Best for Families: Kids Parties 2015

The Editors
September 2015 in
DallasChild, FortWorthChild, NorthTexasChild
August 31, 2015
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At DallasChild, FortWorthChild and NorthTexasChild, we like to party. This year we decided to take our penchant for parties to a whole new level by introducing our inaugural Best for Families: Kids Parties awards. We polled you on your favorite party places, and then we tallied up the results. From the Best Party Venue for Animal Lovers to the Best Party Place for Fun and Games, you’ll find the best of the best when it comes to kids parties. Read on, and get planning.

Best Party Place for the 5 and Under Crowd

DallasChild and FortWorthChild Winner: Pump It Up
Pump It Up touts itself as the premier destination for kids birthday parties, and according to local parents, it’s with good reason. Play areas filled with gigantic inflatables make this jumping haven a favorite for energetic littles, and multiple packages for parties big and small make it a go-to for no-fuss parents. Customize your party package with optional themes and add-ons, such as bubbles or a Superhero Training Camp experience, and create and print invitations on the website in minutes. Parties can be booked online. Packages start at $129.
Multiple locations;

NorthTexasChild Winner: Cosmic Jump Trampoline Entertainment Center
With over 15,000 square feet of trampolines and specialized party packages for kids under 7 years old, it’s no wonder Cosmic Jump is a popular party destination for energetic littles and no-fuss parents. Party in the pink or blue room and choose from Classic or VIP party packages. Packages start at $13 per guest with additional add-ons available, such as invitations and food and beverages. Parties can be booked online.
Lewisville, 972/315-0234

Best Movie Theater for a Party

DallasChild, FortWorthChild and NorthTexasChild Winner: Studio Movie Grill
Movie night birthday parties no longer require you to be vacuuming up popcorn kernels from your couch cushions for weeks. With three party packages that include various snack, meal and drink options, your mini movie buffs can ooh and aah at the big screen while Studio Movie Grill is on snack duty. Bring 20 of the birthday honoree’s closest friends, starting at $5 per kid, plus the cost of movie tickets. Party packages are not exclusive to certain movies or showtimes, meaning parties can easily be planned for the flick and time most convenient for you and your birthday boy or girl.
Multiple locations;

Best Party Venue for the Artistically Inclined

DallasChild, FortWorthChild and NorthTexasChild Winner: Painting with A Twist
Foster your kiddo’s artistic inclination at Painting with a Twist, where kids can explore their inner Renoir under the guidance of a resident artist. No need to be a mini Monet for this shindig; all art supplies and an instructor are included with every party so each kid can paint his or her own masterpiece to take home. After your painting lesson, spend 30 minutes in a private party room eating snacks or cake and opening presents. Bring your own food, drinks and decorations; they’ll take care of the rest. Packages start at $35 per person and vary by location.
Multiple locations;

Best Party Venue for Animal Lovers

DallasChild Winner: Dallas Zoo
We’ll admit, hiring a mobile petting zoo or an exotic animal educator to come to your house is pretty cool, but nothing tops being able to explore an entire food chain in one place during a party at the Dallas Zoo. Purchase the Zoofari Birthday Party Package, featuring access to the Lacerte Family Children’s Zoo party room and a private animal interaction led by two ambassadors for $425 for members and $475 for nonmembers. Spend the rest of excursion roaming the grounds on your own schedule. An even looser itinerary option, the Zoo-It-Your-Way Birthday program, offers group discounts for 20 or more tickets at $7 per kid and $10 per adult and lets you lead your own safari on a daylong adventure.
Dallas, 469/554-7500

FortWorthChild and NorthTexasChild Winner: Fort Worth Zoo
Wildlife games, animal outreach presentations and face time with real critters make Fort Worth Zoo the best place for your animal lover to celebrate his big day. Host up to 30 party guests in a private room in the zoo’s Education Center, or during the summer months, let them get wet and wild at the zoo’s newest attraction, Safari Splash, with catering and private cabanas. Both packages include all-day admission as well as a special gift and T-shirt for the birthday child. Parties are for children ages 1–12. Zoo parties begin at $400 and are offered throughout the year; Animal Outreach Presentation is an additional $150; Safari Splash parties begin at $550 and run through October 4.
Fort Worth, 817/759-7555 

Best Party Venue for Nature Lovers

DallasChild Winner: Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
A botanical respite in the middle of urban Dallas, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden provides an idyllic backdrop for a nature lover’s dream party. From the Pumpkin Village in the fall to the spectacular Dallas Blooms display in the spring, there’s always a picture-perfect setting for your party. The Arboretum doesn’t officially book children’s parties, but families are welcome to bring picnics and birthday cakes (just steer clear of balloons, balls and open-flames) to enjoy in the picnic area. Groups of 15 or more qualify for reduced admission: $13 per adult and $9 per child, plus $3 admission to the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. The 8-acre Children’s Adventure Garden by the main entrance is the ideal place to set up camp for your little nature lover’s special day.
Dallas, 214/515-6615

