Updated March, 2010
Cupcakes are the new cake! Fave options include Cupcake Royale in Ballard, Capitol Hill, Madrona and West Seattle, Trophy Cupcakes in Wallingford, Bellevue and U-Village and New York Cupcakes at Crossroads Shopping Center.
Ice cream cakes: Simplify life with this two-in-one option, available at Baskin-Robbins’ and Dairy Queen’s various locations. The winner for quality, size and price on birthday cakes: Costco! If you have a big crowd, you can’t beat one of Costco’s customized birthday cakes. Look for the order forms in the bakery and pick up the day of the party in the nearby case.
Bring home the fun
Want to have your party at home, but dread having to entertain all those kids? Consider bringing in entertainment as the highlight of the party. Here are some great local options:
Doug Fleming Jr., a celebrated local children’s recording artist and performer, will come to your home and give a concert. His music has a great beat, and everyone will get up to dance. 206-390-5198.
The Musik Nest. Owner and Kindermusik instructor Rebecca Heib provides exceptional music instruction and musical birthday parties. Her parties have everyone from infants to grandparents enjoying making music together. She offers parties in your home or in her charming Gilman Village studio in Issaquah. 425-427-0984.
The Moonpaper Tent. Sylvan Bourgette and her team of magical ladies provide a truly enchanting experience, either in your home or at her drama and crafts school, located in Seattle. She can bring a dress-up trunk, provide a craft, take your child and friends on a magical imaginative play adventure, and even provide party favors. 206-422-6616.
Dizzy’s Tumblebus. If you have an active child but want a home-based birthday party, consider bringing in the ‘bus. Dizzy’s Tumblebus is a mobile gym on wheels, and they also have a bouncy house that can be set up in your backyard. 425-564-8287.
Great party places
My Gym Bellevue. Located just east of Bellevue’s Crossroads Shopping Center, My Gym Bellevue offers great parties, with lots of great activities. 425-451-1393.
Pump It Up, locations in Kirkland, Lynnwood and Tacoma. Multiple bouncy houses — including one with a giant slide — are always a hit with party guests. Kids get wild — and very dehydrated! — so ask parents to have their child bring a water bottle to fill at water fountains. 1-866-977-5867.
Skyhigh Sports - a Bellevue-based trampoline center. Great birthday party option for tweens and teens who’ll enjoy bouncing as much as younger kids. 425-990-5867,
The Zone Sportsplex, Poulsbo. Poulsbo’s hottest new kid-birthday-party location is a 42,000-square-foot, year-round, climate-controlled, multipurpose sports facility. Birthday party package options can include pizza, time in the batting cage and on the field, and even a field supervisor. 360-697-9663.
Kingsgate Ice Arena, Kirkland. During public skate times on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoons, kids 6–12 skate for just $6 each. Have your guests bring a bicycle helmet. Guests without skates can rent them there for a few dollars. When you are done, zip over to the nearby Pizza Bank restaurant (www.pizzabank.net) for a super pizza or pasta dinner for your guests. 425-821-7133.
Snohomish Indoor Soccer Dome, Snohomish. The Dome features dodge-ball parties and field rentals with a soccer instructor. You can even rent the snack bar and decorate it any way you want! 360-568-6812.
Safeco Field’s Birthday Tours. Safeco Field offers a package to make any mini-Mariners fan’s dreams come true. The package includes a personal guided tour of the field and time in the dugouts. 206-346-4241.
Go, speed racer!
Family Fun Center, Tukwila. Indoor and outdoor fun, including laser tag and go-carts. 425-228-7300, ext. 13.
WhirlyBall, Edmonds. Think “superfast bumper car” combined with basketball, hockey and jai alai. Participants play on teams; this is a great birthday party option for tweens and teens. Packages can include pizzas, drinks and a customized cake from Baskin-Robbins. 425-672-3332.
Samena Club, Bellevue. This club in the Lake Hills neighborhood offers birthday party packages to the public and features an outdoor pool, kiddie wading pool and an indoor pool, complete with playground. 425-746-1160.
