Party Time! Best Birthday Bash Spots in the East Bay

Finding the perfect birthday venue for your kid can be a tough job. These East Bay spots for kid parties know how to hit it out of the park with very little stress for mom and day. Scroll through to discover unique venues that will delight your birthday boy or girl, as well as their whole crew!

photo: Ted Eytan via Flickr

Fairyland, Oakland
Have a fairytale birthday at this amusement park aimed at the toddler set. Imagine having cake and ice cream right next to Cinderella’s glass slipper. Fairyland is one of the most budget-friendly options to boot: you can grab a few picnic tables in the Teddy Bear Grove on a first come-first served basis. All you need to pay is admission. You can also rent the Cinderella, Japanese Tea Garden or Circus Party areas for just $55 per hour.

Cost: Start at $55 for reserved areas in advance
Ages: Ideal for kids under 8
Phone: 510-238-6876

Oakland Zoo, Oakland
What better place for a bunch of party animals, than the zoo? The Oakland Zoo is a popular spot for East Bay birthdays and it’s easy to see why. Options can include special, close-up interactions with animals and staff demonstrations. The zoo offers tons of add-ons, so your party can stand out from the pack!

Cost: Start at $225/members, $250/non members for up to 40 guests
Ages: All ages
Phone: 510-632-9525

photo: Oakland Ice Center

Oakland Ice, Oakland
Your child will be the coolest around, no matter the time of year, with an ice skating party here. Each party gets a designated Party Captain who will give guests skating lessons, lead games and make sure the birthday boy or girl is happy. Packages include two hours of skating, skate rental, pizza and drinks. You can add on cakes or cupcakes—or bring your own (must be commercially prepared).

Cost: Starts at $285 for up to 10 guests
Ages: All ages
Phone: 510-268-9000
Online: Oaklandice.com

Color Me Mine, Various Locations
This spot takes the cake for best favors. Guests can take home the creations they’ll make at this paint-your-own pottery studio. The fee includes set up and take down, as well as invitations. Hosts can bring in their own food and refreshments.

Cost: $100 for two hours, cost of pottery extra
Ages: Best for 6 & up
Phone: 510- 521-8893

photo: Bladium

Bladium, Alameda
Staff at this super sports club and fitness center will keep the kids moving, while you sit back and relax. You can choose from a variety of party options: inflatables, rock climbing, flag football and soccer games, just to name a few. Prices vary depending on the activity, but each two-hour party includes pizza and drinks.

Cost: Starts at $399 for two hours, for up to 15 children
Ages: All ages, depending on activity booked
Phone: 510-814-4999

Albany Bowl, Albany
A birthday party at a bowling alley is kind of a rite of passage. At Albany Bowl, they make parties a piece of cake by providing everything, and we mean everything: an hour of bowling, shoe rental, pizza, balloons, soft drinks and a visit from one of their mascots. All takes place under their new and improved glow-in-the-dark light show.

Cost: $20 per child guest, minimum of 8
Ages: All ages
Phone: 510-526-8818

photo: Melissa Bouse

Chabot Space & Science Center. Oakland
Birthday parties are out-of-this-world up at the Chabot Space & Science Center. The cost includes admission for up to 30 guests and a planetarium show (complete with a special birthday message). You can even customize other activities to best suit the ages of your guests.

Cost: Starts at $050/members, $550/non-members
Ages: 3 & up
Phone: 510-336-7311

Lawrence Hall of Science, Berkeley
Choose your own adventure at this awesome science museum: biology, chemistry, space science, animal encounters or engineering. Each type of party includes hands-on experiments and workshops. They’ll also reserve a private room for you, or a section in their revamped cafe if you choose to have them provide the refreshments.

Cost: $265/members, $300/public
Ages: 4-11
Phone: 510-642-5200

photo: Habitot

Habitot, Berkeley
Here’s an experience your child will never forget: partygoers could have the museum all to themselves, if you book a party here during their usual off-hours. Habitot is an awesome spot for the toddler crowd, with tons of opportunities for imaginative play and learning. You can add on catering and special goodie bags, too. They also offer party rooms for functions during regular museum hours.

Cost: Starts at $200 for 90 minutes and up to eight children
Ages: All ages
Phone: 510-647-1111

Junior Center for Arts and Science, Oakland
Hosting a party isn’t rocket science, but it can be if you want it to! One of the party packages here offers guests the chance to make and launch their own model rockets. Other options include animal encounters and art instruction. They provide the materials and the know-how, you provide the refreshments and cake.

