Best for Families: Kids' Parties 2017 / Where to throw the best bash for every type of kid, according to our readers!
Your kiddo’s hobbies change with the tide and that means last year’s arcade-themed birthday might not jive with her newly discovered artist within. To help you plan a party around her latest fancy, we compiled our annual list of Best For Families: Kids’ Parties awards. This year’s winners, chosen by you, include venues that cater to Broadway-bound babes and little gymnasts; indoor playgrounds perfect for middle-ofsummer or winter birthdays; and parties that come to you because we can’t think of anything better than front-row seats in the comfort of your living room (or backyard). Find the package best suited to your kid’s growing personality and watch the memories unfold.
FOR HISTORY LOVERS
Collin County: Heritage Farmstead Museum
Turn the dial to the late 1800s for a birthday party at Heritage Farmstead Museum. For the littlest farmhands — ages 3 and younger — parties begin with story time then games like gathering apples and feeding the chickens. Those older than 3 also get to dress up and play with era cooking utensils, sewing machines and more in the History House, as well as participate in sack races and lasso pretend steer. And kids 5 and older follow a map to find buried treasure on the property too. All parties include a party facilitator who sets up and leads the activities. Add tractor rides for an additional charge. $200 for 10 guests.
1900 West 15th Street, Plano; 972/881-0140
Dallas County: Frontiers of Flight Museum
Book a high-flying party at Frontiers of Flight Museum for the aviator in your life. During the two-hour party, wannabe pilots learn about planes, helicopters and space ships; experience a real-life taxi down Runway 36R; take the wheel in the Jumbo Jet; romp around the Children’s Discovery Area; and visit the Wind Tunnel aerodynamics lab. Packages from $115 for members; $140 for nonmembers for 30 guests.
6911 Lemmon Ave., Dallas, 214/350-3600
Fort Worth and North Texas: Grapevine Vintage Railroad
Birthday girls and boys party aboard the Victorian style fun train for a one-hour round trip to Colleyville. Parents provide food, drinks and a cake and take pictures of the kiddos with the conductor and coach attendants. The $600 fee to reserve a private coach for up to 66 guests includes a 6-foot serving table and the price of the birthday cake. Add a little wild to the western excursion with train robbers or musicians (for an additional cost). Call early to book your party.
636 S. Main St., Grapevine, 800/457-6338
FOR BIG BOWLERS
Collin County: Pinstack
Pinstack is a haven for bowlers, video game lovers and adrenaline junkies of all ages. In addition to one hour of bowling, the Spiller birthday package includes two hours of unlimited video games and access to the two-story laser tag arena, LED-lit rock climbing wall, ropes course and bumper cars. Your party host serves unlimited soft drinks, pizza and fried mozzarella sticks or chicken tenders and french fries; bring a cake or purchase individual cake pops from the Bowl Bar. Packages from $24.99 per person.
6205 Dallas Parkway, Plano; 972/781-2695
Dallas County: Shenaniganz
Not much of a planner? Shenaniganz can throw a bowling bash with as little as 24-hour notice. The dedicated party hero sets up decorations, serves pizza and unlimited soda, cuts the cake (which you do have to bring), passes out socks (a convenient add-on if your crew forgot their own), even makes balloon animals during the hourlong celebration in the party room. Then let kids age 2 and older compete in friendly glow-in-the-dark bowling games (bumpers and dinosaur-shaped ramps are available to help little ones hit the pins) before heading to the 7,000-square-foot arcade. Upgrades include go-carts and laser tag. Packages from $185 for up to eight guests.
1290 E. Interstate 30, Rockwall, 972/722-1133
Fort Worth: Brunswick Zone and iT’Z Family Food & Fun (tie)
Brunswick's Unbelieva-Bowl package ($18.99 per child at Westcreek; $20.99 at Watauga) keeps your party of 5–20 kids entertained and fed with 2 ó hours of bowling (shoes included); pizza, drinks and fries (paper goods included); and a treat from the ice cream station. Customize your party with a second menu option, such as mac and cheese, or bumpers or lightweight balls. Adults join the fun on the lanes or at the full-service bar, billiards table and arcade. Some party packages also include a souvenir bowling pin (which all the guests sign) for the birthday boy or girl.
