Planning a birthday bash for a winter baby? Sure, picnics and pools are off the table, but you’ve still got options — lots of options. We rounded up indoor spots where kids can roll, bowl, jump, create, swing, and burn off some energy. (Want even more options? Check out where to hold a spa birthday party, makerspaces that will host your bash, indoor spots for toddler birthdays and tons of places in Queens to host a kid’s birthday party! Read on to find the totally cool winter birthday party your kid deserves!
No, not that Gaga—the game, Gaga. This NYC favorite involves a ball, an octagonal pit and as many players as you can round up. Played with a soft foam ball, gaga combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping, all while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees. One of the only indoor gaga play spots in Manhattan is The Gaga Center, on the Upper East Side. Fortunately, the place does a mean birthday party—90 minutes, juice, pizza, cake, party favors and of course, gaga.Best for kids ages five and up; expect tp pay about $1,000 for a party of up to 20 kids.
230 East 93 St.
Upper East Side
Get Rolling at Lola Star's Dreamland Roller Rink
Lola Star's Dreamland has come to Industry City, and in addition to fun and funky adult skating events, it's hosting birthday parties for kids seven and up. Parties take place on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. during Roll-a-rama Family Skate or Sunday from 1-4 p.m. during Dreamland Discoteque. There's a minimum of 15 kids, and a $650 party package gets you VIP admission, skate rental, a private table decked out with birthday decor, juice, two pizzas from Table 87, a birthday shout-out from the DJ, and more! Plus: you can add-on groovy favors like roller disco tees. (Additional guests can also be added for $46/each.) See here for full package details.
Get Crafty (For Less!) at Michaels
In what may be the best NYC birthday party deal around, Michaels will host your child’s birthday bash for as little as 50 bucks. (No, that is not a typo.) The parties happen in the cheery classroom space of the craft store (downtown Brooklyn's is shown here), and for $120, you can pick a predetermined craft project for kids to do (they have options for kids four and up); the fee also includes invitations and thank-you notes, and a party helper. Cost is for 8 kids, but you can invite more for an additional fee. For that bargain rate of $50, devise your own craft project (easy, and cheap to do at Michaels). You can even bring in your own food at no extra charge. An add-on of face-painting for $25 is also available. WOW.
Locations throughout NYC; contact your local store to book
Make Movies With CinemaKidz
CinemaKidz throws completely-customized birthday parties for kids ages 5 to 15. Children become actors, directors, and production crew, when they make a music video or a completely original scripted movie. Every party begins with a pre-production session regarding concept and creative so come party day, the kids can jump right in and make an original project. The party itself is production day. Everyone is involved in the process of making the masterpiece, and everyone gets a private link to the film and a digital copy shortly after the event. Popular add-ons include hair and makeup help, costumes, and decorations. CinemaKidz has studio options throughout the city, in every borough (SoHo, Williamsburg, Upper West Side, Midtown, Long Island City, etc.) and will also travel to Westchester, New Jersey, and Connecticut. CinemaKidz also offers in-home party options. Rates start at $800. 347-699-6401 Online: www.cinemakidz.com
Strike It Big at Astoria Bowl
Old school bowling at its best, Astoria Bowl provides the invites, one hour of bowling (with bumpers if you want), one hour in the party room for eating and cake, and kid's choice of pizza, chicken fingers, or hit dog with fries and soda. (Plus, souvenir cup.) Parties are for kids ages four and up and happen Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Cost is $225 for 10 kids, with additional kids $22.50.
19-45 49th St.
Celebrate With Science!
Got a scientist in the making? Check out the birthday party packages at SciTech Kids, a new STE[A]M maker lab on the Upper East Side. SciTech will host your event at its generously-sized 81st Street location or come to your private event space. Parties include science experiments and demonstrations that are interactive, exciting and educational, and feature themes such as "Slime Party", "Bouncing Bubbles", "Harry Potter Potion Party" and "CSI Fingerprinting." Add-ons are similarly unconventional; they include a "dry ice spectacular", lab coats and goggle for attendees and Mentos and soda geyser. In addition to the science fun, parties include a SciTech activity table to keep kids busy as guests arrive, paper products matching the party theme, pizza and juice, and a T-shirt for the birthday child, who also serves as the party scientist's helper.