Wild Waves, Federal Way. This is the water park your kids go nuts over when you drive past it going south on I-5. 253-661-8000.
Henry Moses Aquatic Center, Renton. Outdoor water fun on slides, in the waves, on a lazy river and more for less than $10 per child. The onsite café offers pizza and hot dogs, and you can also bring your own treats. 425-430-6780
Chism Beach Park, Bellevue. Located at 1175 96th Ave. S.E., this beach park is super-clean, with nearby restrooms, a playground, a safe and shallow swimming area and even super-strict lifeguards from late June to Labor Day. You can reserve portions of the park. 425-452-6914.
Creation Station, Lynnwood. This fantastic crafts store and art studio offers great parties making art from recycled materials. 425-775-7959.
Paint Away Ceramics Studio, Redmond Town Center. 425-861-8388.
Planet Happy Kids and the Queen Mary Tea Room, University District. Combine a visit to an arts and craft class at Planet Happy Kids with a tea party at the Queen Mary Tea Room next door. Both places are wildly popular so make reservations.
Northwest Art Center, Duvall. The art center provides a party with an art project tailored to your child’s age and interests. Options include painting, printmaking and even pottery. 425-788-5900.
Neo Art School, Seattle. Located in Wallingford’s Good Shepherd Center, the school offers parties tailored to your group’s ages and interests. 206-632-2530.
Scratch Patch, Seattle’s Green Lake neighborhood. It’s like an indoor beach covered with more than 150 varieties of sparkling smooth gemstones from around the world. Party guests get to sit down in the stones, dig around and keep their favorites, and enjoy games and snacks. 206-523-6164.
Creatively Yours Ceramic Studio, Bellevue, in the Crossroads Shopping Center. 425-747-2280.
Seattle Children’s Museum, Seattle Center. For busy parents who need a package that offers everything from invitations to party-favor bags, the museum offers its popular “Bonanza” package for as many as 20 children and 20 adults. You just need to show up with food and a cake. 206-441-1768.
KidsQuest Museum, Bellevue’s Factoria Square. This museum is a great choice for toddlers and younger kids, with a large play area just for them and a nearby Red Robin for an easy meal stop before or after the party. 425-637-8100.
Bainbridge Island’s Kids Discovery Museum. 206-855-4650.
Imagine Children’s Museum, Everett. 425-258-1006.
Children’s Museum of Tacoma. 253-627-6031.
Remlinger Farms, Carnation. This family-owned farm and amusement park offers a classic farm experience to guests; private party areas; and fun, old-fashioned rides that include a train, roller coaster and the area’s only flying pumpkins. 425-333-4135.
Cougar Mountain Zoo, Issaquah. Small zoo known for visits with Santa’s reindeer also offers a birthday parties with a special “close encounter” for the birthday child with a zoo animal. 425-392-6278.
Woodland Park Zoo, Seattle. In addition to visiting all of their favorite zoo animals and playing at the indoor play and learning center Zoomazium, party guests will enjoy riding antique carousel horses and celebrating in a renovated private party room starting June 1. 206-548-2500.
Chalet Bowl & 26th Street Café, Tacoma. Rock ‘n Glow birthday parties feature bowling under disco lights, with music, pizza and drinks, and a souvenir bowling pin for the birthday child. 253-752-5200
TechCity Bowl, Kirkland. High tech screens that keep score for you make it easier to have fun bowling. Parents appreciate the “adult food” and coffee options, in addition to pizza for kids. 425-827-0785.
Adventure Bowling Center, Snoqualmie. Eight lanes of old-school bowling, with pizza and arcade games. 425-888-1377.
GameWorks, downtown Seattle at Seventh and Pike. 206-521-0952.
Odyssey-1, Narrows Plaza Shopping Center in Tacoma. 253-566-3233.
Kathleen F. Miller is a Sammamish-based freelance writer and mom of two.