Watauga Lanes, 7301 Rufe Snow Drive, Watauga, 817/485-2695
Westcreek Lanes, 3025 Altamesa Blvd., Fort Worth, 817/294-0501
Your party of eight strikes big during a bowl party at iT’Z Family, Food & Fun. During the 60-minute bowling session, party hosts bring pizza, drinks and cake laneside along with a balloon bouquet. The basic package also includes two attraction credits and a Fun Card for the rock climbing wall, arcade, laser tag arena, lazer maze and bumper cars. On a weekday, you can upgrade to the premium package with all-day access to rides and video games for only $4 more per person. And take advantage of the free, customizable invitations. Party packages from $19.99 per person.
1201 W. Airport Freeway, Suite 400, Euless, 817/283-3700
North Texas: AMF Lewisville Lanes
Kids have a ball when they celebrate their birthday at AMF Lewisville Lanes. The Unbelieva-Bowl package keeps your party of 5–20 guests entertained and fed with 2 . hours of bowling (shoes included); pizza, drinks and fries (paper goods included); a $5 future admission credit for each child; and a treat from the ice cream station. Customize your party with a second menu option such as mac and cheese bites or chicken tenders, or with bumpers or lightweight balls. Adults join the fun on the lanes or at the full-service bar, billiards table and arcade. Some party packages also include a souvenir bowling pin (which all the guests sign) for the birthday boy or girl. Packages from $19.99 per child.
1398 W. Main St., Lewisville, 972/436-6575
FOR A PARTY ON WHEELS
Collin County: Grisham Farms
From furry to slimy to spiky, the animals of Grisham Farms come to your child’s party for a 45-minute handson meet and greet. Kids ages 2 and older hold and pet 10 animals including the chinchilla, hedgehog, rabbit, bearded dragon and ball python. The zoo crew teaches age-tailored lessons — 3-year-olds learn what animals eat and do while older kids might learn how an animal’s exterior helps it survive in nature. For more fun, add a 30-minute Mother Goose Live song and story time. Call at least one month in advance to book for up to 50 guests. Packages from $250.
Dallas-Fort Worth Area, 214/544-7255
Dallas County and Fort Worth: GameTruck
Fuel the kids with cake and ice cream before releasing them into GameTruck’s world of virtual reality. They play games like FIFA 15, Minecraft, Just Dance and more on flat screens in the climatecontrolled trailer for at least 90 minutes. Or play laser tag in the front yard. Every party package comes with a certified GameCoach to help kids get to the next level and navigate laser tag bunkers. Laser tag parties, from $260; video game sessions, from $309 for 17–18 guests. Upgrade to the combo party for 1–2 hours of both.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 866/253-3191
North Texas: Critterman
David Kleven, aka Critterman, has worked with the wildest guys in the biz, including the late Steve Irwin, and brings creepy-crawly “edutainment” to children turning 3 or older. Each 45-minute package includes a small stuffed animal for the guest of honor, a hands-on encounter with seven different animals and a lesson in how they contribute to the environment, even in our own backyard (included in the Texas Tails package). This year, a South American three-banded armadillo and a prairie dog join the ranks of Critterman’s crew — a hissing cockroach, a nonvenomous king snake, a tarantula, Stripes the sugar glider and more. Packages from $325 for up to 15 kids. Book at least one month in advance by phone.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 940/365-9741
FOR INDOOR PLAY
Collin County: Play Street Museum
You have options when it comes to throwing a jamboree at one of Play Street Museum’s many themed locations. Does your kid love all modes of transport? Book an On-The-Go party in Allen. Take animal lovers to McKinney and outdoorsy kiddos “camping” in Plano. DIY packages at all locations let you customize a private party for up to 20 kids; the Sit Back and Relax option enlists a party specialist who provides invitations, cupcakes, food, drinks, party favors and paper goods. Visit the website to choose from over a dozen themes. New this year: Let guests deposit money electronically into the Birthday Bank, a fund used for toys in the museum’s shop. Packages from $365 for 20 kids.
Dallas County: No winner
Fort Worth: Celebration Party and Event Center
All the attractions in the 5,000-square-foot play space are kid-sized. For 2 1/2 hours of semi-private (during open play hours) or private party time, guests play oversized Connect Four and tic-tac-toe or dress up as a shopkeeper, firefighter and more in one of the eight playhouses. Every party comes with a party host (to keep the kids safe and handle the setup and take-down) and either a bounce house or a dance floor and disco ball. Fill the time with party add-ons such as a face painter, balloon artist or character appearance. Party packages from $125 (for a weekday party) for up to 40 guests.
