Whether your kid was born during the rainy season, or you just don’t have the space or inclination to host a party at home or in the park, here are some RT readers favorite picks for kids birthday party venues in San Francisco.

costume002It’s a Piece of Cake Productions
Simla Akyol knows what kids want. And she knows how to help parents bring their childens’ fantasies to life for some very special, custom-designed birthday parties. Akyol gets involved in every aspect, from invitations to thank-you notes, providing entertainment, and making your kid a princess, superhero, or star for a day. www.itsapieceofcake.net

Randall Museum
The Randall Museum hosts birthday parties only on Sunday, but if you can schedule your party for that day, your child and his/her friends will get to participate in an art project coordinated by the museum, or be invited into the museum’s special animal room for a presentation on (and the chance to get up-close-and-personal with) the resident owls, mice, bugs and more. Parking, private rooms, chairs and tables, and supplies for clean up (along with a staff person to help out) are all included…just bring the decorations and the food and they’ll provide the fun!

Young Performers Theatre
At this institution in Fort Mason, birthday kids can either watch one of the theatre’s plays be performed (by youth training at their academy), or they can create their own, choosing from a variety of themes (fairy tales, underwater world, monsters, pirates, and much, much more). A hostess from YPT will guide the kids through the production and performance for parents and friends at the end of the party. Best of all, YPT takes care of nearly all the details (food, goody bags, dishes, cleanup) for you!

Recess Urban Playground
For big gatherings of kids who need room to play, Recess Urban Indoor Playground is a birthday party lifesaver, especially during months with unpredictable weather. Bring your own food and decorations, but for the rental fee, you get the run of the space. Kids can dive into the creativity stations and use chalkboards or easels; they can climb, slide, tumble and swing in the active play section, they can pretend and dress up in the dramatic play area, or use their noodles to problem solve in the cooperative play area with train sets, toy tools, and more. It’s a flat rate, so parties with more kids get more bang for their buck.

It’s no surprise that one of the best museums for kids in the Bay Area hosts some of the best birthday parties. Guests enjoy a hands-on lesson in marbling, gak (that’s slime to you), even cow’s eye dissection! Then, enjoy your cake and present-opening in a private room (they supply plates, utensils, cups, and an Exploratorium t-shirt for the guest of honor), followed by free time to explore the rest of the museum for as long as you and your guests want. Plus, with the addition of 12 new outdoor exhibits, kids can enjoy learning in the outdoors, as well.

P.S. we also recommend reserving a group spot for the Tactile Dome to round out your Exploratorium visit!