Best for Families: Kids' Parties 2017

Your kiddo’s hobbies change with the tide and that means last year’sarcade-themed birthday might not jive withher newly discovered artist within. To helpyou plan a party around her latest fancy, wecompiled our annual list of Best For Families:Kids’ Parties awards. This year’s winners,chosen by you, include venues that cater toBroadway-bound babes and little gymnasts;indoor playgrounds perfect for middle-ofsummeror winter birthdays; and partiesthat come to you because we can’t think ofanything better than front-row seats in thecomfort of your living room (or backyard). Findthe package best suited to your kid’s growingpersonality and watch the memories unfold.

FOR HISTORY LOVERS
Collin County:Heritage Farmstead Museum

Turn the dial to the late 1800s for a birthday party atHeritage Farmstead Museum. For the littlest farmhands— ages 3 and younger — parties begin withstory time then games like gathering apples andfeeding the chickens. Those older than 3 also get todress up and play with era cooking utensils, sewingmachines and more in the History House, as well asparticipate in sack races and lasso pretend steer. Andkids 5 and older follow a map to find buried treasureon the property too. All parties include a party facilitatorwho sets up and leads the activities. Add tractorrides 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 FlightMuseum for the aviator in your life. During thetwo-hour party, wannabe pilots learn aboutplanes, helicopters and space ships; experience areal-life taxi down Runway 36R; take the wheel inthe Jumbo Jet; romp around the Children’s DiscoveryArea; and visit the Wind Tunnel aerodynamicslab. Packages from $115 for members; $140 fornonmembers 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 stylefun train for a one-hour round trip to Colleyville.Parents provide food, drinks and a cake and takepictures of the kiddos with the conductor andcoach attendants. The $600 fee to reserve a privatecoach for up to 66 guests includes a 6-foot servingtable and the price of the birthday cake. Add alittle wild to the western excursion with train robbersor musicians (for an additional cost). Call earlyto 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 andadrenaline junkies of all ages. In addition to one hourof bowling, the Spiller birthday package includes twohours of unlimited video games and access to thetwo-story laser tag arena, LED-lit rock climbing wall,ropes course and bumper cars. Your party host servesunlimited soft drinks, pizza and fried mozzarella sticksor chicken tenders and french fries; bring a cake orpurchase 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 abowling bash with as little as 24-hour notice. Thededicated party hero sets up decorations, servespizza and unlimited soda, cuts the cake (which youdo have to bring), passes out socks (a convenientadd-on if your crew forgot their own), even makesballoon animals during the hourlong celebrationin the party room. Then let kids age 2 and oldercompete in friendly glow-in-the-dark bowlinggames (bumpers and dinosaur-shaped ramps areavailable to help little ones hit the pins) beforeheading to the 7,000-square-foot arcade. Upgradesinclude go-carts and laser tag. Packages from $185for up to eight guests.
1290 E. Interstate 30, Rockwall, 972/722-1133

Fort Worth:BrunswickZone and iT’ZFamily Food & Fun (tie)
Brunswick's Unbelieva-Bowl package($18.99 per child at Westcreek; $20.99at Watauga) keeps your party of 5–20kids entertained and fed with 2 óhours of bowling (shoes included);pizza, drinks and fries (paper goodsincluded); and a treat from the icecream station. Customize your partywith a second menu option, suchas mac and cheese, or bumpers orlightweight balls. Adults join the funon the lanes or at the full-service bar,billiards table and arcade. Some partypackages also include a souvenirbowling pin (which all the guestssign) 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 abowl party at iT’Z Family, Food & Fun.During the 60-minute bowling session,party hosts bring pizza, drinks and cakelaneside along with a balloon bouquet.The basic package also includes twoattraction credits and a Fun Card forthe rock climbing wall, arcade, laser tagarena, lazer maze and bumper cars. Ona weekday, you can upgrade to the premiumpackage with all-day access torides and video games for only $4 moreper person. And take advantage of thefree, customizable invitations. Partypackages 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 atAMF Lewisville Lanes. The Unbelieva-Bowl packagekeeps your party of 5–20 guests entertained and fedwith 2 . hours of bowling (shoes included); pizza, drinksand fries (paper goods included); a $5 future admissioncredit for each child; and a treat from the ice cream station.Customize your party with a second menu optionsuch as mac and cheese bites or chicken tenders, or withbumpers or lightweight balls. Adults join the fun on thelanes or at the full-service bar, billiards table and arcade.Some party packages also include a souvenir bowlingpin (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 GrishamFarms come to your child’s party for a 45-minute handsonmeet and greet. Kids ages 2 and older hold and pet10 animals including the chinchilla, hedgehog, rabbit,bearded dragon and ball python. The zoo crew teachesage-tailored lessons — 3-year-olds learn what animalseat and do while older kids might learn how an animal’sexterior helps it survive in nature. For more fun, adda 30-minute Mother Goose Live song and story time.Call at least one month in advance to book for up to 50guests. Packages from $250.
Dallas-Fort Worth Area, 214/544-7255

