So you’ve exhausted the city’s indoor play spaces and want to take things up a notch for your kid’s nest birthday celebration? From a red-carpet-worthy fete at one of LA’s most iconic theaters to a hoedown on the farm, read on for our picks for the coolest, most original and fun birthday spots in Los Angeles.
El Capitan Theatre
But if you’re throwing a birthday bash for mini movie mavens, then look no further than the El Capitan where nearly every feature attraction is a kid-friendly Disney flick. One of the last remaining classic movie houses in the city, El Capitan was built in 1926, which means that beyond the film, just taking in the majesty of the theater (and its functioning organ) is a real treat in itself.
The theater offers two different party packages, both of which accommodate up to 20 guests. The Red Carpet features VIP concessions with in-seat service and a post-movie party in a shared room with games and crafts. The Movie Premiere Package takes it up a notch with a private party room and celebrity treatment in the form of photo-ops on the red carpet as guests arrive.
6838 Hollywood Blvd.
Kids who love to climb all things climbable will never want their time here to end. Sender City—the kid nook inside the massive Sender One climbing gym near LAX—makes it easy for kids to reach the ceiling safely. The room is outfitted with a colorful assortment of challenges, including stair-stepping "skyscrapers" (featured above), a timed rock wall that lets climbers compete with friends, and a firefighting-themed wall that challenges kids to put out fires (by hitting buttons) as they climb ladders to the top. And don't worry: Climbers are hooked into an auto-belay system while climbing, so the ropes quickly catch them and whisk them gently to the ground every time they jump or fall.
Birthday party packages include 30-minutes of activities and instruction; one hour of climbing time inside Sender City (plus all the gear needed to climb); one hour in the party space; free climbing for the birthday kid's parents (trust us, you'll want to join in on the fun!); plus a party attendant to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Good to Know: Climbers must weigh 35 pounds to use the auto-belay system.
Cost: Starts at $549
Ages: 5 & up
11220 Hindry Ave.
Trapeze School New York/Los Angeles
If you've got a budding daredevil, a party at the Trapeze School New York (in LA) is the perfect high-flying adventure. Birthday parties at the Santa Monica-based school include a 2-hour flying trapeze class with three instructors to help get all those little fliers airborne. For an additional fee, you can get a photographer (because #FlyingTrapeze) plus other add-ons such as aerial silks, static trapeze, tightrope and trampoline.
Good to Know: Parties don't include food or drinks, but there's no extra charge to bring your own.
Cost: For groups of ten or more, parties start at $700 on the weekends
Ages: 6 & up
Santa Monica Pier
Exit Game LA: Inland escape artists may want to try the popular Exit Game LA, which calls itself the most high-tech of LA's escape rooms. It's got tunnels to crawl through, laser fields to thwart, and conjuring spells to master. For kids under 10, staff there recommends "A.I" room (evil computers!), "Lab 51," (aliens!) or "School of Sorcery" (wizardry!) for the theme.
Cost: $32 per person. Escape rooms have a 10-person maximum, so multiple rooms should be booked for larger groups
Ages: Adult supervision for kids under 12 is required
111 N. Atlantic Blvd. #148
The MagIQ Room: Escape rooms are all the rage for big kids; why not get the younger escape artists in on the action? While most venues will let little kids give it a try, the MagIQ Room in Beverly Hills is the only spot that caters exclusively to the smaller set (it calls its rooms "Adventure Rooms" instead of "escape rooms"). Each 2-hour party includes a 1-hour adventure room experience, costumes to match the theme, party games, framed birthday pictures (sent via e-mail), snacks and drinks.
Cost: $80 per person. Escape rooms have a 10-person maximum; multiple rooms can be booked to accommodate larger parties
Ages: 6 & up (kids should able to read to play)
1446 S Robertson Blvd.
Underwood Family Farm
Take your city mouse to the country and help them live out their Old MacDonald dreams! Birthday parties at Underwood Farm's Moorpark location include a private wagon ride around the farm (for all your guests), a shaded picnic table area, a group photo—plus unlimited pony rides, electric train rides, moon-bounces, trike trails, and cow train rides. Party guests can also visit the petting corral and mingle as long as they'd like with the goats, sheep, and bunnies.
Good to Know: Parties are held Mar. through Dec.
Cost: $390 & up (for 2 1/2 hours and up to 15 children)
Ages: 2 & up
3370 Sunset Valley Rd.
Neon Retro Arcade
If you want to give your kid a taste of the oldies, throw a birthday bash at a place where Pac-Man and his pixelated pals still rule the room. Neon Retro boasts a myriad of gorgeously restored vintage games—from 1970s pinball machines to 80s faves like Frogger, Centipede, and Donkey Kong. And if your kids are itching to get back to the future, there are Wii U consoles with flat screen TVs in the back (just make sure they try the classics first!).
Birthday parties include arcade access for up to 10 guests (all games are set to free play), complimentary admission for up to five adults, 1 reserved Wii gaming station, table seating for 10, and a gift for the birthday kid.
Good to Know: The arcade is still open to the public during parties.
Cost: $250 for a 2-hour party
Ages: 5 & up
There are two locations:
28 S. Raymond Ave.
8943 Reseda Blvd.
Make your cake and eat it, too! At Duff's Cakemix (owned by Food Network's Ace of Cakes star Duff Goldman), kids can learn how to make delicious edible art with the help of frosting and fondant. Every guest gets an unfrosted cake (or a set of six cupcakes) to decorate plus all the instruction they need to make a masterpiece.
Birthday packages include two hours of time in the bakery; one cake-decorating kit; access to tools, aprons, gloves, cookie cutters, stencils, and molds; a celebration cake to cut and serve; drinks; balloons; and bakery boxes. The guest of honor also gets a Duff's Cakemix apron to show off around the house.
Cost: Cupcake parties start at $395; Cake parties at $495
Ages: All ages welcome but we recommend kids ages 4 & up
—Melissa Heckscher, Andie Huber & Shahrzad Warkentin