Does your 9-year-old want an artsy birthday bash but is bored with painting ceramics? Has your athletic 11-year-old outgrown bounce houses? From glass-blowing to go karts, here are some inspired party options for older kids and tweens in the Greater Seattle area.
1. Race on the go-kart speedway
For a very fast ride, try go-kart racing. A party at K1 Speed in Redmond includes a 12-lap qualifying race, a 12-lap final race, medals for the winners and a T-shirt for the birthday guest of honor.
Good to know: You must have at least eight racers for parties, and although there is no minimum age requirement, kids must be at least 48 inches tall. Adults and kids may not race at the same time.
Cost: Prices start at $40 per person
Address: 2207 N.E. Bel-Red Rd., Redmond
2. Catch a flying trapeze
Celebrate with the greatest of ease at Emerald City Trapeze Seattle. The birthday child and up to 11 guests (age 6 and up) will learn trapeze basics, including hanging by the knees and trying a catch. Parties include two hours of trapeze time, plus a seating area for refreshments.
Cost: $450 for eight participants, $50 for each additional flyer, maximum 12
Address: 2702 Sixth Ave. S., Seattle
3. Navigate the city
Not a fan of heights? Take the celebration to the streets of Seattle for a scavenger hunt with Urban Adventure Quest. Following a map and a series of clues on your smartphone, your party will travel from Seattle Center to downtown (via the Monorail and by foot), completing challenges and answering trivia questions along the way.
Good to know: Set aside two to three hours, and plan on walking 2 miles.
Cost: $49 per team of 2–5 people
4. Try an escape room
For your thrill-seeking kid, book a room escape party with Conundroom in Redmond. Your group (participants must be age 10 or older) have the option of choosing one of multiple adventures, including Express: Stop the Train; Mona Lisa Heist; and School of Magic
Good to know: If your kids are 11 or under, you’ll need at least one adult at the party and that supervising adult is free to attend. Regardless of the number of players, there will only ever be one group in the game.
Cost: $29 per person
Address: 8250 165th Ave N.E. #208., Redmond
More escape rooms: Escape Ninja is yet another great option and is based in Seattle.
5. Create glass art
Looking for the hottest party around? At Seattle Glassblowing Studio, your child and up to four friends (age 5 and up, with the option to add two more friends by contacting the studio directly) will work with an instructor to create blown-glass masterpieces, such as an ornament or a sea float.
Good to know: The studio has an area for refreshments, but it’s near the glassblowing area, so you may want to leave the ice cream at home.
Cost: Rates start at $275 (plus a 15-percent gratuity added for parties of four or more).
Address: 2227 Fifth Ave., Seattle
6. Get your (vintage) game on
If your tween loves screen time, bring the party to 8-Bit Arcade, an old-school video arcade in Renton (think Tetris, Super Mario Bros., Pac-Man, pinball, etc.). After the quarters run out, head to the nearby cupcake shop (Common Ground Coffee & Cupcakes) to end the party on a sweet note.
Good to know: No private party room is available, but if you call ahead you may be able to reserve the outdoor patio or the tabletop game area.
Cost: $0.25 to $0.50 cents per game
Address: 916 S. Third St., Renton
7. Zip through the forest
For another aerial adventure with a bit more speed (and scenery), take the party on the Bellevue Zip Tour, a zip-line tour in Bellevue's Eastgate Park. Guests age 9 and up will zoom through the forest on a series of zip lines high above Bellevue.
Good to know: Riders must weigh at least 60 pounds and be accompanied by an adult if they are younger than 17. Each adult may supervise a maximum of two kids. There are no tandem harnesses; each rider travels alone.
Cost: Youth (ages 9–17), $70 each; adults (18 and older), $85 each
Address: 14500 S.E. Newport Way, Bellevue
More zip: Canopy Tours NW operates zip lines on Camano Island. There’s no minimum age, but riders must weigh at least 65 pounds, be at least 48 inches tall, and must be accompanied by an adult if they are under 13. Prices for kids start at $65 per person.
8. Have a kickin' time at footgolf
For a more dignified variation on soccer than the bubble kind, book a round of footgolf at Crossroads Par-3 Golf Course. Like golf, the goal is to get a soccer ball into the (21-inch) cup in the fewest kicks. Four people play each hole, but shotgun starts are allowed for larger groups.
Good to know: The course has limited balls for rent ($3), so you might want to bring your own (size 5). No soccer cleats are allowed on the course.
Cost: $14 for adults, $10 for juniors (under 18) for unlimited play
Address: 15801 N.E. 15th St., Bellevue
9. Try a virtual arcade
Good to know: The standard Portal party includes 10 VR booths reserved for up to 20 people, but you can also reserve Portal all to yourself with special pricing (contact directly to inquire).
Cost: Party bookings start at $350.
Address: 2601 N.W. Market St., Seattle | 2105 140th Ave. N.E., Bellevue
10. Bounce over to a trampoline park
Seattle’s newest indoor trampoline park, Flying Circus Extreme Air Sports, offers 53,000 square feet of trampolines, foam pits and "American Ninja Warrior"-style obstacle courses.
Good to know: There are no posted age restrictions for the jumping activities, so parents should monitor kids and decide if a particular jumping activity is too dangerous for their child. That said, there are Flying Circus staff members on hand throughout the jumping space to ensure that jumpers stay safe.
Cost: Rates start at $325 for 10 jumpers.
Address: 455 Andover Park E. in Tukwila
Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2016 and updated most recently for 2019.