Dallas County and Fort Worth:GameTruck
Fuel the kids with cake and ice cream beforereleasing them into GameTruck’s world of virtualreality. They play games like FIFA 15, Minecraft, JustDance and more on flat screens in the climatecontrolledtrailer for at least 90 minutes. Or playlaser tag in the front yard. Every party packagecomes with a certified GameCoach to help kids getto 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 partyfor 1–2 hours of both.
Dallas-Fort Worth area, 866/253-3191

North Texas:Critterman
David Kleven, aka Critterman, has worked with thewildest guys in the biz, including the late Steve Irwin,and brings creepy-crawly “edutainment” to childrenturning 3 or older. Each 45-minute package includesa small stuffed animal for the guest of honor, ahands-on encounter with seven different animals anda lesson in how they contribute to the environment,even in our own backyard (included in the Texas Tailspackage). This year, a South American three-bandedarmadillo and a prairie dog join the ranks of Critterman’screw — a hissing cockroach, a nonvenomousking snake, a tarantula, Stripes the sugar glider andmore. Packages from $325 for up to 15 kids. Book atleast 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 jamboreeat one of Play Street Museum’s many themedlocations. Does your kid love all modes of transport?Book an On-The-Go party in Allen. Take animal loversto McKinney and outdoorsy kiddos “camping” inPlano. DIY packages at all locations let you customizea private party for up to 20 kids; the Sit Back and Relaxoption enlists a party specialist who provides invitations,cupcakes, food, drinks, party favors and papergoods. Visit the website to choose from over a dozenthemes. New this year: Let guests deposit moneyelectronically into the Birthday Bank, a fund used for toys in the museum’s shop. Packagesfrom $365 for 20 kids.
Multiple locations

Dallas County: No winner

Fort Worth:Celebration Partyand Event Center
All the attractions in the 5,000-square-foot playspace 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-toeor dress up as a shopkeeper, firefighter and more inone of the eight playhouses. Every party comes witha party host (to keep the kids safe and handle thesetup and take-down) and either a bounce houseor a dance floor and disco ball. Fill the time withparty add-ons such as a face painter, balloon artist orcharacter appearance. Party packages from $125 (fora weekday party) for up to 40 guests.
5950 Park Vista Circle, Suite 140, Keller, 817/741-5590

North Texas:Win Kids Sportsand Learning Center
Parents love hosting celebrations at Win Kids Sportsand Learning Center because they get to be a guestat the party rather than a referee, and the kids lovetumbling, climbing, crawling and jumping. Gymnastics parties for ages 1 and older begin withsupervised open play, games and obstaclecourses. Then it’s off to the privateparty room for lemonade, cake andpresents. The staff keeps track of whogave what, cleans up the mess, evenpacks up the presents for you. To puta ninja spin on the gymnastics party,book a Ninja Warrior Party for ages 3and older in the brand-new Ninja Gym.Kids attempt parkour tricks like vaulting,flipping and swinging from obstaclesunder the direction of highly trainedinstructors. $280 for up to 15 kids; $10for each additional gymnast or ninjawarrior. Reserve early; party times canfill up months in advance.
3000 Waketon Road, Flower Mound,972/355-9988