Best Party Spot for Science Lovers

DallasChild and NorthTexasChild Winner: Perot Museum of Nature and Science
Based on your votes, it’s a proven fact (not a theory) that the Perot Museum of Nature and Science has a formula to its growing success as a birthday party hot spot. And with specific party themes for explorers ages 1–6 and 6–12, we can’t think of a better place to celebrate. Our favorite theme? The Portable Universe Planetarium Party featuring a virtual tour to the moon with Big Bird. Did we mention that party guests are granted access to all 11 exhibit halls? Members $260–$325; nonmembers $300–$375.
Dallas, 214/756-5764

FortWorthChild Winner: Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
Ballots were cast and readers declared the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History the place for pint-sized scientists to party. And there’s no denying your littles will receive a fun and educational experience when they host their birthday here. Party packages include everything from all-day admission to the museum’s permanent exhibit galleries (for up to 30 guests), to a private studio space and a T-shirt for the birthday boy or girl for $350 for members and $380 for nonmembers. Add pizza, punch and a visit from the museum’s mascot, Dynamo, for an even more memorable day.
Fort Worth, 817/255-9300

Best Party Venue for History Lovers

DallasChild Winner (Tie): Frontiers of Flight Museum
Have a flight fanatic in your family? Little history lovers will feel first-class with a party at the Frontiers of Flight Museum, which has more than 30 aircraft and space vehicles in its collection (think: a full-size model of the 1903 Wright Flyer and the a reproduction of the Soviet Union’s Sputnik I). Choose between The Hutchison Family Birthday Party Hanger or Coca-Cola Café to host your bash, which includes an in-flight movie in the Jay Jay Theater, a visit through the Wind Tunnel Lab to learn about aerodynamics and a trip to the control tower for a shot at air traffic controlling. Members $115–$170; nonmembers $140–$200.
Dallas, 214/350-3600
DallasChild (Tie) and FortWorthChild Winner: Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
We’d like to think a birthday is reason enough to eat with our hands, but traveling back in time to an 11th century-style castle seems a great excuse also. Dig in to authentic eats when you and your guests party like kings and queens for your child’s birthday at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. History-loving kids will marvel at the costumes, language and jousting games, all typical of the era. Receive royal treatment with a special birthday announcement during the live show, a group photo, cheering banner, sweet slice of cake and a souvenir castle cup. Round out the night by being knighted by the king himself. The Birthday Package is $7 per person and may be added to any group reservation of 10 or more.
Dallas, 214/761-1801

NorthTexasChild Winner: Grapevine Vintage Railroad
A clear favorite, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad won in two categories for several reasons, but the option to party aboard 1920s Victorian-style coaches with friends and family might just be the best. Fans of the Wild West celebrate their birthdays in style on a one-hour excursion at this authentic establishment. Older kids can enjoy longer trips, which are available at full price on select days. While there are no specific party packages, groups of 12 or more are eligible for group rates ranging from $13–$23 per person, and private coach or cab rides can be reserved, depending on availability. Online group reservations are available.
Grapevine, 817/410-3185

Best Venue for a Frilly Fete

DallasChild, FortWorthChild and NorthTexasChild Winner: American Girl
What do little girls love more than playing dolls and tea parties? Playing dolls and tea parties with all their friends while enjoying delicious pink and white cake, of course!
American Girl Dallas offers 90-minute birthday packages for girls 3 and up including invitations and thank-you notes, starting at $22 per kid and $19 per adult. All parties feature a meal in the Bistro or in a private dining area and various craft projects such as doll tiaras and chef hats. Girls are encouraged to bring their dolls for all party packages and the birthday girl receives a special keepsake.
Dallas, 877/247-5223

Best Spot for a Sports Party

DallasChild Winner: TopGolf
TopGolf’s easy, one-size-fits-all kids party package makes planning a breeze, allowing you to focus on keeping up with your mini Jordan Spieth. For $25 per child, your birthday boy or girl and friends will get two hours of play time with golf clubs, catered meals and drinks from the kids menu, and a host to help you figure out those tricky computers. For every six guests, you’ll get one private seating area, called a bay, with no maximum number of guests. Bonus: no previous golf experience needed. In fact, we think it’s more fun without.
Multiple locations;

