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: Dallas Zoo, dallaszoo.com
Best for Nature and Science Lovers
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
The museum offers out-of-this-world birthday parties for kids ages 1-12 with fizzy and foamy experiments, dinosaurs, outer space and superheroes. Party guests have the opportunity to engage in exclusive sci-fi activities as well as access to the five levels of the museum. This year, there are new themes, including Under the Sea: Beach and Bubbles, a sea theme with bubbles and ocean slime, and Glitz and Glam: Gems and Minerals, a gemology theme with a gem hunt. All parties receive all-day general admission for 30 people to all exhibit halls, a party facilitator, age-appropriate science-based themes and activities and more. Add-ons are available for purchase. Pricing starts at $285 for members and $325 for non-members. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 214/756-5763 to book a birthday party.
2201 N. Field St., Dallas; 214/428-5555
Runner-up: Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, fwmuseum.org
Best Party for History Buffs
Grapevine Vintage Railroad
Grapevine Vintage Railroad is the spot for history lovers and railroad enthusiasts alike. Guests can experience early 1900s-like train travel along the historic Cotton Belt Route. Parties include a private coach on the one-hour excursion that accommodates up to 66 people with an additional 30 minutes after returning to the platform. Tables are available for party items such as cake and gifts. Contact Grapevine Vintage Railroad for pricing and booking details.
707 S. Main St., Grapevine; 817/410-3185
Runner-up: Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, medievaltimes.com
Best Movie Theater for a Party
Here, your kid is sure to feel like a movie star. Guests have options that include a party room for an intimate gathering or a private auditorium for a bigger birthday bash. With your private room, a staff member will do all the work for you from serving snacks to cleaning up. Party prices vary, so be sure to go online for more information at cinemark.com/birthday-parties.
Runner-up: Moviehouse and Eatery, themoviehouse.com
Best Party for a Frilly Fete
Bring the guests, and American Girl will do the rest. There are five party packages for ages 3 and up, and your child and guests will have plenty of options to have a frilly good time. Each package includes a delicious meal, signature cake and ice cream, digital invitations, and a special gift for the birthday girl. Prices vary depending on age and package.
13464 Dallas Parkway, Dallas; 877/247-5223
Runner-up: Let’s Pretend Tea Parties, letspretendparties.com
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: Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream & Soda Fountain, bethmaries.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: Water Works Park, dentonwaterworks.com
Best Party for Performers
School of Rock
At a School of Rock party, rock stars 7 and up can play renditions of hits like “We Will Rock You.” At the end of the party, guests put on a show Battle of the Bands- or American Idol-style, depending on the party package. Bring your own food and drinks or have it catered. Party hosts will be on-site for any of your needs, but they do require one chaperone per child. Prices start at $300.
3501 Long Prairie Road, Suite 102, Flower Mound; 972/539-0761
Runner-up: Denton Community Theatre, dentoncommunitytheatre.com
Best Party That Comes to You
Mad Science of Dallas and Fort Worth
Your child between the ages of 5 and 12 will experiment with all sorts of scientific madness when the Mad Scientist stops by. For 40–45 minutes, the birthday girl or boy will assist the Mad Scientist in incredible scientific demonstrations, such as fitting a hardboiled egg into an extremely small space or racing a levitating ring. Kids will make slime to take home for the final 10-or-so minutes of the party. Bubbling potions, cotton candy and rocket launches are special add-ons that extend the scientific mayhem. Book at least three weeks in advance by phone or online. Packages start at $209 for up to 15 guests.
2309 Springlake Road, Suite 620, Farmers Branch; 972/241-0475
Runner-ups: Critterman, animaled.com, and GameTruck, gametruckparty.com
Best Party for Fun & Games
This is where variety is the spice of fun: state-of-the-art bowling lanes, over 130 arcade games, a multi-story laser tag area and glow-in-the-dark mini golf are just a few ways to make your child’s party an unforgettable blast. Pajamas and Pancakes, Gamers Package with VR Experience and Sleepover Parties are several new birthday party themes. The all-new VIP Birthday Party Experience places your birthday child front and center of the new Hunt for FUN Scavenger Hunt, which includes five exciting challenges to win prizes, such as free laser tag, arcade game play or a grand prize from inside the Big Crane Game. Add on to all the fun with goodie bags, a customized bowling pin and a scoop from the Big Fun Sundae. Party guests enjoy complimentary pre-party setup and post-party cleaning with the assistance of a party host. Packages begin at $15.95 per child.
2070 S. Stemmons Freeway, Lewisville; 972/459-7770
Runner-up: Legoland Discovery Center, dallasfw.legolanddiscovertycenter.com
Best Party for Creatives
Color Me Mine
Aspiring artist’s paint with all their favorite colors at Color Me Mine. Round up the birthday girl or boy along with up to 22 guests for Magical Unicorn Painting Party, where you can choose from a variety of unicorns for your child to paint. The Kids Pottery Party, which includes a keepsake plate and a child’s VIP (Very Important Painter) Pass—valid for one year—allows partygoers to mold their own creations (a Large Group Pottery Party is available for teens 13 and up). For a more exclusive gathering, the Private Full Studio Party allows up to 45 painters (before/after hours) and two staff members to help set up, instruct and clean up. Packages begin at $100. Book at least two–three weeks in advance online or by phone.
2570 Justin Road, Suite 150, Highland Village; 972/539-9911
Runner-up: Art House, studioarthouse.com
Best Party for Indoor Play
Play Street Museum
Host a privately-held birthday party to make your child feel extra special while they go off exploring Play Street Museum’s interactive buildings and exhibits. Adorable, creative birthday themes such as Little Dreamer, Calling All Superheroes and Rocket Science will spark imagination and fun for your child and guests. For kiddos age 5 and up, Play Street Museum hosts Slime & Paint Your Own Pottery parties. Planning is made easy peasy on the party host with set-up assistance, clean up and more. Various packages are available for up to 20 kids on the website’s party page.
Runner-up: Altitude Trampoline Park, altitudetrampolinepark.com
Best Party for Tumblers
Hold a gymtastic party for the kid of honor at Win Kids. Staff members set up chairs, tables and decorations while a “birthday leader” guides all party guests (ages 1–14) through kid-centered games and activities. Choose between a Gymnastics Party or a Ninja Warrior Party, where both boys and girls can test their warrior grit by completing ninja warrior obstacle courses (led by a “Ninja Party leader”). Party rates start at $299 for up to 15 tumblers. Call early to book your party.
3000 Waketon Road, Flower Mound; 972/355-9988
Runner-up: Achievers Gymnastics, achieversgymnastics.com
Best Sports Party
Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium
Get your birthday kid up and personal with access to the most popular areas of AT&T Stadium, including the field where the Dallas Cowboys play on Sundays. Three packages are offered, with amenities ranging from a custom Dallas Cowboys cake, two-hour room rentals, custom jerseys and a whole lot more. Up to 50 guests can enjoy the spacious Rowdy Room, where kids can do what they do best: play. Packages start at $1,000.
1 AT&T Way, Arlington; 817-892-8687 (TOUR)
Runner-up: Topgolf, topgolf.com/us
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: AquaKids, aquakids.com
Image courtesy of Main Event.