5950 Park Vista Circle, Suite 140, Keller, 817/741-5590
North Texas: Win Kids Sports and Learning Center
Parents love hosting celebrations at Win Kids Sports and Learning Center because they get to be a guest at the party rather than a referee, and the kids love tumbling, climbing, crawling and jumping. Gymnastics parties for ages 1 and older begin with supervised open play, games and obstacle courses. Then it’s off to the private party room for lemonade, cake and presents. The staff keeps track of who gave what, cleans up the mess, even packs up the presents for you. To put a ninja spin on the gymnastics party, book a Ninja Warrior Party for ages 3 and older in the brand-new Ninja Gym. Kids attempt parkour tricks like vaulting, flipping and swinging from obstacles under the direction of highly trained instructors. $280 for up to 15 kids; $10 for each additional gymnast or ninja warrior. Reserve early; party times can fill up months in advance.
3000 Waketon Road, Flower Mound, 972/355-9988
FOR NATURAL PERFORMERS
Collin County: Plano Children’s Theatre
Your child takes the stage at Plano Children’s Theatre, moving this month to The Shops at Willow Bend. The party begins with theater costumes and improv games led by a professional theater director and a short skit performed by the guest of honor and his 10 castmates before watching a one-hour musical. Guests enjoy a VIP experience that includes a birthday serenade during the show and an introduction to the creative team. Bring cake, food and presents to enjoy post-performance. Packages from $250 for $10 tickets (discounted rates available for parents).
1301 Custer Road, Suite 706, Plano, 972/422-2575
Dallas County: Dallas Children’s Theater
Dress your party of 10 to the nines to take in a show at Dallas Children’s Theater, which includes a “Happy Birthday” serenade after intermission (sign up on the birthday list at the box office). Featured shows this season include Goosebumps The Musical – Phantom of the Auditorium for ages 7 and older (starting this month) and The Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet show (beginning January 2018). When the curtain closes, partygoers take pictures with the actors and get autographs. Bring decorations, games, food and cake to fill the 60 minutes you have in the party room before or after the show. Packages are $100 per hour plus the cost of tickets, which start at $17 per child.
5938 Skillman St., Dallas, 214/978-0110
Fort Worth: Casa Mañana
Give a budding star or starlet age 3–12 a birthday party at Casa Mañana this year. The theater’s 2018 season includes Peter Darling: The New Peter Pan Musical, Madagascar and Beauty and the Beast. A dedicated party host serves your 10 guests a specialty drink tied to the show’s main character or theme (for last year’s Little Mermaid, guests drank “under the sea water”) and sets up the private party room with chairs, tables and paper goods (plus, they clean up). Your only job is to bring the guest of honor, decorations, food and cake. Once the curtain closes, your crew gets a backstage tour (pending availability). Standard party packages from $250 for up to 10 guests.
3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth, 817/332-2272
North Texas: Studio B Performing Arts Center
Give your star a moment in the spotlight at Studio B Theater. The birthday package includes 10 tickets to a show, a quarter-page shoutout in the program and theater slideshow, and another from the stage during February 2018’s live performance of Peter Pan Jr. As if that wasn’t recognition enough, actors call your child to the stage for the birthday song and a top hat filled with gifts such as a show poster, two tickets to an upcoming show and a Studio B T-shirt. The celebration continues after the curtain closes with a tour of backstage (bring a pen for autographs). $250 for 10 guests.
2400 Justin Road, Lewisville, 972/966-2787
FOR GOLD-MEDALIST SWIMMERS
Collin & Dallas Counties: Emler Swim School
For two hours, your party of up to 30 guests enjoys free time in the indoor, heated saltwater pool at Emler Swim School (add a swim buddy to lead the kids in games for an additional charge). Then head to the party room, where the food, cake, paper goods and decorations that you provide await. Packages from $210 for members; $300 for nonmembers.
