Best Birthday Bash! Editor’s Picks

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It’s about what the birthday kid wants, not the matching napkins and tablecloths. Keep it about your growing birthday kid this year!

(Feature photo provided by The Little Gym of Mason)

Sometimes having the best birthday celebration for your kid means keeping it simple, and making it about them! In the end, all your birthday kid really wants to do is have fun and play with their friends.

No matter what your kid is into, keep it about them! They only turn 3, 4, 5, 6 … once. There are a number of fun, easy and reasonable ways to throw them a birthday party to remember, and sometimes letting the hostess with the mostess do the messy work for you is a nice break. If you’re looking for the best spot to throw the ultimate bash away from home, we have the best local picks right here!

Best Birthday’s for Littles

These places are just right for the littles!

The Little Gym of Mason; thelittlegym.com
Let the birthday kid run, jump and play with their friends throughout the whole facility. With instructor-led games, music and creative LEGO Juniors or LEGO DUPLO building activities, everyone will have a blast! Have a Peppa Pig Fan? They have the perfect Party with Peppa birthday package!
Prices: Awesome Birthday Package starting at $230 for members, $270 for non-members; for up to 15 children (additional children are $10 each, 25 child maximum). Ages 1 – 12
What’s Included: The entire facility to yourself; paper goods; drinks for the kids; two qualified instructors to lead the energetic games and activities in the gym and party room; setup and cleanup; and the option to add on cake and pizza.

EnterTRAINment Junction; entertrainmentjunction.com
Great for little train lovers and the birthday kid who likes a bit of everything. The birthday star and their guests will be enlightened by the world’s largest indoor train display, a fun indoor play area, outdoor kid’s train ride; and add on the Amaze N’ Funhouse if you like! If guests are up for a challenge, you can add on the new Escape the Room challenge package, too (great for older kids).
Prices: Flat Car Package starting at $199 (with food) for up to 16 guests; all ages
What’s Included: Party invitations; party supplies (plates, napkins, utensils, cups, etc).; food (if purchased) that includes slice of cheese pizza or hot dog, bag of chips, drink; engineer hat and scarf for birthday guest; one attraction admission; reserved seating inside patio preview.

Newport Aquarium’s Overnight Adventures with the sharks. Photo provided by Newport Aquarium.

Newport Aquarium; newportaquarium.com
The brand new party room and party packages gives you the option to add on an animal encounter, and meet a penguin! There’s the all-new Reef Room – only steps away from Stingray Hideaway: Enter Their World and Ring of Fire: World of the Octopus! Or try their Overnight Adventures and sleep under the sharks! Next adventure? Shark Summer beginning in June!
Prices: Reef Room package: $499 (up to 20 guests), additional guests $25 per person; or, explore the aquarium for your kid’s birthday, with special group party rates: admission is $19.99 ages 13 and older, $13.99 ages 2 – 12.
What’s Included: Themes include Shark, Mermaid, Pirate or standard; admission to the Newport Aquarium; two-hour exclusive access to the Reef Room; behind the scenes sneak peek; four large pizzas (choice of cheese or pepperoni); unlimited lemonade and water; disposable serveware including plates, cups, napkins and utensils; access to play photo slideshow in the Reef Room; party coordinator; and a special gift for the birthday star!

Jump and Jacks; jumpandjacks.com
Play is unlimited! Tots will love the Playground Package! Feel free to come and go to and from the Toddler Zone and Jack’s Playground where everyone can play. The Party Package is more private and perfect for the older kids; let them jump like crazy on the giant inflatables.
Prices: Starting at $99 for their Friday Night Fun Parties (open to the public; self managed and open to all play areas).
What’s Included: Private room, playground, inflatable, toddler and interactive play time; plates, cups, napkins, utensils; printable invites; bring your own cake and decor; food and drink available; and they clean it up!

Red Balloon Cafe and Play; redballooncafe.com
Plan a fantastic party without all the work! Their fun play area accommodates up to 20 guests, plus if you have a larger or private party, they have a spacious family dining room.
Prices: Starting at $275 for the Basic Party Package during operational hours; up to 15 kids during their regular open play hours ($5 for each additional child).
What’s Included: Includes half hour setup and cleanup time, two hours of exclusive use of their studio and unlimited playroom play; up to two carafes of coffee and/or tea for the grownups, plates, silverware, and tablecloths; they clean it up!

Totter’s Otterville; tottersotterville.com
This imaginative play atmosphere will have your birthday kid feeling independent and in charge! After play, the birthday kid and their guests can sit back, open gifts and eat cake!
Prices: Starting at $14.99 per child; minimum eight kids, maximum 30 kids
What’s Included: Admission for each child and adults; one slice of pizza per child; unlimited beverages for children in room; NEW, birthday kid gets a FREE T-Shirt; party paper products; free return visit pass for birthday kid; party host/hostess for two hours; and one hour of play followed by one hour in the party room.

