Once a year there is a special day that our little ones get to celebrate—their birthday. It’s always a stressful time to make sure it’s the best kids party of the year, but it needs to be even better than last year. We get it; it’s a lot to undertake, so our annual DFWChild Best Kids’ Parties awards—with winners chosen by you—make it easier to put together a celebration that caters to your kids’ interests, whether they’re into nature, animals or video games. Read on for the winners and runners-up to find the best spot for your kiddo’s big day.
Best for Animal Lovers
Fort Worth Zoo
The littles ones and you will both have a blast at the Fort Worth Zoo with educational and interactive opportunities. There are several packages available, including Safari Splash, Beat the Heat and Savanna Sunrise. Enjoy an opportunity to feed giraffes or have private access to the Safari Splash or even the African Savanna exhibit. Packages range from the Wild Package at $450 to the Wildest Package at $840, which includes giraffe feeding and more.
1989 Colonial Parkway, Fort Worth; 817/759-7300
Runner-up: Fossil Rim, fossilrim.org
Best for Nature and Science Lovers
Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Learning meets fun for friends and family of all ages at the Fort Worth Museum for Science and History. Children can have a hands-on, close-up experience with free time to explore the museum. With your own birthday party coordinator, all the schedule and activity details are taken care of to ensure a fun and smooth day. For munch time, snacks, such as popcorn and cookies, are available for purchase. Your child will also receive a t-shirt and birthday present from the museum. There are three different packages with non-member pricing at $370 and member pricing at $340. Wonder, Imagine and Dream level members receive an additional discount.
1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth; 817/255-9300
Runner-up: Botanical Research Institute of Texas, brit.org
Best Eatery for Kids Party
Let your king (or queen) of the jungle roar with the animatronic animals at Rainforest Café. Kids of all ages enjoy learning about jungle animals such as the red-eyed tree frog, the macaw or the jaguar. In addition to an incredible feast, birthday packages include a wild safari hat, Wild Bunch collectible kids plate, invitations and more. Oh, and don’t miss the simulated “thunderstorms” every 20 minutes that make all the animals raise their voice. Contact Rainforest Café to book your event.
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine; 972/539-5001
Runner-up: Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, babeschicken.com
Best Big Water Park for a Birthday
Great Wolf Lodge
It’s time to get wet and wild as you spend your day splashing and sliding in Great Wolf Lodge’s indoor water park. They have it all from slides to forts to activity pools. The birthday package includes an hour and a half of decorated party space, cake or cupcakes, pizza, drinks, and water-park passes. To book a birthday party package, there must be a minimum of 10 guests. All guests must have a wristband to enter the water park. The package is $55 per adult or child and kids under 2 are free.
100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine; 800/693-9653
Runner-up: NRH2O, nrh2o.com
Best Party for History Buffs
Join the royal fun at Medieval Times. Enjoy a four-course feast while you cheer for your knight in the hopes he will be named champion as he competes in jousting and weaponry. Also, make sure to keep an eye out for the fierce falcon as he takes flight. When you book a birthday party for at least 10 guests at Medieval Times (additional $10 per person), birthday guests receive a birthday announcement during the show, group photo, cake, a frozen strawberry slushie in a souvenir castle cup and a cheering banner. You can also download and print Medieval Times birthday invitations for free. Tickets for the dinner and tournament cost $36.95 per children 12 and under, and an additional $10 is added to the ticket price if booking the birthday package. Adult tickets cost $62.95.
2021 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas; 214/761-1801
Runner-up: Grapevine Vintage Railroad, grapevinetexasusa.com
Best Movie Theater for a Party
Bring your pack for a howling good time at Coyote Drive-In. You bring the cake, and Coyote Drive-In will take care of the rest. There are two party packages to choose from for up to 10 guests—it just depends on the day. The Coyote Pack is for Sundays–Thursdays. It can be booked year round and includes a reserved, decorated picnic table, use of the Coyote Playground, a party host (who takes care of all the setting up, serving and cleaning) and evening movie selections. The other package with the same name for Fridays and Saturdays includes everything above but is only available August through April. Pricing is listed at $199 and $249 respectively.
223 NE Fourth St., Fort Worth; 817/717-7767
Runner-up: Cinemark Theatres, cinemark.com
Best Party for Performers
All drama queens and kings will gawk over the live shows at Casa Mañana’s Children’s Theater—where productions such as Jack Frost, Matilda and Shrek the Musical will ensure your guests have a show-stopping time. There are two birthday party packages to offer. Upon availability, each package includes show tickets, a dedicated party host, show T-shirt for the birthday kid, show specialty drinks for the guests, set up and clean up, and a backstage tour. The standard birthday package includes a semi-private party area while the premium birthday package is set up just for you with a private party area complete with private bathrooms and entrance—all you have to do is decide what show to see. Pricing starts at $290 for up to 10 guests and depends on the day; you have your choice of Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out their website for more information.
3101 W. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth; 817/321-5003
Runner-up: School of Rock, schoolofrock.com
Best Party for a Frilly Fete
Sweet & Sassy
Does your little one want to feel like a princess or a pop star? Have a day of pampering at Sweet & Sassy. There’s everything your little one needs with a kid’s salon, spa and celebration space for your big event. They even have a pink limo you can reserve for your spa-tacular event. Whether your kiddo wants a runway theme or prefers to feel like a rock star, they’ve got it covered. Each party package is priced at $289 and is customized with activities and party accessories that match the theme. If you’re looking for a little more options, such creating your own lotion, bath salt or sugar scrub, there are add ons available. Pro tip: Ear piercing is a huge hit (at a separate charge) with trained technicians and a hot pink ear piercing throne.
