Chances are, if your kids have winter birthdays they have mastered musical chairs, pin-the-tail and other indoor party games. How about changing up the routine this year? Whether your birthday star is into LEGO, gymnastics or tearing it up on a mountain bike, there’s a perfect celebration spot for you. Check out these fantastic winter birthday venues that will make this year’s party planning a breeze.
Photo: Anna Doogan
For your budding artist, a party at Smartypants might be just the thing for letting those little imaginations run wild while staying out of the cold. Celebrate the happiest of birthdays while making a colorful, creative mess in the bright studio space. Parties at Smartypants run for two hours and include use of the art studio overflowing with rotating projects and sensory stations, plus use of the private party room and a special art project led by a staff member. The birthday child even gets a special t-shirt to take home as a memento. Party package is $250 for up to 12 guests.
Stay warm and dry while having a blast and teach kids about creative reuse and upcycling with a birthday party at SCRAP PDX. This popular craftastic spot has a range of party packages that can accommodate from 10-13 guests ages 6 and up. Party guests will participate in a structured craft activity, such as sculpture building, diorama creation or making their own stuffed animal. Packages also include time in the workshop, as well as a fun photo op with costumes and props. Party add-ons include reusable party hats or festive goodie bags for an additional fee. SCRAP PDX parties require a minimum parent-child ratio of 1:5 and a maximum of 1:1. Availability calendar and birthday party planning requests can be found on SCRAP PDX’s website.
Become a Scientist
Ever wanted to ride on a hovercraft or see how special effects are made with dry ice? If your birthday kid gets excited by a baking soda and vinegar volcano, this year you can really wow them with a celebration in the Mad Science party lab! At this North Portland indoor party site, science-lovers can watch an entertaining show by the Mad Science scientists before getting hands-on with a take-home experiment of their own. Birthday kids get to dress the part with an official white lab coat for the duration of the party. Choose the Young Wizards themed party and make your own troll booger slime, or melt a foam witch when you choose the Spooky Science party. For extra fun, add one of the Grand Finale options to your party ($49.95), such as cotton candy-making, rocket launching or hovercraft rides. Following the science show, guests may use the remaining time in the party room for cake or gift-opening.
Pricing varies depending on the type of party, add-ons and number of guests, so visit the Mad Science website to start planning your event. Can’t make it to the Party Lab? Mad Scientists can also perform a science show at your home or other location.
Photo: The Playground Gym
You don’t have to be outdoors to have an energy-burning party. For a birthday party that everyone will flip for, book an action-packed celebration at The Playground Gym. True to their motto of “Have More Fun,” party coaches at The Playground Gym will lead guests through 85 minutes of high-energy activity time in the colorful gym, with 20 minutes for cake and snacks in the party room. Parties are available at the Northeast Grand location, as well as the new gym location on North Lombard, and begin at $190 for up to 12 children. Additional guests may be added for $3.50 per child, up to a max of 30 children. Birthday parties book fast at this popular Portland spot, so be sure to reserve well in advance for a great festive time!
The Playground Gym Northeast
505 NE Grand Ave.
The Playground Gym North
5215 N. Lombard, Stes. 3 & 4
It’s ridiculously fun physical theater at Echo Theater Company, and your aspiring acrobats can have a blast testing out their skills while gaining strength and confidence. Birthday parties at the Echo Theater start with a class that consists of a warm up, creative movement games, acrobatics and basic trapeze skills. After class, the space is available for cake, food and gifts. Party packages range from $240 for 1-10 students to $320 for 11-16 students, and the staff is happy to chat with you about options for your unique party.
Try Something New
For a new set of indoor party games, try a party at Pinball Outreach Project is sure to be a hit. This non-profit hidden gem on Fremont holds an impressive pinball selection. You’ll find vintage and newer games at POP, and they aim to educate and entertain children by sharing and inspiring a love of pinball. Private birthday parties are two hours in length and include unlimited pinball gaming for your group, table space for food and cake and a POP staff member to assist you. Parties begin at $250 for up to 10 kids, or $400 for 11-20 kids. Adults will find themselves happily humming “Pinball Wizard” while watching the birthday kid go for the high score.
Photo by Ana Maria C via Yelp
Get to Know Your Neighborhood Community Center
With a wide selection of community centers through Portland Parks and Recreation, it’s easy to find a fun and affordable indoor party venue just a few skips from your backyard. Many of the PP&R centers offer an assortment of party packages and activities to suit all of your party needs. At Charles Jordan Community Center, choose from a themed party such as Messy Art, Pirate and Princess, Indoor Play Park or Sports and Games. Prices vary depending on theme, but all party packages include balloons, paper products and a personal party host.