Puzzle Pieces; puzzlepiecesohio.com
For children with sensory needs, this is the perfect spot for a calm, sensory-friendly birthday. The birthday kid and the friends can play in the in-house sensory room while the hostess with the mostess helps creates a memorable birthday for the birthday kid and their guests.
Prices: Starting at $99 for parties for 1 – 10 guests
What’s Included: One and a half hour party; a party host; tables and chairs; use of the in-house sensory room; and all paper goods.

Photo provided by Pogo Play

Pogo Play; gopogoplay.com
The birthday kid will have all of the active play to their little hearts desire here with unlimited play in all nine different Pogo Play zones after the party! Ages 12 and younger will love the inflatables and energizing play areas.
Prices: Starting at $290 for the Pogo Party; up to 15 children, each additional child $7.50 (16 – 19 children).
What’s Included: Unlimited free play after your party for all of your guests; two party hosts; two hours and 15 minutes in your private party room; 30 minutes use of inflatables; color-coded wristbands; unlimited party supplies; decorate the room with your own special theme; or upgrade to a Palooza Party for pizza or build your own customer menu from Allison’s Café.

Best Parties for Big Kids

These parties add the perfect mix of excitement and challenge for the older birthday kids and their friends!

Cincinnati Museum Center; cincymuseum.org
Choose between a unique-themed party including an Animal, Royal Tea, Dinosaur, Messy Science Party and more! No matter what they choose, the birthday staff will lead the educational activities and demonstrations.
Price: Starting at $200 for members for up to 25 guests; $225 non-members; extra guests $10 per person, up to 10 additional guests. Good for all ages
What’s Included: Day of party admission to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science and Cincinnati History Museum; free parking for party family (one parking voucher); one museum staff member; use of party room for one and a half hours.

Lazer Kraze; lazerkraze.com
Add on the new Hologate Virtual Reality mission – the ultimate four player virtual reality game – at the end of your party to challenge all of your guests, or for the birthday kid and a few special friends. Either way, a party with a thrilling game of laser tag and time spent with friends and family is unforgettable.
Prices: The NEW Laser Tag Bash package starts at $15.95 per guest, minimum 10 players; and for munchkins 12 and younger is the Munchkin Madness Laser Tag party starting at $189, up to 10 munchkins.  
What’s Included: Unlimited fountain drinks (for the paid guests in your party), a private party room, a party coach who assists guests with games, pours drinks and serves food; free birthday shirt for the birthday kid; a free Laser Tag Game Pass for the birthday kid’s next visit and more.

West Chester Academy; westchesteracademy.com
Choose between gymnastics, dance or music theme, and party in-style! Don’t fret, a party specialist will guide whichever theme your birthday kid chooses. Parties are 90 minutes long, and can be scheduled for Saturdays at 3 p.m.; and Sundays at 12:30 or 3 p.m.
Prices: Starting at $179 ($20 discounts for enrolled students); up to 14 friends (add more for a small additional charge).
What’s Included: Invitations; party kid’s name on the marquee sign out by the street; tablecloths and party bags; you provide food, drinks and kids; and they do the cleanup!

Carol Ann’s Carousel Photos Courtesy Cincinnati Park Board & Gary Kessler

Carol Ann’s Carousel; cincinnatiparks.com/carousel
Let your little one feel like royalty for the day! Simple and sweet, the kids can open gifts, celebrate and go for a ride on one of the 44 whimsical Cincinnati-centric characters that make up Carol Ann’s Carousel.
Prices: Starting at $200; 10 guest minimum, each additional guest is $10, up to a maximum of 15 guests.
What’s Included: Online printable Carousel Birthday Party invites; setup that includes two large tables, one small cake table, one small gift table and 18 chairs; tablecloths, cups, plates, napkins and/or utensils with the purchase of a food package; rides for children with birthday party group during designated party hours (each child receives a wristband entry on the Carousel); three tokens for future use for the birthday child plus a gift, a birthday crown or tiara and a birthday bracelet!

Photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden; cincinnatizoo.org
Host a “Zootastic” birthday party at the zoo! Experienced animal ambassadors join in on all of the excitement, too. Parties are held in the zoo’s private Birthday Clubhouse located in Wolf Woods. The birthday kid and their guests will love the animals, face-painters and fun activities! Let the party coordinator take care of all the monkey business!
Prices: Starting at $240 for members; $280 for non-members; additional discounted ticket cost, (adult and child), $10.
What’s Included: 10 admission tickets; one and a half hour clubhouse rental; two Category One animal encounters; animal plush for the birthday kid.

Jump Zone! Florence; jumpzoneparty.com
Kids can let out all of their birthday steam as they climb and jump on massive, themed inflatable slides, race along the obstacle courses, play interactive games, enjoy toddler activities and more!
Prices: Starting at $189 for the small party, 10 Kid Weekend Birthday Party special deal. Limited amount available! What’s Included: A party coordinator to help with setup, cleanup and more; paper plates, cups, napkins and utensils; vivid color invitations or free use our ezinvite party management system; private party room; you bring the cake; and they now have a NEW build-your-own treat bag starting at $3.