FOR NATURAL PERFORMERS
Collin County:Plano Children’sTheatre

Your child takes the stage at Plano Children’sTheatre, moving this month toThe Shops at Willow Bend. The party beginswith theater costumes and improvgames led by a professional theaterdirector and a short skit performed bythe guest of honor and his 10 castmatesbefore watching a one-hour musical.Guests enjoy a VIP experience thatincludes a birthday serenade duringthe show and an introduction to thecreative team. Bring cake, food andpresents to enjoy post-performance.Packages from $250 for $10 tickets (discountedrates 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 ashow at Dallas Children’s Theater, which includes a“Happy Birthday” serenade after intermission (signup on the birthday list at the box office). Featuredshows this season include Goosebumps The Musical– Phantom of the Auditorium for ages 7 andolder (starting this month) and The Very HungryCaterpillar puppet show (beginning January 2018). When the curtain closes, partygoerstake pictures with the actors andget autographs. Bring decorations,games, food and cake to fill the 60minutes you have in the party roombefore or after the show. Packagesare $100 per hour plus the cost oftickets, 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 birthdayparty at Casa Mañana this year. The theater’s 2018season includes Peter Darling: The New Peter PanMusical, Madagascar and Beauty and the Beast.A dedicated party host serves your 10 guests aspecialty drink tied to the show’s main character ortheme (for last year’s Little Mermaid, guests drank“under the sea water”) and sets up the private partyroom with chairs, tables and paper goods (plus, theyclean up). Your only job is to bring theguest of honor, decorations, food andcake. Once the curtain closes, yourcrew gets a backstage tour (pendingavailability). Standard party packagesfrom $250 for up to 10 guests.
3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth, 817/332-2272

North Texas:Studio B PerformingArts Center
Give your star a moment in the spotlightat Studio B Theater. The birthday packageincludes 10 tickets to a show, aquarter-page shoutout in the programand theater slideshow, and another fromthe stage during February 2018’s live performanceof Peter Pan Jr. As if that wasn’trecognition enough, actors call yourchild to the stage for the birthday songand a top hat filled with gifts such as ashow poster, two tickets to an upcomingshow and a Studio B T-shirt. The celebrationcontinues after the curtain closeswith a tour of backstage (bring a pen forautographs). $250 for 10 guests.
2400 Justin Road, Lewisville, 972/966-2787

FOR GOLD-MEDALISTSWIMMERS
Collin & Dallas Counties:Emler Swim School
For two hours, your party of up to 30guests enjoys free time in the indoor,heated saltwater pool at Emler SwimSchool (add a swim buddy to leadthe kids in games for an additionalcharge). Then head to the party room,where the food, cake, paper goods anddecorations that you provide await.Packages from $210 for members;$300 for nonmembers.
Multiple locations

Fort Worth:NRH2O FamilyWater Park
For the second year in a row, NRH2OFamily Water Park sinks the win forbest swimming party in Fort Worth,and it’s easy to see why. The Bounder’sBirthday Bash offers full-day admission,a party host and one hour of reservedseating near the water slides, plus pizzaand ice cream. For an adrenaline boost,upgrade to Extreme Extravaganza withall-day reserved seating next to GreenExtreme, the world’s largest uphillwater coaster, or Frogstein’s Splashatory,the five-level water playground.Plus, your party host escorts kids tothe front of the line for three high-thrillrides. Party packages from $194.99 foreight guests.
9001 Blvd. 26, North Richland Hills, 817/427-6500

North Texas:AquaKids
Let up to 20 little mermaids age 3 andolder swim, play with rings and noodlesand barrel down two twisty tube slidesinto the 92-degree water during a twohourswim party at AquaKids (gogglesand life jackets are available to borrow).On dry land, change clothes and enjoybrought-from-home food, cake andpresents in the party room. $220 (nonmembers)or $195 (members) for 20kids; $5 each additional swimmer.
3409 Cross Timbers Road, Flower Mound, 972/724-1528

FOR THE ARTISTICALLYINCLINED
Collin County:Color Me Mine
Your child and at least eight of herfriends each choose a ceramic teacup,salt and pepper shakers, seahorse oranything that ranges from $16–$19 todecorate with nontoxic, food-gradepaints during a two-hour party at ColorMe Mine. Upgrades include balloonsand a souvenir signature plate or papergoods and pizza, cake and drinks. Bookonline 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 hercrayons, paintbrushes or needle andthread to good use at Kid Art in ParkCities. During the 90-minute party,studio artists help kids paint watercolorportraits, decorate woodenframes, monogram sewn hats andcapes or create any number of projects.The starving artists then fill upon cake and refreshments broughtfrom home. Or order your cakefrom nearby SusieCakes at PrestonCenter — they’ll deliver. Packagesfrom $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 ArtfulMayhem Studio the best party foraspiring artists two years in a row.The free customized invitations, takehomemasterpiece and personalizedsouvenir poster make any child’s day,but the memories take the cake. At the90-minute Artsy Party for up to eightguests (ages 4 and older), an instructorleads your group in a painting pickedfrom a library of over 150 themed projects.Then kids head to the party roomfor cake and presents (you bring allpaper goods and serveware). A shorter60-minute party is also available for upto six guests and does not include theparty room. $175 for Artsy Party; $100for a Mini Party.
128 Keller Parkway, Keller, 817/653-1703