Fort Worth: NRH2O Family Water Park
For the second year in a row, NRH2O Family Water Park sinks the win for best swimming party in Fort Worth, and it’s easy to see why. The Bounder’s Birthday Bash offers full-day admission, a party host and one hour of reserved seating near the water slides, plus pizza and ice cream. For an adrenaline boost, upgrade to Extreme Extravaganza with all-day reserved seating next to Green Extreme, the world’s largest uphill water coaster, or Frogstein’s Splashatory, the five-level water playground. Plus, your party host escorts kids to the front of the line for three high-thrill rides. Party packages from $194.99 for eight guests.
9001 Blvd. 26, North Richland Hills, 817/427-6500
North Texas: AquaKids
Let up to 20 little mermaids age 3 and older swim, play with rings and noodles and barrel down two twisty tube slides into the 92-degree water during a twohour swim party at AquaKids (goggles and life jackets are available to borrow). On dry land, change clothes and enjoy brought-from-home food, cake and presents in the party room. $220 (nonmembers) or $195 (members) for 20 kids; $5 each additional swimmer.
3409 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound, 972/724- 1528
FOR THE ARTISTICALLY INCLINED
Collin County: Color Me Mine
Your child and at least eight of her friends each choose a ceramic teacup, salt and pepper shakers, seahorse or anything that ranges from $16–$19 to decorate with nontoxic, food-grade paints during a two-hour party at Color Me Mine. Upgrades include balloons and a souvenir signature plate or paper goods and pizza, cake and drinks. Book online at least two weeks in advance. Packages from $20 per guest.
3401 Preston Road, Suite 10, Frisco, 972/668-6201
Dallas County: Kid Art
Let your budding artist put her crayons, paintbrushes or needle and thread to good use at Kid Art in Park Cities. During the 90-minute party, studio artists help kids paint watercolor portraits, decorate wooden frames, monogram sewn hats and capes or create any number of projects. The starving artists then fill up on cake and refreshments brought from home. Or order your cake from nearby SusieCakes at Preston Center — they’ll deliver. Packages from $25 per child for 8–20 guests, plus a $50 supply fee.
3407 Milton Ave., Dallas, 214/750-7118
Fort Worth: Artful Mayhem Studio
There’s a reason parents voted Artful Mayhem Studio the best party for aspiring artists two years in a row. The free customized invitations, takehome masterpiece and personalized souvenir poster make any child’s day, but the memories take the cake. At the 90-minute Artsy Party for up to eight guests (ages 4 and older), an instructor leads your group in a painting picked from a library of over 150 themed projects. Then kids head to the party room for cake and presents (you bring all paper goods and serveware). A shorter 60-minute party is also available for up to six guests and does not include the party room. $175 for Artsy Party; $100 for a Mini Party.
128 Keller Parkway, Keller, 817/653-1703
North Texas: Marynell’s Craft Attack
Whether the honoree wants to paint pottery, make jewelry, create a masterpiece on canvas, or do any number of other projects, Marynell’s Craft Attack is Dentonites’ favorite venue for art-y parties. Owner Marynell Kaufman pours her own ceramics, so pottery painters can choose from hundreds of premade items or put in a special request with at least two weeks’ notice. On the day of, partygoers take over two rooms in the cozy old home-turned-studio — one for the project and one for celebrating (cake and pizza are yours to provide). When everyone is finished, Kaufman wraps the pieces in tissue and gift bags for guests to take home. Parties cost $10–$15 per participant. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
9085 Teasley Lane, Denton, 940/565-0195
FOR SCIENCE LOVERS
Collin County, Dallas County and North Texas: Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Reluctant to turn your living room into a laboratory? Let the Perot Museum of Nature and Science handle the goop and glob — or fossils, or rocket fuel, or dinosaur toothpaste. Birthdays at the museum include 90 minutes of party time with the theme of your choice, from Dinosaur Tamer to Professor Mixa- Lot, plus all-day general admission, so guests can wander the exhibit halls before and after the celebration. Upgrade for extra activities, an additional party host and kid-friendly music. $260 for members; $300 for nonmembers.
2201 N. Field St., Dallas, 214/428-5555
Fort Worth: Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Make slime, create a fossil, interact with rabbits and snakes or build a scribbling robot — at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the decision is up to the birthday kid. Partygoers enjoy free admission to the museum for the day plus a 90-minute party in a private studio (20 minutes is dedicated to a hands-on science activity) led by a party coordinator. Feel free to bring snacks and drinks for the kiddos, or you can opt to have the museum cater for an additional charge. For $50, the coordinator can use liquid nitrogen to make tasty ice cream for the group. Nonmembers $370; members $300–$340 depending on level.