FortWorthChild Winner: Globe Life Park in Arlington
Combine baseball, video games, an indoor jungle gym and cake for a birthday your future Texas Ranger will never forget. While Globe Life Park in Arlington technically offers three distinct party packages, you can mix and match all party options to fit your own needs. Parties include a customized tour where your baseball buff chooses how he or she wants to spend the party. Eat hot dogs behind home plate or order pizza to eat on the highest row of the stadium. Don’t miss Kid’s Zone with its miniature rock climbing wall, jungle gym, air guns and video games. Refuel with birthday cake brought from home in a party room. Packages start at $5 per child and $12 per adult.
Arlington, 817/273-5224

NorthTexasChild Winner: AT&T Stadium
Looking for a party that’s just as appealing to your aspiring quarterback or cheerleader as it is for grown-up Dallas Cowboys fans? AT&T Stadium offers three birthday party packages that all include either a self-guided tour at your own pace or a VIP guided tour with behind-the-scenes access. They’ll take care of a group photo on the field, a personalized cake, tables, chairs, plates and flatware and you’re free to bring pizza, drinks and party supplies for your two-hour party room rental. Add-ons include personalized jerseys, Cowboys Pro Shop gift cards and a personalized Cowboys football. Packages start at $600 for 20 people.

Best Place for Swimming Parties

DallasChild Winner: Emler Swim School
Emler Swim Schools have been making frequent appearances in our Best for Families awards for years. In addition to swim classes and programs, their four Dallas-area locations have all the necessary elements for a splashing good party. You can rest easy with customized party invitations, up to 30 guests for one fixed price of $300 and two lifeguards on duty during all birthday parties. Moms who don’t want to give up the all the fun of throwing a soiree can customize the event by bringing decorations, pool toys, food and cake.
Multiple locations;

FortWorthChild Winner: The Keller Pointe
For a splashing good time, The Keller Pointe offers indoor and outdoor pool parties with full access to zero-entry splash pads perfect for toddlers, a current pool, twisty slides and a playground. All parties include hour-long use of a party room or pavilion, cake and ice cream, punch, favors and a staff assistant. Party upgrades include “Big Squirt” water toys, ice cream cake, snacks and pizza. Both members and nonmembers can book parties in the lifeguarded pools for $165 for 10 guests. The best part? Your little swimmers can stay splashing during all open swim hours, meaning there’s no need to end your party at a certain time.
Keller, 817/743-4386

NorthTexasChild Winner: AquaKids
You love the custom online invitations and private pool party atmosphere with certified lifeguards. Your little swimmers love splashing with their 20 closest friends and sliding down the giant waterslides. Bring your own birthday cake, snacks and decorations for 45 minutes in a party room before or after 75 minutes of private swim time, broken up however you choose. No need to bring the goggles and noodles — AquaKids has oodles of toys and lifejackets for your party. With the AquaKids lifeguards helping with set-up and cleanup duty, you are free to splash around with the kids. Adults swim free. Two-hour parties cost $195 for members and $220 for nonmembers.
Flower Mound, 972/724-1528

Best Birthday Party for Thrill Seekers

DallasChild Winner: iFLY Indoor Skydiving
If your little thrill seeker is ready for some skydiving, but you’re not, iFLY is a great compromise. A newer addition to the area, iFLY offers multiple party packages and customizable options for ages 3 (yes, 3!) and up starting at $54.95 per flier plus $150 per hour to rent a private party room. For the novice planner (or mom who’s planned one too many parties in her day), an onsite party coordinator will take the pressure off and help you book a private room and select party favors, catering options and a customized cake. Come party time, the little daredevils will receive a comprehensive training session with safety equipment and what we think is one of the best perks: a DVD of their high-flying antics.
Frisco, 214/618-4359
FortWorthChild and NorthTexasChild Winner: Six Flags Over Texas
With dozens of rides and attractions, Six Flags has tons to do for the most timid and the most daring adventurists. Your birthday boy or girl can fly high in the Gunslinger, free fall on Mr. Freeze and get splashed by the Roaring Rapids with his or her closest friends for discounted group admission at Six Flags Over Texas. Rather than offering typical party packages, the park allows groups of 10–14 to enter for $41.99 per person and groups of 15 or more for $34.99 per person. When your little thrill seekers need to refuel, stop by the Picnic Pavilions just outside the park (be sure to get your hand stamped for re-entry) for snacks and cake brought from home. Picnic Pavilions are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Arlington, 817/640-8900

Best Jump Park for a Party

DallasChild Winner: JumpStreet Indoor Trampoline Park
Take a break from being the weary trampoline chaperone and celebrate your kid kangaroo’s birthday at a JumpStreet Indoor Trampoline Park. You’ll get more than just jump time here. Partygoers receive access to mechanical bulls, foam pits and even trampoline dodgeball. Order a pizza and cake with your party package and kick back while your party coordinator does the rest. They’ll even corral the kids come time for food and clean up the mess when it’s over. (See you later, dirty dishes.) For an extra bounce, ask about hosting an “overnight lock-down.” You don’t see that every day — er, night. Price ranges from $15–$20 for 20–30 people. Additional jumpers may be added to your party package. Details vary by location.
Multiple locations;