North Texas:Marynell’sCraft Attack
Whether the honoree wants to paintpottery, make jewelry, create a masterpieceon canvas, or do any number ofother projects, Marynell’s Craft Attack isDentonites’ favorite venue for art-y parties.Owner Marynell Kaufman poursher own ceramics, so pottery painterscan choose from hundreds of premadeitems or put in a special request with atleast two weeks’ notice. On the day of,partygoers take over two rooms in thecozy old home-turned-studio — onefor the project and one for celebrating(cake and pizza are yours to provide).When everyone is finished, Kaufmanwraps the pieces in tissue and giftbags for guests to take home. Partiescost $10–$15 per participant. Emailmarynellk46@verizon.net to book.
9085 Teasley Lane, Denton, 940/565-0195

FOR SCIENCE LOVERS
Collin County, Dallas County and North Texas:Perot Museum ofNature and Science
Reluctant to turn your living room intoa laboratory? Let the Perot Museum ofNature and Science handle the goopand glob — or fossils, or rocket fuel, ordinosaur toothpaste. Birthdays at themuseum include 90 minutes of partytime with the theme of your choice,from Dinosaur Tamer to Professor Mixa-Lot, plus all-day general admission,so guests can wander the exhibit hallsbefore and after the celebration. Upgradefor extra activities, an additionalparty host and kid-friendly music. $260for members; $300 for nonmembers.
2201 N. Field St., Dallas, 214/428-5555

Fort Worth:Fort WorthMuseum of Scienceand History
Make slime, create a fossil, interact withrabbits and snakes or build a scribblingrobot — at the Fort Worth Museumof Science and History, the decisionis up to the birthday kid. Partygoersenjoy free admission to the museumfor the day plus a 90-minute party in aprivate studio (20 minutes is dedicatedto a hands-on science activity) led bya party coordinator. Feel free to bringsnacks and drinks for the kiddos, oryou can opt to have the museum caterfor an additional charge. For $50, thecoordinator can use liquid nitrogento make tasty ice cream for thegroup. 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 yourkid wants to do it all on their birthday,book a party at Main Event. All of MainEvent’s new party packages comewith arcade cards for the guests, 1–4activities, a kidfriendlyentree and a dedicated partyhost, meaning parents can bring thecake then focus on having fun. Invitationsare a breeze too, with premadeevites you can send when you bookor print out to mail the old-fashionedway. An extra perk for Mom and Dad:Your child’s birthday package includesa certificate for an hour of free bowlingjust for you — hello, date night.Packages start at $15.95 per person for10–15 guests; book online.
Multiple locations

Dallas County:Dave & Buster’s
Dave & Buster’s is constantly addinggames (like the world’s largestPac-Man) and fun ways for kids toplay (like the new Power Wandsthat activate games when you tapthe screen). But what makes Dave& Buster’s parties the best remainsthe same: Hundreds of arcade-stylegames; kid-approved fare such asburgers, pizza and mac and cheese;and little to no work for Mom andDad. Bring decorations and a cake,and Dave & Buster’s does the rest foryour party of 10 or more. Packagesstart 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 RoughRidersare on the road, your little slugger cancelebrate at the Dr Pepper Ballpark. Tourthe dugout, romp on the playgroundand eat pizza and cake; upgradesinclude field access and a visit from themascot. When the RoughRiders are intown, the ballgame takes center stage,but your kiddo and their friends alsoget access to the playground, unlimitedfood and a tour of the field dependingon the party package you choose. Wantto knock this party out of the park? Gofor the Choctaw Lazy River package toroot for the Riders from the comfort ofinner tubes behind right field. Packagesstart at $699 on game days and $600 onother days.
7300 RoughRiders Trail, Frisco, 972/731-9200

Dallas County:Topgolf
Fore (pardon the pun) lots of fun,schedule a tee time for the birthdaygirl and 11–17 of her friends atTopgolf. Options include two hoursof driving range play, batting cagepractice, mini golf or a combinationof any two for kiddos age 12and younger (there are junior- andtoddler-size clubs available), plusevery partygoer gets a kid’s meal.There’s no experience necessaryto have a swinging good time, butyou can add a Topgolf Pro to teachthe kids or help them improve theirswing. 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 besttime at an AT&T Stadium party — thepint-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 (orthe cheerleaders’ lockers, if your littleone is more of a tumbler than a tackler)and chow down on a personalized cakein the Rowdy Room. The best part? It’sall air-conditioned, and parents don’thave to do anything but bring footballsand Frisbees to toss on the field. Thereare multiple packages available for 20guests; call or email groupsales@dallascowboys.net for pricing.
1 AT&T Way, Arlington, 817/892-8687