1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth, 817/255-9300
FOR ALL-AROUND FUN & GAMES
Collin County, Fort Worth and North Texas: Main Event
Laser tag, bowling, arcade — if your kid wants to do it all on their birthday, book a party at Main Event. All of Main Event’s new party packages come with arcade cards for the guests, 1–4 activities, a kidfriendly entree and a dedicated party host, meaning parents can bring the cake then focus on having fun. Invitations are a breeze too, with premade evites you can send when you book or print out to mail the old-fashioned way. An extra perk for Mom and Dad: Your child’s birthday package includes a certificate for an hour of free bowling just for you — hello, date night. Packages start at $15.95 per person for 10–15 guests; book online.
Dallas County: Dave & Buster’s
Dave & Buster’s is constantly adding games (like the world’s largest Pac-Man) and fun ways for kids to play (like the new Power Wands that activate games when you tap the screen). But what makes Dave & Buster’s parties the best remains the same: Hundreds of arcade-style games; kid-approved fare such as burgers, pizza and mac and cheese; and little to no work for Mom and Dad. Bring decorations and a cake, and Dave & Buster’s does the rest for your party of 10 or more. Packages start at $19.99 per person.
9450 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, 214/361- 5553
FOR SPORTS FANS
Collin County and North Texas: Frisco RoughRiders
Even when the Frisco RoughRiders are on the road, your little slugger can celebrate at the Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tour the dugout, romp on the playground and eat pizza and cake; upgrades include field access and a visit from the mascot. When the RoughRiders are in town, the ballgame takes center stage, but your kiddo and their friends also get access to the playground, unlimited food and a tour of the field depending on the party package you choose. Want to knock this party out of the park? Go for the Choctaw Lazy River package to root for the Riders from the comfort of inner tubes behind right field. Packages start at $699 on game days and $600 on other days.
7300 RoughRiders Trail, Frisco, 972/731-9200
Dallas County: Topgolf
Fore (pardon the pun) lots of fun, schedule a tee time for the birthday girl and 11–17 of her friends at Topgolf. Options include two hours of driving range play, batting cage practice, mini golf or a combination of any two for kiddos age 12 and younger (there are junior- and toddler-size clubs available), plus every partygoer gets a kid’s meal. There’s no experience necessary to have a swinging good time, but you can add a Topgolf Pro to teach the kids or help them improve their swing. Packages from $25 per player.
8787 Park Lane, Dallas, 214/341-9600
Fort Worth: AT&T Stadium
It’s up for debate who has the best time at an AT&T Stadium party — the pint-size Cowboys fans, or the not-so pint- size ones who get to chaperone. Run around on the Cowboys’ home turf, take a selfie in front of Dak’s locker (or the cheerleaders’ lockers, if your little one is more of a tumbler than a tackler) and chow down on a personalized cake in the Rowdy Room. The best part? It’s all air-conditioned, and parents don’t have to do anything but bring footballs and Frisbees to toss on the field. There are multiple packages available for 20 guests; call or email email@example.com for pricing.
1 AT&T Way, Arlington, 817/892-8687
Collin & Dallas Counties: Studio Movie Grill
Treat your mini movie buff and her friends to dinner (or brunch or lunch) and a show at Studio Movie Grill. Choose from one of the current kid-friendly flicks (and sit in a reserved section in the theater) or rent the entire auditorium and bring your own favorite film to watch while feasting on popcorn, pizza, burgers, chicken bites, desserts or sausage links dipped in pancake batter. Prices from $6 per partygoer, plus the cost of movie tickets. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to book.
Fort Worth and North Texas: Coyote Drive-In
A movie party doesn’t have to stay indoors. Take your pack to Coyote Drive- In for a silver screen birthday under the stars. Besides the playground that’s open to all moviegoers, your kiddo and his cast of friends have access to a decorated table, scratch-made grub from Coyote’s menu, a dedicated party host (read: no setup or cleanup for Mom and Dad) and, of course, the main feature: back-to-back flicks on the big screen once the sun goes down. Party packs start at $199 for up to 10 guests; prices vary by day and season.