Cost: Starts at $350 for up to 14 guests
Ages: All ages
Phone: 510-839-5777
Online: juniorcenter.org

photo: MOCHA

MOCHA, Oakland
You and your guests can get creative with a party of the Museum of Children’s Arts. They provide all the materials and an art teacher to guide guests through the project at hand. MOCHA offers a bunch of cool themes, too—like “Sci-Fi” where kids can use recycled materials! Projects can be adjusted for a variety of age ranges.

Cost: Starts at $275 for two hours, up to 15 guests
Ages: All ages
Phone: 510-987-8556

Kids Gym, Berkeley
This unique gym offers all kinds of play equipment, for children of all ages and abilities. Staff members are party masters—they can help with all aspects from guiding activities, to face painting, to helping find a gluten-free cake.

Cost: Starts at $300
Ages: All ages
Phone: 510-845-9787

photo: Aquatech

Aquatech, Alameda and Concord
Make a splash with a swim party, no matter what time of year. This indoor aquatic center, with two East Bay locations, hosts pool parties all year ’round. The two-hour rental includes one hour of free swim time and one hour use of the party room. You can add on a bunch of different extras and parents are welcomed (and encouraged) to get in the water, too!

Cost: $475 for two hours, up to 20 child swimmers
Ages: All ages, though those who can’t swim independently *must* be accompanied by an adult in the water
Phone: 866-633-4147


TuTu School, Various Locations
What goes better with cupcakes than tutus? This chain of dance studios offers packages that truly are all-inclusive. Parties include a short dance class, cupcakes, dress-ups (tutus and capes) and crafty favors. Your tiny dancers will also be treated to a special, birthday story time.

Cost: Start at $475 for 90 minutes and up to 10 children
Ages: All ages
Phone: 925-357-5350

photo: Melissa Bouse

Pump It Up, Concord, Oakland, Pleasanton
Your guests will be ready for a nap after a party here, guaranteed. Packages can be customized tons of ways, but all include a healthy dose of bounce time on their giant inflatables. They’ve also made booking super easy with an all-online system. Make sure you tell your guests to bring their socks!

Cost: Starts at $349 for up to 10 guests
Ages: All ages but kids under 34 inches are not allowed on the inflatables
Phone: 925-681-1060
Online: pumpitupparty.com

Golden Skate, San Ramon
Let the good times roll with a good ol’ fashioned roller skating party. This is one of the East Bay’s most beloved rinks and it’s easy to see why. Parties include admission and skate rental for your guests as well as invitations and service items for food and cake. The birthday kid also gets all kind of perks—he or she can even put in song requests.

Cost: Starts at $299.50 for up to 10 guests
Ages: 4 & up
Phone: 925-820-2525

photo: Melissa Bouse

#bouncefarm, Martinez
Your guests will be bouncing off the walls—literally—no matter how much cake they eat! #bouncefarm is an all-indoor facility of jump houses. From giant slides to obstacle courses, they have it all. Parties include pizza and cupcakes and an hour of bounce time for the kids to work up their appetites.

Cost: Starts at $425 for 2 hours 15 minutes, up to 15 kids
Ages: All ages
Phone: 925-228-2028

Lindsay Wildlife Experience, Walnut Creek
Guests will get up close and personal with some of the majestic animals they care for at the Lindsay Wildlife Experience. Experts will be on hand to talk about the animals and help guide you through the museum. The birthday kid even gets his or her very own t-shirt as part of the package!

Cost: $450/members, $500/non-members for up to 25 guests
Ages: Ages 1-12 recommended
Phone: 925-935-1978

Silliman Aquatic Center, Newark
This giant, aquatic playground is the perfect venue for a birthday guy or gal who loves to splash. The pool area features a giant play structure, a lazy river and a super fast slide. The center has customizable packages for all age groups, even teens will like the offerings!

Cost: Starts at $400 for non-residents, for two hours and up to 15 guests
Ages: All ages
Phone: 510-578-4620

photo: SensationAll

SensationAll, Concord
This inclusive play space offers a variety of activities to get the kids moving. The indoor playground swings and trampolines and a zip-line is in the works. Party-goers also have access to the sensory room and creativity center.

Cost: Starts at $400 for up to 20 guests
Ages: All ages
Phone: 925-798-1888
Online: sensationallkidsgym.com

Bricks and Minifigs, Concord
Let the kids go wild with LEGO bricks and don’t worry about the clean up. Parties start with building and racing LEGO race cars and then move onto Minifig building. Each guest even gets to take a Minifig home (two for the birthday kid). You can bring all of your own food, but they’ll supply to plates, napkins and utensils.

Cost: Starts at $140 for up to 12 guests
Ages: 5 & up
Phone: 925-825-1954
Online: bricksandminifigs.com

—Melissa Bouse


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