7 Great Birthday Party Places for Preschoolers in New York City
I go to kids birthday parties the way a 20 year old goes out clubbing. Lately it seems like the weekend just isn't complete without hitting at least one kiddy party where my 5 year old can get sugared-up, overstimulated and over-tired. Last weekend we had 4 (yes, in one weekend!) and I've been to over 50 separate preschool birthday parties since my son was a toddler.
From exorbitantly fancy parties with chocolate fountains to the most simple, classic kid parties, I think I've witnessed enough of the (sugar) highs and the tantrummy party lows to qualify as an expert when it comes to birthday party places in New York City. And, although I've never been to a bad party, there are definitely some places that stand out for the way that they handle the kids.
Which birthday party places in NYC rock? (Or got my son's top rating: “I didn’t like this party….I LOVED this party!”)
Here's my list of the best birthday party places in New York City for Preschoolers:
92nd St Y Parties:
Kids just love the giant, colorful, two level jungle gym at the 92nd Street Y. It has a ball pit, plus climbing, swinging and sliding things and room to run. Once kids enter– you don’t see them again until it is time for cake - seriously. The party assistants are amazing at making all the kids feel welcome and keeping things moving. Cake and pizza consumption takes place in a separate party room that parents can decorate. The Y allows you to customize your parties, too, so no two are really alike. My son has been here for a few parties and it is always a huge hit. They also offer sports, swimming and gymnastic parties.
92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue
apple seeds Parties:
When apple seeds first opened my son was invited to a “Jungle” birthday party that was all out fun. It was the first time my son ever thanked the host for inviting him! The entertainment never stopped, they made animal masks, practiced animal yoga and did some dancing and singing in the private party room after they played in the fantastic indoor playground. There were plenty of party helpers who interacted with and led the kids in activities. The whole place was over the top, the birthday cake was personalized and pastry-chef gorgeous. My favorite touch was the décor in the party room: the birthday child’s name spelled out in huge silver helium balloons. The party is a little pricey but if you want a bash with all the bells and whistles for their special day – this is the place to go.
apple seeds, 10 West 25th Street
Creative Dream Parties:
Creative Dream Parties are so off the beaten path that the actual party location is a little hard to find, but you are in for a treat when you do. The space consists of two large rooms allowing hosts to invite kids to a party in one room and adults to a happy hour in the other if they wish. The five helpers (including the owner) kept the kids super busy decorating paper guitars, rocking out at a dance party with lots of bubbles, playing old school party games like duck, duck, goose and their own Creative Dreams specialty, “bubble wrap freeze dance”, where the kids danced and jumped on the floor covered with bubble wrap until the music turns off. They even did rock star make-overs on all the kids, my son left the party with a tiny Setzer-esque pompadour and his friend, cool, glow-in-the-dark spiked hair.
Creative Dream Parties, 25 Waterside Plaza
Children's Museum of the Arts Parties:
The Children’s Museum of the Arts is an awesome place and the parties here are even better. Over the years my son has been invited to quite a few parties here and each one was unique. All the parties took the kids through the various exhibits in the museum: painting, smooshy goop to play with, a sticky wall for making collages and others. The children are eventually directed downstairs to the party room for breakfast, lunch or cake, more art projects and fun with dress up or experimenting with TV and a green screen. The highlight, though, for most kids is going into the super cool ball pit. This ball pit has giant, kid sized balls to play with, jump on, crawl over and bounce off.
Children’s Museum of the Arts, 182 Lafayette Street
New York Kids Club Parties:
The facilities at New York Kids Club are top notch and the parties are very exciting, but, the party hosts here are amazing! They seriously could be on a stage instead of playing with children. At each party we have attended here the party hosts sang and danced with the kids as well as led them around the various stations of the indoor gym. The kids get to walk on balance beams, climb the rock wall, try out the parallel bars, or dance in the dark with a disco ball. Then they escort them into the party rooms and serve the pizza and cake, take photographs and distribute party favors and balloons. I bet they even clean up afterward.
New York Kids Club, Locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn
Astoria Sports Complex Parties:
My son got invited to an awesome action packed birthday party at the Astoria Sports Complex in Queens. Before the party the birthday child was able choose two sports from the many they offer: indoor soccer on a full size field, swimming, baseball or the bouncy room. The bouncy room is a great time. It includes a bouncy castle and a huge 10 foot high bouncy slide (there is no place in Manhattan where this could ever fit!) The owner of the complex was at the party snapping photos and uploading them to a screen for us all to watch during lunch and even gave hosts a CD of all of them. After all the running and jumping the guests are brought to the balcony area for cake and pizza. The birthday child presides over the party from a birthday throne and is immortalized on the birthday wall.
Astoria Sports Complex, 3438 38th Street, Long Island City
Victorian Gardens Parties:
Victorian Gardens is the perfect birthday party venue, it is outside so the kids can go crazy and all the rides are perfectly sized so they can ride everything all by themselves. The only hard thing here is trying to get them to stop and gather back at the VIP tent for cake. Last summer my son attended a party here and he had a fantastic time.
Victorian Gardens, Wollman Rink, Central Park
Looking for more birthday party ideas? Check out the Mommy Poppins Birthday Guide.