223 NE Fourth St., Fort Worth 817/717-7767
1901 Midway Road, Lewisville, 214/222-9208
FOR ANIMAL LOVERS
Collin & Dallas Counties: Dallas Zoo
Spend the day at the Dallas Zoo with your party animal and her pack. Choose the Zoo-It-Your-Way Birthday option — and bring at least 20 people — for discounted all-day admission ($7 per kid ages 3–11; $10 per adult) and a bring-yourown party (food and decor) to enjoy in a first-come, first-served picnic area. Or opt for the Zoofari Package if you prefer to be a little more hands-off. It includes all-day zoo admission for 20 guests, plus 90 minutes in an air-conditioned party room and a private zookeeper-led animal encounter. $475 for up to 20 guests.
650 S. R.L. Thornton Freeway, Dallas, 469/554- 7470
Fort Worth and North Texas: Fort Worth Zoo
Meet Beltre and Buddy, the Fort Worth Zoo’s two giraffe calves, when you book a birthday at the zoo — every package includes all-day admission for 30 guests so you can take your time peering into the Meerkat Mounds and feeding parakeets in the walk-through aviary. To make the day extra-special (and extra-convenient for you), choose add-ons like custom invitations, zoo-themed cupcakes and party supplies, a photo booth, and an animal presentation. When the weather is hot, host a party at Safari Splash, the zoo’s 14,000-square-foot splash park, and add an animal presentation to your zoo admission and two-hour cabana rental. Packages start at $399.95.
1989 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth, 817/759-7555
FOR NATURE LOVERS
Collin & Dallas Counties: Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden
At the Dallas Arboretum, outdoorsy kiddos can explore the 66 acres of gardens, get wet in one of two splash pads (depending on time of year) and learn about plants and bugs in the interactive Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden (for an additional charge). Bring at least 15 kiddos to receive discounted admission ($9 for kids ages 3–12). Add a child-centric educational tour for $7 more per kid. Then bring your own picnic or grab prepared lunches from the Children’s Garden Café.
8525 Garland Road, Dallas, 214/515-6500
Fort Worth: No winner
North Texas: No winner
Collin County: iFly
Give little daredevils a rise with a party that mimics the free-fall portion of skydiving without the risk — kids simply float on a cushion of air. Parties at iFly begin with private training from an International Bodyflight Associationcertified instructor and include the rental of the helmets and flight suits that let kiddos as young as 3 soar like superheroes, plus, everyone gets an HD flight video too. Bring the kids and cake; iFly supplies the food, drinks, decor and paper goods. Packages vary by group size and flight time.
8380 State Highway 121, Frisco, 214/785-1243
Dallas County: Six Flags Over Texas
While it’s likely older kids requesting to have their birthday party at Six Flags Over Texas (since guests have to be at least 42 inches tall to board many of the adrenaline-inducing rides), there’s still lots of fun to be had by even the littlest guests on nearly 20 rides and attractions that have no height requirement at all. So while the birthday boy is free-flying, somersaulting and backflipping on the park’s newest Joker ride (it opened this past spring), younger kids fly, spin and bounce too — just at a much slower pace on gentler rides of their own. Group rates available for parties of 10 or more; $44.99 per person.
2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington, 817/640-8900
Fort Worth and North Texas: Great Wolf Lodge
Even kiddos born outside summer months can enjoy a poolside celebration with water slides, floats and splash toys at Great Wolf Lodge, where birthday party packages include all-day water park admission for at least 10 guests (and at least two adults), plus pizza, cake, drinks and a character visit. Afraid the little ones might get too waterlogged? Add treatments at the Scoops Spa, climbs on the ropes course or fun with Magiquest wands and interactive games (all for an additional cost). Packages start at $55 per person; $27.50 per chaperone.
100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine, 800/693-9653
FOR HIGH ENERGY
All regions: Urban Air Adventure Park
Treat jumpers to a two-hour party at one of Urban Air Adventure Park’s many locations (there will be five additional locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by next spring). Kids love the variety: hopping around, swimming through the foam pit or playing a game of dodgeball or basketball; you’ll love the laissez-faire approach you can take to party planning. Even the basic party package includes paper goods and balloons. Add on pizza, treats and favors for a truly stress-free event, or upgrade to a glow-in-the-dark party. Packages start at $149.99 for 10 jumpers.