1081 E. Southlake Blvd., Suite 150, Southlake; 214/643-8694
Runner-up: Let’s Pretend Tea Parties, letspretendparties.com
Best Party for Little Chefs
Young Chefs Academy
For the little chefs in your family, celebrate a birthday with Young Chefs Academy. Each of the party packages are all inclusive, so you can sit back and let the staff take care of everything from invitations to decorations to clean up. Each guest will learn some essential culinary skills with hands-on instruction. Book the Classic Pizza Party to learn how to measure, knead and shape your own personal pizza. The package is priced at $350 and includes settings for 15 guests, invitations, balloons, drink and paper goods, aprons, chef hats, and more. Optional extras are available to add on.
6333 Camp Bowie Blvd., Suite 260, Fort Worth; 817/989-2433
Runner-up: Taste Buds Kitchen, tastebudskitchen.com
Best Party That Comes to You
Virtual reality comes to your little gamer and company in the form of a high-end mobile game theater, which offers an impressive collection of multiplayer video games and a range of consoles. Want to expend some high energy? Use your backyard, front yard or a nearby park as the main arena for a modern LaserTag party, or play an entertaining match of BubbleSoccer. Whichever party you choose, a certified GameCoach will be there to emcee and guide your child through an exciting day of social gaming and fun. Visit their website for pricing and availability.
Dallas-Fort Worth; 888/602-4263
Runner-up: Mad Science of Dallas and Fort Worth, dfw.madscience.org
Best Party for Fun & Games
Legoland Discovery Center
Enter this Lego world with an indoor playground where kids age 3–10 can meet their favorite Lego characters and build to their creative heart’s content. Birthday parties include two hours of play, a party host, pizza, soft drinks and an exclusive Lego model for each guest to take home. The party doesn’t stop because you get all-day admission to Legoland after using the party room. Party packages are $25 per person. There are two party rooms to choose from: a room for up to 30 guests or a room for up to 18 guests. Book at least three weeks in advance by phone at 469/444-3004 or online.
3000 Grapevine Mills Parkway, Grapevine; 469/444-3050
Runner-up: Dave and Buster’s, daveandbusters.com
Best Party for Creatives
Engage your child’s learning abilities through some serious play. Both small party guests and adults can interact with Play Studio’s unique materials while in the comfort of a relaxing and friendly environment, both indoors and outdoors. New to 2019 are more party options: Small and Simple is perfect for regular play hours for up to 8 guests (add an art activity for $5 per child); reserve the entire space for your own private party when choosing The DIY Party for up to 15 children; bring cake and friends and leave the rest to the staff in We’ll Do It; and tailor your child’s party with themed plates, napkins, a cake and more with Custom Party. There are several packages available online.
3005 E. Belknap St., Fort Worth; 817/936-2865
Runner-up: Van Grow: Art Studio for Kids, vangrowstudio.com
Best Place for a Jump Party
There are more than just awesome trampolines here such as a climbing wall, warrior course, tubes playground and more that make up the indoor adventure park that will inspire the jumper in any kid, tween or teen. Classic party packages include two hours of exploring the most exciting attractions for your kid and guests. Parents can relax as staff take care of prepping for the party. For tweens and teens, all lights are off as guests play glow-in-the-dark dodgeball and enjoy the sights of strobes and lasers in the Glow Party packages. Pricing on packages depends on location.
Runner-up: Altitude Trampoline Park, altitudetrampolinepark.com
Best Party for Indoor Play
The Happy Lark
Little creatives of all ages can roam this 1,700-square-foot indoor playspace. Boost your child’s birthday party with a birthday-themed felt on The Happy Lark’s felt board, a personalized parachute song (brand new!) and more. Party hosts can choose from three party packages, with all of them including a party lead to help you set up, clean up and anything else you need. Children can also immerse themselves in new party themes, including Princess Swan, Under the Sea/Shark and Fiesta (add an optional letter board with personalized message and/or a parachute activity at no additional cost). Parties start at $300. Members get a $30 discount on all party packages.
6012 Southwest Blvd., Fort Worth; 682/841-1027
Runner-up: Bricks and Minifigs, bricksandminifigs.com
Best Party for Tumblers
The Little Gym
With a name like the Awesome Birthday Bash, your kid between the ages of 1 and 12 will have no less than an awesome time for an hour and a half at The Little Gym, a place dedicated to physical development and personal growth. Twelve birthday guests can burn some energy with The Little Gym’s instructor-led games and Lego Juniors or Lego Duplo building activities. Pricing varies by location.
Runner-up: Lone Star Gymnastics, lonestargym.org
Best Sports Party
Let the birthday boy or girl practice their swing with as many friends they want at Topgolf. Kid-friendly menu items lend a helping hand in the good times while your child enjoys two hours of game play. Complimentary kids club, digital e-vites and a dedicated staff are all present for a successful tee off (teen party packages are also available). Elevate your child’s golfing experience with upgrades such as customizable goodie bags and swing tips from a private Topgolf coach. Packages start at $300 for 12 guests.
2201 E 4th St., Fort Worth; 817/349-4002
Runner-up: Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington, mlb.com/rangers/ballpark
Best Swim Party
Emler Swim School
Make a splash at a swim lover’s birthday at one of Emler Swim School’s numerous locations. No matter the season, up to 30 guests can swim in heated, indoor pools. Safety is Emler Swim School’s top priority during the two-hour pool party, with a certified lifeguard required and a designated water watcher overseeing all the fun. Customized digital invitations are included as well as a private party room for when pool time ends. For an additional $35, hire a Swim Buddy as an in-water party host that keeps guests entertained with games. The cost for the birthday party is $300, and active members receive a 30% discount. Call in advance to book a time and date.
Runner-up: Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, aqua-tots.com
Image courtesy of Sweet and Sassy.