If you have a kid birthday on the horizon then this is the list for you. We scoured the birthday spots from Marin down to San Jose and picked out a slew of our faves that take the stress away from you and bring the fun instead. Art parties, ice cream spots and loads of animal interaction are all available for your big day. Plan your party today!
San Francisco Zoo
Birthday parties at the SF Zoo include use of party room overlooking the chimps, zoo admission and ride tickets for guests, your choice of catered lunch, birthday cake, gift for the guest of honor, face painting and more. Not to mention you get a party coordinator so you can relax and enjoy yourself. Add on an animal encounter for a memorable–wild time, explore the grounds and catch a train or carousel ride with your guests after the festivities.
Sloat Blvd and Great Hwy
San Francisco, CA
Play Haven is perfect for crawlers, toddlers and preschoolers who want to party. A mini rock climbing wall and art station are just a few of the highlights of this play space that encourages creativity and hands-on learning. Birthday celebrations can happen during regular open play hours, or pay a little extra to have exclusive use of the space. They also have food and face paint add-ons to make your party over the top.
254 Laguna Honda Blvd.
San Francisco, CA
With two SF locations in Glen Park and Noe Valley, Little Artistas will let your party guests and birthday kid get messy with art in their studio (bonus: no clean up for you!). Their two-hour parties start with an hour of art that’s tailored to the birthday child, followed by an hour of food and merriment. Add on a face painter for some bonus fun.
Two locations in San Francisco, CA
photo: Fentons Creamery
Your little ice creams lovers will scream for Fentons party packages. The banquet hall is perfect for hosting and the party menus range from grilled cheese to chicken fingers. Top it all off with one of Fentons custom-made ice cream cakes.
Two locations in Oakland and Vacaville, CA
Step back in time at this amusement park in Oakland that has been around since 1950. Birthday boys and girls can celebrate their big day next to Cinderella’s slipper, in the Japanese tea garden or in the circus-themed area. You can rent a space and plan your own gig or have the park take care of all the details for you. Fairyland is ideal for kids eight and under as it has kid-sized rides, friendly animals and storybook performances.
699 Bellevue Ave.
Chabot Space & Science Center
Shoot for the stars and host your outer space birthday party at Chabot. The adventure begins with an hour and a half in a private party room decked out with a festive celestial theme, tables and chairs for all your guests and a dress-up photo booth. Spend the rest of the day taking in a Planetarium show, exploring the interactive exhibits and peering through high-powered telescopes.
10000 Skyline Blvd.
Silliman Aquatic Center
Splash down any time of the year at this 32,000-square foot indoor pool that has two water slides, a zero-depth activity pool and a 245-foot lazy river. There’s something for every age from toddlers to teens. Reserve the teen room that includes two pool tables, a PS3 and Wii. Or grab the activity room that has a Foosball table, Wii and ping pong table. All guests have access to the pool either during or following the party.
6800 Mowry Ave.
photo: La Petite Playhouse
La Petite Playhouse
This spacious, underwater-themed playhouse is sure to be a hit. From climbing and sliding to shooting some hoops, your party will have plenty to explore. You’ll have exclusive use of playhouse for one hour, your own private party room, a coordinator to help with all the planning and not one thing to set-up or clean-up. Geared toward the 10 and under crowd with separate baby/toddler area.
1264 Oddstad Dr.
Redwood City, CA
CuriOdyssey at Coyote Point
This science and wildlife center is the perfect spot to host a birthday party for kids of any age. All guests receive admission to the center where they can learn about science through hands-on exhibits and animal encounters. Parties receive use of a party room and patio. For an additional fee you can add on a private educational program like Marvelous Marble Roller Coasters or a Super Survivors Wildlife Presentation.
1651 Coyote Point Dr.
San Mateo, Ca
Grins n’ Giggles
This extra-special spot just opened and we could not be more thrilled. Grins ‘n’ Giggles party space was designed with specialized indoor and outdoor play structures to accommodate children of all abilities and accessible for those with special needs and disabilities. Best of all, it’s available year-round, rain or shine. Grins ‘n’ Giggles is staffed by credentialed early childhood educators with experience in caring for children of all abilities, who will help parents plan a fun-filled day of activities, which could include face painting, art projects, bounce house jumping, parachute games and guided play.
McCarthy Center for Children & Families
1764 Marco Polo Way
photo: Andrew Weeks/Tutu School
For the sugar plums in your life, the Tutu School’s ballet birthday parties will be the perfect way to celebrate. Your mini dancers will enjoy a personalized ballet class, story time, crafts, cupcake picnic with pink lemonade and every guest receives a tutu or princely cape to dress up in and take home. In addition to Willow Glen, they have 15 other locations that offer birthday parties.
1702 Meridian Ave.
Willow Glen, CA
Practice your Top Chef moves at this cooking school where the kids are put to work! Choose a pizza, pasta or cupcake theme and invite your guests to don their aprons and chef hats. The kids learn how to make dough, what goes into a good sauce and how many gummy bears can top a cupcake before it falls over. Got a favorite food that’s not pizza, pasta or cupcakes? They will help you design your own personal theme for the big day!
1041 Lincoln Ave.
San Jose, CA
22 S. Santa Cruz Avenue
Los Gatos, CA
San Jose Giants
This minor league baseball park is the perfect excursion for your little sports fan’s next birthday. For $19/person, you get tickets to the game, a hot dog, drink and Guanatos Ice Cream Bar. All kids at the party get two passes to the Family Fun Zone where they can practice their big league swing. Your group will receive recognition on the video board, public address system and daily scorecard. Gigante is always around to take photos with fans and get the crowd riled up to cheer for the home team!
588 East Alma Ave.
San Jose, CA
Whirlygig Parties, San Jose
The ultimate birthday party spot and a space where kids can be kids! Whirlygig has four unique play rooms, each with a theme like Farm or Beach, and can amplify the birthday fun with a customizable party theme with all the essentials! The birthday boy or girl can choose their own party theme from amazing options like Dinosaurs, Unicorns and Outer Space—there is truly something for everyone. Additionally, parents can expect delicious and gourmet food options, straight from the owner’s cooking school, Savory Kitchen—no more cardboard pizzas and sticky floors.
919 The Alameda
San Jose, CA
photo: Poekie Nook
Perfect for the crafty 7-11 age group, this creative studio has been teaching hand sewing and beading techniques to Mill Valley children since 1992. Creator of the popular Poekie, birthday parties can choose between sewing or beading and get use of their upstairs room, during normal business hours. Bring your own snacks and decorations or let them do it all for you. Every guest receives a goody bag and takes home their projects.
247 Shoreline Hwy
Mill Valley, CA
Morning Star Farm
If your little one is desperate for a pony this year, do the next best thing and book a party at Morning Star Farm. Kids up to age eight can enjoy a pony party with pony rides, a petting zoo and a party in the outdoor picnic area. Kids eight and over can book a riding party where each guest has their own mount and gets a one hour riding and grooming lesson.
885 Sutro Ave.
Bay Area Discovery Museum
Stress free is the name of the game at BADM. They offer two different packages in three different museum spaces so parents can pick the option that works best for the size of their party. Hosts can also choose to customize their party by adding on fun activities facilitated by BADM staff, or can select the “Blast Package” which includes all of the available activities, as well as decorations, party favors, etc. All packages include staff to help with set up and clean up so parents can actually enjoy the party themselves.
557 McReynolds Road
—Nella DuBon-Koch and Kate Loweth
Featured photo: iStock