Dave and Busters; daveandbusters.com
Hundreds of games, tons of play and delicious bites make this a party powerhouse! Even better, let them take care of the extra work!
Prices: Slam Dunk package starts at $19.99 per person; upgrade to unlimited video game play for $5.
What’s Included: Food that includes their Pick 2 (Kid’s Cheeseburger, Crispy Chicken Bites or Four Cheese Pizza Bites); french fries and unlimited soda; $10 Power Card per person; shared event space; and 300 tickets for the birthday kid!

Photo provided by USA Ninja Challenge Cincinnati

USA Ninja Challenge Cincinnati; ninjacincinnati.com
Pow! Have a little ninja on your hands? This is right up their alley – a place where they can swing, jump, run, climb and have fun doing it in a safe environment, parents! Coaches are there to supervise to ensure the birthday kid and his friends do it right like a real ninja with a perfect mix of organized obstacle runs and supervised free play. This is great for older kids and teens!
Prices: $295 for the birthday ninja and up to 15 guests (including the birthday ninja). Additional guests are $10 each, up to 25 maximum guests. The birthday ninja and all guests must be at least 4 years old.
What’s Included: Party length is one and a half hours with the first hour spent in the gym with a coach, the last half hour is spent in the lobby for refreshments and gifts; table and chair setup; a Ninja Party T-shirt for the birthday ninja; you bring your own food and drinks, cake, decorations, plates and utensils.

The new Dungeon at King Arthur’s Court Toys. Photo provided by King Arthur’s Court

King Arthur’s Court; kingarthurstoys.com
The NEW Dungeon is open! The unique, open play space brings all the fun, including a zip line; plus the birthday kid can add on a magic show or juggler! Let the Court handle all of the small details.
Prices: Starts at $200 for the Throne Room for up to eight guests; add pizza for an additional $75; add a Magic Show or Juggler for $175 for a 30-minute show; add a balloon artist or face painter for $100 for one hour.
What’s Included: Two-hour room rental for The Dungeon any day between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; free gift wrapping.

Scene75; scene75.com
Bowl or take advantage of one of their unique activities like laser tag, arcade games, bouncing and tons more. There is something for every energetic birthday star! package for you. Let the little man of the hour have a blast with his friends, and parents, relax. The hosts will take care of the workload.
Prices: Starting at $299 for the Two Attraction package or the The Pin Deck Bowling Party Package for up to 10 guests ($19 for each additional guest); celebrate on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday before 6 p.m. for a $40 discount on the party package.
What’s Included: Party host, two large cheese or pepperoni pizzas; unlimited soft drinks for paid guests; free Scene 75 T-shirt for the birthday kid; a party gift for all guests to use on future visits; table place setting and paper products.

Gameworks Newport on the Levee; gameworks.com/location/newport
Have more guests than you can count? Gameworks has party rooms that can fit up to 600 guests! With a wide variety of arcade games, and other fun activities like bowling and the new Esports Lounge, there is something for everyone! Be sure to check out their Aquarium Combo packages, too, where the birthday kid can get the best of two worlds at Newport on the Levee!
Prices: Starting at $13 per child, not including taxes (available Monday – Friday); minimum 10 guests.
What’s Included: Cheese and pepperoni pizza, soft drinks and cake; one hour of video game play; and party decorations.

Photo provided by Mayerson JCC

Mayerson JCC; mayersonjcc.org
Whether you’re pumped up birthday star is a sports guru, or he loves the water, there is a special theme including the pool party, sports party, art party and more!
Prices: Members, $300 (up to 20 children); non-members, $350 (up to 20 children); $10 per additional child; a non-refundable deposit of $100 is required to reserve date and time.
What’s Included: One hour of activity, and 30 minutes in the party room for cupcakes and gifts; J staff member to facilitate the party; paper goods; cupcakes and lifeguard if you choose the Pool Party theme. (Lunch food and snacks can be purchased through J Café Catering, mayersonjcc.org/services/catering.)

Main Event; mainevent.com
Let your kid be a Main Event VIP and let the kids go crazy with the fun scavenger hunts as they conquer five thrilling challenges with their friends to win exciting prizes. Need invites? No problem. Browse free invites and spread the word from there.
Prices: Starting price for the Big Blast Party package, $15.95 per person (includes the NEW Scavenger Hunt!)
What’s Included: Two hours of party time; party space; choose your food (pizza, burgers, chicken dippers, mac and cheese or hot dogs); party host; one activity for the kids; $5 FUNcard for the kids; 250 winners choice points for the birthday kid; cups for all the kids; and a free date night certificate good for one hour of bowling, parents!

 

Amanda Hayward is editor of this publication. She is from Cincinnati, Ohio, a military wife and mom of two. If you don't see her writing for Cincinnati Family, you'll find her running, juggling kids, teaching group fitness classes and cooking up healthy recipes.

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