215 E. 81st St.
Upper East Side
Make a Racket at Court 16 in Long Island City
Court 16 has been bringing top notch tennis fun to kids and families in Gowanus since 2014. Last year it opened a new facility in Long Island City where its state-of-the-art courts feature LEDs in the floor. Parties include 45 minutes of tennis fun on the court, and 45 minutes in the party room for cake and food. Activities can be tailored to skill and age group, and Court 16 can help coordinate food from local vendors. Rates are $700 for 10 kids, and $20 for each additional child, with a max of 24 per party. Face painting can be added for additional charge starting at $150 for 10-15 kids. Court 16 will design your electronic invitation, and help you customize the space for your bash. Parties take place on Saturdays from 3-4:30.
1306 Queens Plaza South
Long Island City
Throw a Super Bash at the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company
Being essentially big kids ourselves here, we’re a sucker for any place with a secret door. (Case in point: this place.) But there is a behind-the-bookcase entrance to a secret library at (of course) the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company in Park Slope. You can host a birthday party a couple of ways here, both of which include the chance to peruse the extensive and very cool collection of superhero supplies and paraphernalia. Rent out the space for two hours for $250 and do/host your own activity, or host a storytelling and bookmaking bash ($500 for 10 kids; $10 for each additional) with the experts from the supply company. Kids get to flex their creative muscle, creating a tale as wild and fantastical as they can imagine—and everyone leaves with a published, illustrated copy of the book. Plus: pizza, cake, and goodie bags. Parties are held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon, and 1-3 p.m. (P.S. Your party will support the work of 826NYC, also located here, a non-profit dedicated to helping students develop their writing skills.)
372 5th Ave.
Have the Place to Yourself at Max Adventures
If you want huge, private, and loaded with fun, check out Max Adventures in Marine Park. A basic package for 15 kids (max 30) is $795, and you get a two-hour party and the run of the 7,000-square-foot space, with staff making sure everyone is safe. Activities include a soft play gym, beach ball pit, basketball arcade games, mini roller coaster and bounce house for toddlers, gaga ball pit, air hockey, arcade games, spinning chair, Pie in the Face game (!) and much more. Add-ons to take it to the next level include Lazer Tag and glow in the dark disco. Max Adventures holds parties for kids ages one to 15.
2378 Flatbush Ave.
Get Inspired at Muse Paint Bar
You don’t have to “paint and sip” with just wine! Muse Paintbar will host your kid’s party, where milk and juice can be the beverage of choice. (And, you get to bring in your own cake and decorations.) With locations in Tribeca and Yonkers’ Ridge Hill Mall, lots of kid-friendly designs, and rates that start at $35 a person (prices vary by location), it’s a nice choice for the artistically-inclined birthday boy or girl. You can host in a private studio with space for catering, and an artist with experience teaching kids leads the activity. Parties take place on weekday afternoons or on weekdays at noon. (Party requires a minimum of 10 guests, but of course, you could just take a few kids on your own as well.)
329 Greenwich St.
265 Market St
Get a Bargain on Staten Island at Kiddie Wonderland
Kiddie Wonderland dubs itself a "themed children's entertainment center" and that feels pretty accurate. A Staten Island favorite, this play emporium also draws families from Brooklyn, New Jersey and beyond thanks to a clean space, lots of options and a wallet-friendly price. Parties get exclusive use of the venue, and even the basic birthday party package provides lots of entertainment and diversions. Kids can scale the climbing wall and structures complete with mazes and slides, and get down on the dance floor outfitted with synchronized lights, disco ball and bubble machine. A dedicated host engages kids in games and activities, and a party room area offers a spot for festive decorations, eating pizza and applying temporary tattoos — all included. Plus, every child leaves with a small gift. All this for $409 on a weekday, or $439 on a weekend, for 15 kids plus the birthday child. Take it up a notch with one of the many packages offered here, such as "Build an animal", "Pirate Scavenger Hunt", "Princesses and Knights Dressup" and "Garden Tea Party."
298 Naughton Ave.
Bust a Move With a Hip-Hop Music Video Birthday
Do you have a music lover on your hands? Is your birthday kiddo a dancer? The Evolution of Hip Hop’s 90-minute birthday party lets your kid star in her very own music video. Kids create a graffiti banner, decorate the space and learn a hip-hop routine from a professional choreographer in a large dance studio smack in the middle of NYC. Even better, the whole day gets filmed, so kids get to take home their own music video to remember their special day. Cake, juice boxes and gift bags are all part of the fun. Packages are for kids ages 10 and older and start at $350 for a group of 15.
Ripley Grier Studios
520 8th Ave.
Main image: The Gaga Center
— Stephanie Pedersen