FOR CINEPHILES
Collin & Dallas Counties:Studio Movie Grill
Treat your mini movie buff andher friends to dinner (or brunch orlunch) and a show at Studio MovieGrill. Choose from one of the currentkid-friendly flicks (and sit in a reservedsection in the theater) or rent theentire auditorium and bring your ownfavorite film to watch while feastingon popcorn, pizza, burgers, chickenbites, desserts or sausage links dippedin pancake batter. Prices from $6 perpartygoer, plus the cost of movietickets. Email kwalden@studiomoviegrill.com to book.
Multiple locations

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 underthe stars. Besides the playground that’sopen to all moviegoers, your kiddoand his cast of friends have accessto a decorated table, scratch-madegrub from Coyote’s menu, a dedicatedparty host (read: no setup or cleanupfor Mom and Dad) and, of course, themain feature: back-to-back flicks on thebig screen once the sun goes down.Party packs start at $199 for up to 10guests; 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 yourparty animal and her pack. Choose theZoo-It-Your-Way Birthday option — andbring at least 20 people — for discountedall-day admission ($7 per kid ages3–11; $10 per adult) and a bring-yourownparty (food and decor) to enjoy ina first-come, first-served picnic area. Oropt for the Zoofari Package if you preferto be a little more hands-off. It includesall-day zoo admission for 20 guests, plus90 minutes in an air-conditioned partyroom and a private zookeeper-led animalencounter. $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 WorthZoo’s two giraffe calves, when youbook a birthday at the zoo — everypackage includes all-day admission for30 guests so you can take your timepeering into the Meerkat Mounds andfeeding parakeets in the walk-throughaviary. To make the day extra-special(and extra-convenient for you), chooseadd-ons like custom invitations,zoo-themed cupcakes and party supplies,a photo booth, and an animalpresentation. When the weather is hot,host a party at Safari Splash, the zoo’s14,000-square-foot splash park, andadd an animal presentation to yourzoo admission and two-hour cabanarental. 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, outdoorsykiddos can explore the 66 acres ofgardens, get wet in one of two splashpads (depending on time of year)and learn about plants and bugs inthe interactive Rory Meyers Children’sAdventure Garden (for an additionalcharge). Bring at least 15 kiddos toreceive discounted admission ($9 forkids ages 3–12). Add a child-centriceducational tour for $7 more per kid.Then bring your own picnic or grabprepared lunches from the Children’sGarden Café.
8525 Garland Road, Dallas, 214/515-6500

Fort Worth: No winner

North Texas:No winner

FOR THRILL-SEEKERS
Collin County:iFly
Give little daredevils a rise with a partythat mimics the free-fall portion of skydivingwithout the risk — kids simplyfloat on a cushion of air. Parties at iFlybegin with private training from anInternational Bodyflight Associationcertifiedinstructor and include therental of the helmets and flight suitsthat let kiddos as young as 3 soar likesuperheroes, plus, everyone gets anHD flight video too. Bring the kids andcake; iFly supplies the food, drinks,decor and paper goods. Packages varyby 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 requestingto have their birthday party at SixFlags Over Texas (since guests haveto be at least 42 inches tall to boardmany of the adrenaline-inducingrides), there’s still lots of fun tobe had by even the littlest guestson nearly 20 rides and attractionsthat have no height requirementat all. So while the birthday boy isfree-flying, somersaulting and backflippingon the park’s newest Jokerride (it opened this past spring),younger kids fly, spin and bouncetoo — just at a much slower paceon gentler rides of their own. Grouprates available for parties of 10 ormore; $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 summermonths can enjoy a poolside celebrationwith water slides, floats and splashtoys at Great Wolf Lodge, where birthday party packages include all-daywater park admission for at least 10guests (and at least two adults), pluspizza, cake, drinks and a character visit.Afraid the little ones might get toowaterlogged? Add treatments at theScoops Spa, climbs on the ropes courseor fun with Magiquest wands andinteractive games (all for an additionalcost). Packages start at $55 per person;$27.50 per chaperone.
100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine, 800/693-9653

