from experience that it takes a little effort to catapult yourself with enough force to stick, so this may be better for kids ages 5 and older (lest you spend the entire party lifting, sticking, then unsticking the littles from the wall-o-fun!).

Where to Get It: Jumptastic, Inc., $265 for up to an 8 hour rental, 404-537-1805, info@jumptastic.com

Gator

Safari Gator Challenge
Part bounce house, part obstacle course, this 54 foot long inflatable alligator is certain to keep the kiddos busy. With an entrance through an opening near the tail (we didn’t design it), partiers travel through obstacles, up ladders, and down slides to make their way to freedom through the gator’s mouth.

Where to Get It: Astro Jump Atlanta, $399 for up to 6 hours, 770-529-0053

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Human Hamster Ball
If you’re looking for a show stopper, you really can’t beat a backyard full of human hamster balls. Accompanied by an operator, these giant globe inflatables allow your kiddos to race, bump, and roll all over your yard (or, if you prefer, stay contained to an inflatable pool in your backyard). Attendants inflate, load, and help initiate play for the kids, and you enjoy your refreshment, knowing that the vendor is fully insured. 165/ 1st hour, 65 after that, additional ball is 65/ hour after that, flat smooth ground

Where to Get It: Le Ball, Prices vary by delivery distance but are generally $165 for the 1st hour and $65/ hour each additional hour, 678-371-9090, banda.amusement@gmail.com

Parachute

Parachute Games
Love the idea of an at-home party with something special to do but not ready to break into the kids’ college savings to do it? Consider renting a couple of full-sized parachutes (a la gym class, 1989) and channeling your old P.E. teacher. Can’t remember back that far? No fear. Check out this link to get a refresher. Was there really anything better in elementary school than parachute day, really?

Where to Get It: Action Packed Parties, $15 each, 770.466.3437

Did we miss something? Tell us how your littles like to party in the comments section below!

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—Shelley Massey

Photos courtesy of Le Balls and Astro Events via Facebook and Dplanet::dolanh, Kevin Baird and  lleugh via flickr Creative Commons