Birthdays | Outings + Activities

Beyond Bounce Houses: Great Birthday Party Spots for Older Kids and Tweens

Bubble soccer, zip tours, glass-blowing, trapeze arts and more party ideas for the been-there, done-that set

Bubble soccer, flickr CC, John Loo

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. (Find many more ideas on ParentMap's birthdays directory, or at our listings of Golden Teddy reader awards for birthdays.)

1. Bash into bubble soccer

Parties are about having a ball. A bubble soccer party at Snohomish Sports Institute is about being a ball. Up to 30 kids (ages 5 and up) play indoor soccer in teams of five while wearing giant inflatable ball suits. The 90-minute party includes a referee, equipment and a party room.

Good to know: Each player must register online before the party.
Cost: $350 for up to 30 players 
Address: 1820 Bickford Ave., Snohomish

DIY bubble soccer: Do you have a big yard or access to a large field? Bubble Soccer USA can bring 10 inflatable suits and a referee to you. Up to 15 people can play for one hour, for $300.

2. 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 child.

Good to know: You must have at least nine racers for weekend parties (eight for weekdays), 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: $44 per person
Address: 2207 N.E. Bel-Red Road, Redmond

3. Catch a flying trapeze

Celebrate with the greatest of ease at Emerald City Trapeze Seattle in Seattle. The birthday child and up to 11 guests (ages 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 

4. 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) and will complete challenges and answer 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 five

5. Play zombie detective

For the budding Sherlock Holmes who also has a thing for zombies, book a room escape party with Room Escape Adventures in Seattle. Your group (ages 8 and up) must stay away from the zombie and solve hidden clues to get out of the locked room in under an hour.

Good to know: You’ll need two adults at the party, and if you want to be the only group in the room, reserve an entire session by purchasing 12 tickets.

Cost: $28.89 per person
Address: 2412 Second Ave., Seattle

More puzzles: Prefer trains to zombies? Try Conundroom in Redmond instead. $180 for 8 players, ages 10 and older

6. Create glass art

Looking for the hottest party around? At Seattle Glassblowing Studio, your child and up to four friends (ages 5 and up) 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: $395 (a 15-percent gratuity is added for parties of four or more)
Address: 2227 Fifth Ave., Seattle

7. 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: 25 to 50 cents per game
Address: 916 S. Third Street, Renton 

Courtesy Bellevue Zip Tour
Courtesy Bellevue Zip Tour

8. 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 linetour in Bellevue's Eastgate Park. Up to eight riders (ages 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 14. Each adult may supervise a maximum of two kids. There are no tandem harnesses; each rider travels alone.

Cost: Youth (ages 9–17), $49 each; adults (18 and older), $78 each
Address: 14500 SE Newport Way, Bellevue

More zip: Canopy Tours NW operates zip lines on Camano Island. For $570, up to 10 people can ride six zip lines. There’s no minimum age, but riders must weigh at least 65 pounds and be 48 inches tall, and must be accompanied by an adult if they are under 13.

9. 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, so you might want to bring your own (size 5). No soccer cleats are allowed on the course.

Cost: $13 for adults, $9 for juniors (under 18)
Address: 15801 N.E. 15th St., Bellevue

More footgolf: Jefferson Park Golf Club and Foster Golf Links also have footgolf courses.

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