FOR A FRILLY FÊTE
Collin & Dallas Counties: American Girl
Get all dolled up and take her favorite little ladies to lunch (with their dolls) at American Girl Bistro at Galleria Dallas. Dolls sit in their own seats with paper tiaras and tiny china. Actual living and breathing guests choose from kid favorites like pizza, mac and cheese and chicken tenders, while the grownups order fare such as chicken salad and salmon before the staff presents its signature pink-and-white cake and ice cream. Basic parties for ages 3 and older include goody bags; a deluxe party adds a craft to make and take. Packages start at $31 per child; $21 per adult.
13464 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, 877/247-5223
Fort Worth: Sweet & Sassy
Though the most popular parties at Sweet & Sassy feature dressing up like princesses, complete with fancy updos and tiaras to keep, or walking the catwalk in fun frocks and taking home the bling (a necklace and ring for each girl), the storefront offers spa parties, evening pajama parties, even createyour- own options. Each hour-andforty- five-minute bash includes online invites and group photos, but you can add a limo ride, DIY beauty products or feather boas for an additional cost. Packages from $279 for 6–8 kids.
1246 Main St., Southlake, 817/251-6353
North Texas: Let’s Pretend Tea Parties
The princess tea parties can range from simple affairs to elaborate events at the newly remodeled Let’s Pretend Tea Parties. Let your little one and up to eight of her friends dress in princess costumes (there are knight, prince and pirate outfits for boys) complete with makeup, glitter and a crown to keep; feast on tea sandwiches, fruit kabobs, cookies and petit fours; and play, dance and have story time during the 90-minute party. To take it up a notch, invite Elsa, Cinderella, Snow White or another fairy-tale princess to the party, or go all out by treating your daughter’s royal court to a horse-drawn carriage ride around downtown Grapevine.
317 Jenkins St., Grapevine, 817/809-7465
Collin County: Obstacle Warrior Kids
If American Ninja Warrior inspires your tyke to DIY her own indoor obstacle course, plan a party for her and 14 of her friends, age 5 and older, at Obstacle Warrior Kids. The two-hour parties include 90 minutes of unstructured gym play time, allowing tiny athletes to crawl, run, jump, swing and hang at their own pace and comfort level. Or hire a personal coach (for $100 per hour) to guide novice ninjas through the course. Parties include paper goods, balloons and drinks. Party favors and pizza can be purchased for an additional cost. $375 for up to 15 kids.
448 N. Custer Road, Suite A, McKinney, 214/856-5001
Dallas County and Fort Worth: The Little Gym
There’s a reason why The Little Gym consistently wins best party place for tumblers ages 1–12. A 90-minute Awesome Birthday Bash gives the birthday child and at least 12 of his or her friends (some locations’ packages include up to 15 friends) the full run of the facility, filling the celebration with instructor-led, age-appropriate games, music and other fun such as parachute activities and time on the air mat (a bounce house sans the top). The package also includes paper goods, setup and cleanup (even loading up your car with gifts). You just show up with the food and drinks of your choice. Prices vary by location. Additional children cost $10–$12 each, depending on location.
North Texas: Denton Gymnastics Academy
Encourage kids who like to tumble, jump and climb their way to a destination to try their moves on the beam, bar and mat during a 90-minute birthday party at Denton Gymnastics Academy. The party, for up to 20 preschoolers and older, keeps kids of any level busy with lots of games and activities. You just need to bring the food and drinks (paper goods and decorations are included). $150 for up to 20 kids.
600 N. Loop 288, Suite 205, Denton, 940/387-2025
FOR TINY DANCERS
Collin County: The Dance Movement
Right from the start, the Pop Star party at The Dance Movement gets kids of all ages on their feet. Disco balls, glow accessories and music greet kids as they enter. After 15 minutes of freestyling, instructors teach a choreographed routine (set to the birthday girl or boy’s favorite tune) and lead games and other activities before the 90-minute celebration ends with food, cake and presents. The studio hosts ballet, princess and hip-hop parties too; besides dancing, all packages include a photo shoot, decorated party room, setup and take-down. Packages from $250 for 15 dancers.
10301 Custer Road, Plano, 214/509-9000
Dallas County: No winner
Fort Worth: No winner
North Texas: No winner