Planning an NYC birthday party for a toddler and worried the weather won’t cooperate? Don’t sweat it. We have ideas where tiny tots can have a blast inside — including running around like a nut. Jump and tumble, meet and greet with farm animals, get crafty or whip up something in the kitchen — you can do all this and more. Read on to check out our favorite spots for inside fun.
For a Wide Range of Wild Parties: The Art Farm
The Art Farm has been offering kids and families "a break from city life" on the Upper East Side for 17 years, and over that time has curated an impressive list of birthday party options at a variety of price points. Themes include the classic Art Farm Party for $975; a Treasure Hunt Party for $1,250; an Exotic Animal Party (hands-on with lizards, snakes, alligators) for $1,355; and a Princesses and Knights Party for $1,350. (All prices are for 10 guests; additional guests can be added for a fee. Maximum capacity is 25-30 children.) Exact activities vary by theme, but often include a craft, music time, play time, and food. Parties are two hours and you get the whole place to yourself. For more budget-friendly options, consider a weekday party ($745) or Art Farm On the Mooooove, a 30-minute animal education presentation (with live critters) that comes to you for 15 kids for $350.
NOTE!: Due to renovations happening in The Art Farm building, all programming and classes are taking place at 431 E. 91st Street, on the second floor. (There is private elevator access for strollers and wheelchairs.)
431 E. 91st.
Upper East Side
For the Sporty Tyke: Chelsea Piers Field House
West side spot for all things sports, Chelsea Piers offers a bunch of celebration options for athletic tykes. Parties happen on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and last a total of two hours, with 75 minutes for activities and 45 minutes in a party room. Choose from time in the Toddler Gym (kids ages one to four), a safe and fun environment for kids to play and explore, with games and singalong time are included); Tots Gymnastics (ages three to five) with experienced instructors leading kids in more structured gymnastics exercises on mats and equipment in the Field House's Fit For Tots Center (plus: ball pit time), or the Ultimate Tykes Challenge (ages three to five), with fun games and races like tug-of-war, scooter and tricycle races, "steal-the-bacon", and time in an oversized sports-themed moon bounce. Packages range from basic (starting at $685 for a single sport, with balloons, paper goods, candles and a T-shirt for the birthday child) to $990 (two sports with pizza, beverages, cake, invites, and more.) Pricing is for 10 kids, with additional kids costing $32-36.
Chelsea Piers Field House
For the Drama King or Queen: Treasure Trunk Theater
If you’ve got a child that loves dress up and has a big imagination, look no farther than Treasure Trunk Theater. Welcome to a world that promises a “dramatic adventure”, complete with themed costumes and props from a treasure trunk of endless possibilities. Kids can (of course) choose to be Anna of Frozen, become a captain of a pirate ship, join the Avengers, lead a space adventure — just to name a few options. Bonus: The Trunk people are accommodating: they can come to your home, you can go to them in one of two Brooklyn locations, or they can do their thing at a venue of your choice. Add-ons include food, decorations, as well as and props and costumes that can be purchased as party favors. Expect a 45-minute structured event, with a Treasure Trunk staffer leading kids on a dramatic and magical adventure, customized to the guest of honor’s liking. Rates start at $225.
Price: $225 for up to 7 children; $275 for 8-17 children; $325 for 18-24 children; $375 for 25-30 children
Treasure Trunk Studio
141 Atlantic Ave.
Xtend Barre Studios
147 Remsen St., 2nd Fl.
190 Underhill Ave. at Sterling Pl.
For Active Kids: ACT at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Throw a Saturday celebration at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, where you will find endless amounts of indoor and outdoor space to party like a toddler should. Their Preschool Mat Party is a two-hour party for 12 kids or more and, as the name implies, is geared for the younger crowd. Parties include your choice of a theme (with a focus on sports or arts), an attentive host and activity specialist, use of gym, mats, climbing equipment, and activity options preschoolers love such as parachute games, circle time with story and songs and tag games. Add-ons like a bouncy castle, beverages, cotton candy, carnival games and the like can be arranged at an additional cost. The facility includes access to a kitchenette, food, tables with table covers and chairs, as well as staff to setup and clean up. For the “older” crowd (ages seven and up), they offer a Wii dance party and Cathedral Clue Hunt. More info on parties can be found here; Book parties by using this form.
Rates vary based on package, but start at about $620.
1047 Amsterdam Ave.
For Little Ladies and Lads: Alice’s Tea Cup
Known as New York’s “most whimsical tea house” where “tea time is magic”, Alice’s Tea cup serves up an enchanting fete. Expect savory and sweet menu options, a backdrop screaming tea party style, as well as kid-focused favorites such as face painting, arts and crafts, story time, magic and balloon creations. Sing-a-long with Alice from Alice in Wonderland, decorate your own princess crown with Faerie Princess herself, or let Mad Hatter the magician wow you with amusing tricks. Finally, make tea time unforgettable with party favors such as fairy dust necklaces, wands and wings.