FortWorthChild Winner: Urban Air Trampoline Park
At Urban Air Trampoline Park, bouncing off the walls is a good thing. But it’s more than an ideal spot for energetic kids; the park’s exceptional birthday party offerings are what make it a winner in our book. The Southlake location boasts a new, giant Urban Warrior course that’s bound to keep kids moving once the post-sugar rush sets in. Choose a classic party package with all the goods included (tableware, balloons, etc.) or turn off the lights and brighten things up with a glow party — think: lasers, strobes and black lights during glow-in-the-dark dodgeball and kid-friendly tunes. Packages start at $175 for up to 10 jumpers.
Mansfield, 800/960-4778
Southlake, 817/203-8686

Best Spot for a Bowling Party

DallasChild Winner: Strikz Entertainment
You won’t strike out when you purchase the Bowling Thunder party package at Strikz Entertainment. Ten guests can bowl on two lanes for an hour before they explore the arcade with pre-loaded game cards. (The lucky birthday guest gets an extra $10.) Shoe rentals, pizzas, pitchers of soda and party supplies are all included. When you’re ready to cut the cake, a personal attendant will assist you in the party room for 45 minutes. Upgrade to the Thunder & Lightning package to add laser tag to your itinerary.
Frisco, 972/668-5263

FortWorthChild Winner: Alley Cats Entertainment
It’s no doubt that the option to host the ever popular glow bowling party at Alley Cats Entertainment is what makes this all-ages destination different — and a winner among our readers. Each birthday party package here includes laser tag and options to add rock climbing, batting cage play and putt-putt golf. That’s a lot of options. But save some of your competitive spirit for the arcade, as each partygoer will receive prize tickets and a $10–$20 Fun Card.
Arlington, 817/784-2695

NorthTexasChild Winner: AMF Lewisville Lanes
Online party booking at AMF Lewisville Lanes means you’ll be ready to roll when it’s time for your child’s birthday. Choose from three different party packages: Unbelieva-bowl, Unstoppa-bowl and Remarka-bowl. Add partyware, a $5 gift certificate for each child, a bowling pin for signing and even an ice cream station for an additional fee. All parties include shoe rental and food and drink options. If parents want in on the action, you’ll find an option to accommodate them too. Prices start at $14.99 per child.
Lewisville, 972/436-6575

Best Party Place for Fun and Games

DallasChild, FortWorthChild and NorthTexasChild Winner: Main Event
Can’t decide between hosting an arcade, bowling, miniature golf or laser tag birthday party? At Main Event, you won’t have to settle for one or the other. Party packages at this all-in-one locale have options to add as many activities as your littles (48 inches and taller) can handle, as well as access to kid-friendly eats like hot dogs, burgers and pepperoni or cheese pizza. Don’t forget to BYOC (bring your own cake) and scoop out an extra surprise by purchasing gelato for each guest. The icing on the cake for busy parents? An option for online booking. Packages vary by location and range from $13.95 to $19.95 per kid, and all supplies such as balloons and silverware are included.
Multiple locations;

Best Birthday Party on Wheels

DallasChild and FortWorthChild Winner: GameTruck
Tired of kids fighting over controllers with their friends? Fire up the friendly competition for a GameTruck party. You’ll save yourself the hassle of coming up with game ideas and move the party outside (less mess, hello!) when this mobile video game provider rolls up to your house. If kids are tired of their at-home selection of games they’ll go crazy over this climate-controlled truck, equipped with more than 90 games, including laser tag. Choose from Xbox 1, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Wii U or connect to Wi-Fi for games such as Minecraft. Step under the 10-foot awning and enjoy exterior TVs for dancing games in rain or shine. Don’t worry if you’re stuck on a level; expert GameCoaches are always on call. Details vary by truck. Prices start at $330–$350 for two hours.
DFW Area, 888/602-4263

NorthTexasChild Winner: Grapevine Vintage Railroad
A clear favorite, the Grapevine Vintage Railroad won in two categories for several reasons, but the option to party aboard 1920s Victorian-style coaches with friends and family might just be the best. Fans of the Wild West celebrate their birthdays in style on a one-hour excursion at this authentic establishment. Older kids can enjoy longer trips, which are available at full price on select days. While there are no specific party packages, groups of 12 or more are eligible for group rates ranging from $13–$23 per person, and private coach or cab rides can be reserved, depending on availability. Online group reservations are available.
Grapevine, 817/410-3185

Published September 2015


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