For water-lovers, pool parties a great option for winter birthdays. At Mt. Scott Community Center they include an hour in the party room and admission for up to 35 swimmers ($140). If roller skating is what gets your birthday kid excited, they can rent the whole rink at Mt. Scott for their own private skating party. Skate parties are $66/hour with a 2 hour minimum, and include up to 30 skaters, including skate rental. Let the good times roll!
Other community centers offer a variety of party options, so visit the PP&R website to find the best community center for your celebration.
Why not have the party come to you? Rain or shine, it’s all happy shrieks and smiles when the birthday guest of honor sees one of these party buses pull up at your front door. It may look like a school bus on the outside, but the Tumble Bus is anything but ordinary. Peek inside the full-size yellow bus, and you’ll find tumbling mats, monkey bars, a trampoline and other colorful gymnastics equipment. Birthday parties cost $150 for 45 minutes of tumbling fun. Party guests are led through warm-ups and games, followed by free play. The Tumble Bus will come to your home or another location of your choosing.
For older kids who can’t get enough of the latest Wii game, Game Truck makes party planning easy. The mobile gaming truck can bring a video game party right to your door. Customize your entertainment with a selection of games from over 200 titles, including options for Wii-U, XBox One, and PlayStation 4. Parents can sit back and relax while the kids get cozy on couches inside the truck and kick off that Mario Kart tournament on the hi-def TV screens, or show their moves with a round of Just Dance. If you want even more fun delivered, Game Truck also offers Laser Tag parties or Bubble Soccer parties at your home or other chosen location. (And who doesn’t want to run around inside of a giant beach ball?) Party prices vary depending on activity and length, so check out the Game Truck website to get a quote and start chatting with a party planner.
Photo: Anna Doogan
If your LEGO lover goes wild at the sight of those colorful bricks, a birthday party at Bricks and Minifigs is the perfect winter party option for them to show off their master building skills in LEGO paradise. At the Portland location, 90-minute parties include 55 minutes of LEGO free play, 20 minutes for food and gifts and 15 minutes to build a special minifigure party favor to take home. Parties start at $125 for weekday times, and $175 for weekend time slots, up to 12 children, age 5 and up. An additional room and up to 20 children can be accommodated for an additional $75.
Take a Spin
Now celebrating its 111th year, Oaks Amusement Park is a Portland staple for fun, and a spin around the roller skating rink is the perfect winter party spot. Skate parties include roller skating admission and shoes, a reserved party table, ice cream, cotton candy, drinks and a photo op with mascot Chipper the Squirrel. The birthday roller even gets a special gift to take home. Packages start at $140 for 8 skaters, with $11 for each additional skater. Availability can be found on the Oaks Park website.
Photo: Brad W. via Yelp
Show Your Skills
You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy the ramps and trails at The Lumberyard. Strap on your helmet and get ready to celebrate at the coolest indoor bike park. Birthday party packages range from $125 for 5 riders to $270 for 15 riders, and include admission, a reserved party table with host or hostess, table settings, bottled water for riders and a personalized birthday card from The Lumberyard. For an additional fee, you can enhance your party with add-ons such as party favors ($30 & up) or a private guided tour with an instructor, featuring bike games and pointers during a supervised riding session ($90). Bikes, helmets and pads are available for rent, and children under 12 must have adult supervision while participating. Pick up some hot gourmet pizzas from in-house pub Pulehu Pizza, and you’ve got a party that the kids won’t stop talking about.
Thorns and Timbers fans can get their soccer thrills with a birthday party at Rose City Futsal. Parties include an hour of indoor soccer with a party host, followed by 45 minutes in the party room. Food and beverages from the house menu can be added when booking a party reservation.
Cook Something Spectacular
If your mini chef loves helping out in the kitchen, why not whip up something delicious with a cooking birthday party? At The Merry Kitchen, Julie Merry inspires children with her love and excitement for cooking. Children’s cooking birthday parties can take place at the Northeast location or in your own home. After choosing a theme and booking the event, partygoers can cook a meal, eat together and take home some of the yummy recipes to try again. Parties are approximately two hours, and require a minimum of four guests and a maximum of 8-10, depending on theme and age range. Cost is $30 per child at The Merry Kitchen, or $35 per child at your home. For an extra $5 per person, meals can be made all organic. For a sweet finale, the birthday cake can even be baked during the party! ($15.)
You can also stay warm and toasty and cook something inspired with a birthday party at Turnip the Heat Cooking School. Joanna Sooper’s Northeast spot for creative cooking classes can also be rented for private events. Private children’s parties are $350 for 10 participants, and $35 for each additional guest.
What’s your favorite birthday party spot in Portland? Let us know in the comments below!