Hosting a swimming birthday party in the dead of winter is certainly a decadent way to celebrate. Kids rip off their coats, jump in their bathing suits, hit in the water and get an instant taste of summer fun, regardless of the season. Though we've written about ways to host a summer urban pool party and shared our favorite outdoor NYC public pools, this is the first time we've tackled the topic off-season.
Luckily, there are eight indoor pools in NYC that offer party packages to the general public. These indoor swimming parties are also a great option in the summer since the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation pools don't offer birthday packages and have a long list of strictly enforced rules.
Asphalt Green – Battery Park City
212 North End Avenue
Children ages 5 and up can splash around in the shallow end as swim instructors lead them in age-appropriate activities and games. Afterward, hit a private decorated party room for refreshments. Add-ons include pizza, cake, additional hosts and goody bags.
92nd Street Y – Upper East Side
1395 Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
The 92nd Street Y offers parties for children ages 6 and up in a private section of its 25-yard pool. A lifeguard supervises free swim or, if you prefer, leads water games and activities. Finish up in the party room with food, cake or whatever refreshments you provide.
New York Sports Club – Manhattan and the Bronx
Select NYSC locations offer swim parties for children ages 4 and up. Guests can enjoy free swim or organized water games. Noodles, kickboards, pool toys, invitations, a private room and host are included. The real trick here is figuring our which NYSC outposts host these parties.
Astoria Sports Complex – Astoria
34-38 38th Street between 34th and 35th Avenues
At the popular Queens athletics center, kids can choose two party activities, including soccer, basketball, batting cages, inflatables or swimming in the heated pool. The basic two-and-a-half hour package includes a host, invitations, music, paper goods, pizza and beverages for the kids, goodie bags and a special gift for the birthday child.
Bronx House – Bronxdale
990 Pelham Parkway South at Hone Avenue
Our Bronx writer, Sonia, has been to a couple of pool parties here and just raved about them. Packages are for children ages 1 to 10 and include an hour in the water with a lifeguard followed by an hour in a private party room. Parents supply everything else—cake, food, paper goods and decorations.
Brooklyn Sports Club – East New York
1540 Van Siclen Avenue between Schroeders and Seaview Avenues
This pool offers a basic Splash Party, 45 minutes in the the training pool and a half hour in the club room for pizza and cake. A lifeguard will lead a variety of water games like hoops, ring toss and an obstacle course, and two hosts, decorations, paper goods and food are included. Want more time in the pool? A 2 ½-hour party is also offered.
Imagine Swimming – Tribeca
40 Harrison Street between Greenwich and West Streets
We've recommended Imagine Swimming lessons in the past. But the NYC-based program also hosts birthday parties at its flagship Tribeca location for children ages 3 and up. All packages include a 3:1 child-to-instructor ratio in the pool and party room, plus a party host. Staff will handle all set up and clean up, too. Parties are held on weekends from 3-5pm.
YMCA – Citywide
While every location has different kinds of facility rentals, it's worth calling your local Y to see if a pool party is an option. You can also just browse the pool schedule and if you see times blocked out for parties, well, there's your answer. Even if your Y offers pool rental, chances are you'll be doing everything else yourself, including providing food, decorations and cake.
Not near any of the pools listed above? If you know of a private pool in your area, at a gym or a hotel, it's worth inquiring whether you can rent it for a few hours. You never know! And if you're willing to travel, most indoor water parks near NYC offer amazing birthday party packages.
For more birthday ideas, check out our NYC Party Guide.
This post originally published in March 2013.