Rates vary based on package and location. Choose the “wee tea” menu priced at $29/child for children ages 2 to 12.
102 West 73rd St.
Upper West Side
156 East 64th St.
Upper East Side
220 East 81st St.
Upper East Side
For the Scientist in the Making: Carmelo the Science Fellow
Put on your lab coats, grab your safety goggles and head over to Carmelo the Science Fellow for a birthday filled with “crazy-fun science.” Carmelo Piazza has been teaching science to Brooklyn kids for almost two decades and knows how to make science fun, funny and engaging for the junior set. Parties include close encounters of the animal kind (get up close with blue-tongued skinks, crested geckos, bearded dragons, king snakes, gerbils, hissing Madagascar roaches to name a few), a hands-on science project such as making glow-in-the-dark silly putty or fake snow, paper rockets or giant ten-foot-long slime worms, and time enough for food and cake.
Request pricing by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org
300 Atlantic Ave.
For A Rockin’ Good Time: Apple Seeds
Take a rockin’ adventure in this jam-packed birthday party, filled with music played by professionals, an interactive show complete with kid-sized instruments for the guests to try out, pizza and juice, birthday treats, party favors, and private admittance to the indoor playground. Feel like bringing the party home? You can book the Songs for Seeds band at any location of your choice. Pricing for the band starts at $275.Rates vary based on the package.
10 West 25th St.
252 First Avenue
Stuyvesant Oval (off of the Ave. C loop)
For Kids that love to Cook: Bambino Chef
Calling all foodie cuties. If you’ve got a little one that loves playing in the kitchen, delight their inner chef with a Bambino Chef party. Throw a cooking party at the Bambino headquarters in Jersey City or at a location of your choice, complete with party supplies and a themed party package. Party themes range from Lego, Cars and Construction to Princesses, Tea Party and Barbie, and more. While the main draw of Bambino Chef is a cooking party, it also offers a non cooking bash that can include face painting, craft projects, candy or ice cream bar.
Varies on package. Rates start at $490.
213 Newark Ave.
For a Well-Curated Extravaganza: Children’s Museum of Manhattan
Children’s Museum of Manhattan uses interactive exhibitions and programs to fuel children’s understanding of themselves and our culturally diverse world. Simply put, they have what it takes to engage kids, so it’s no surprise they know how to throw a party! Armed with enthusiastic educators and a stimulating sensory-driven environment, CMOM offers packages for kids from one to 10 years old. Themed parties include America to Zanzibar, Adventures with Dora and Diego, Magic Show with Justin the Magician, Dynamic H2O, Enter the Wondrous World of PlayWorks™, and more. All packages include invitations, educators, musicians, a personalized birthday cake from Magnolia Bakery, pizza and juice (they offer kosher cake and pizza if requested), party favors, admission to the museum for the entire party crew, as well as themed decorations.
Rates vary based on the package.
212 West 83rd St.
Upper West Side
For the Next Picasso: Children’s Museum of the Arts
Does your child like to get sticky with it? The Children’s Museum of the Arts offers an art-filled party space with free time to explore the museum’s interactive workshops, an art project of your choice guided by teaching artists, as well as food and cake to boot. Art projects are age-appropriate; the WEE Arts Extravaganza is geared for ages 1 to 3 and offers activities such as creating an original Jackson Pollock-styled collaborative mural, or decorating their own animal masks or wacky hats. Ages 4 to 6 get more sophisticated art activity choices like working with clay, designing their own hand-made masks, and using acrylic paint to decorate their own T-shirts. Ages 7 through 14 can experience F.A.B. (Fabulous Animation Birthday), which includes a short animation lesson, an exploration of claymation and pixilation, and a “world premier” of the birthday movie. Best of all, proceeds from CMA’s Birthday Parties help support community programs, which provide access to the arts for all.
Rates start at $700 (non-catered) and $900 (catered) and vary based on package.
103 Charlton St.
For the Train-Obsessed: New York Transit Museum
A quintessentially New York destination for little locomotive lovers, the NY Transit Museum offers 1 1/2 or 2 hour parties that include guided tours of the museum, plus transit-themed party games and activities. While the museum provides two dedicated staff members to assist with set-up and clean up, you're responsible for bringing the pizza and cake, which helps keep the price down.
Boerum Pl. & Schermerhorn St.
— Meredith Levine & Ilyssa Smith