FOR HIGH ENERGY
All regions:Urban AirAdventure Park
Treat jumpers to a two-hour party atone of Urban Air Adventure Park’s manylocations (there will be five additional locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by next spring). Kids love the variety: hoppingaround, swimming through the foampit or playing a game of dodgeball orbasketball; you’ll love the laissez-faire approach you can take to party planning.Even the basic party packageincludes paper goods and balloons.Add on pizza, treats and favors for atruly stress-free event, or upgrade to aglow-in-the-dark party. Packages startat $149.99 for 10 jumpers.
Multiple locations

FOR A FRILLY FÊTE
Collin & Dallas Counties:American Girl
Get all dolled up and take her favoritelittle ladies to lunch (with their dolls) atAmerican Girl Bistro at Galleria Dallas.Dolls sit in their own seats with papertiaras and tiny china. Actual living andbreathing guests choose from kidfavorites like pizza, mac and cheeseand chicken tenders, while the grownupsorder fare such as chicken saladand salmon before the staff presentsits signature pink-and-white cake andice cream. Basic parties for ages 3 andolder include goody bags; a deluxeparty adds a craft to make and take.Packages start at $31 per child; $21per adult.
13464 Dallas Parkway, Dallas, 877/247-5223

Fort Worth:Sweet & Sassy
Though the most popular parties atSweet & Sassy feature dressing up likeprincesses, complete with fancy updosand tiaras to keep, or walking thecatwalk in fun frocks and taking homethe bling (a necklace and ring for eachgirl), the storefront offers spa parties,evening pajama parties, even createyour-own options. Each hour-andforty-five-minute bash includes onlineinvites and group photos, but you canadd a limo ride, DIY beauty productsor 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 rangefrom simple affairs to elaborate eventsat the newly remodeled Let’s PretendTea Parties. Let your little one and upto eight of her friends dress in princesscostumes (there are knight, prince andpirate outfits for boys) complete withmakeup, glitter and a crown to keep;feast on tea sandwiches, fruit kabobs,cookies and petit fours; and play,dance and have story time during the90-minute party. To take it up a notch,invite Elsa, Cinderella, Snow White or anotherfairy-tale princess to the party, orgo all out by treating your daughter’sroyal court to a horse-drawn carriageride around downtown Grapevine.
317 Jenkins St., Grapevine, 817/809-7465

FOR TUMBLEWEEDS
Collin County:Obstacle Warrior Kids
If American Ninja Warrior inspires yourtyke to DIY her own indoor obstaclecourse, plan a party for her and 14 ofher friends, age 5 and older, at ObstacleWarrior Kids. The two-hour partiesinclude 90 minutes of unstructuredgym play time, allowing tiny athletesto crawl, run, jump, swing and hangat their own pace and comfort level.Or hire a personal coach (for $100 perhour) to guide novice ninjas throughthe course. Parties include paper goods,balloons and drinks. Party favors andpizza can be purchased for an additionalcost. $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 Gymconsistently wins best party placefor tumblers ages 1–12. A 90-minuteAwesome Birthday Bash givesthe birthday child and at least 12 ofhis or her friends (some locations’packages include up to 15 friends)the full run of the facility, fillingthe celebration with instructor-led,age-appropriate games, musicand other fun such as parachuteactivities and time on the air mat(a bounce house sans the top). Thepackage also includes paper goods,setup and cleanup (even loading upyour car with gifts). You just showup with the food and drinks of yourchoice. Prices vary by location. Additionalchildren cost $10–$12 each,depending on location.
Multiple locations

North Texas:Denton GymnasticsAcademy
Encourage kids who like to tumble,jump and climb their way to a destinationto try their moves on the beam, barand mat during a 90-minute birthdayparty at Denton Gymnastics Academy.The party, for up to 20 preschoolersand older, keeps kids of any level busywith lots of games and activities. Youjust need to bring the food and drinks(paper goods and decorations areincluded). $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 partyat The Dance Movement gets kids ofall ages on their feet. Disco balls, glowaccessories and music greet kids asthey enter. After 15 minutes of freestyling,instructors teach a choreographedroutine (set to the birthday girl or boy’sfavorite tune) and lead games andother activities before the 90-minutecelebration ends with food, cake andpresents. The studio hosts ballet, princessand hip-hop parties too; besidesdancing, all packages include a photoshoot, decorated party room, setupand take-down. Packages from $250for 15 dancers.
10301 Custer Road, Plano, 214/509-9000

Dallas County: No winner

Fort Worth:No winner

North Texas:No winner