Birthday parties have morphed into an entity all their own. Each year's celebration has to be bigger and better than the last, but where to start?
Don’t worry—we’ve rounded up some of Long Island’s best venues for parties to please a variety of kids, from divas and princesses to tumbling tots and animal enthusiasts. These places make party planning easy, and almost all include a host, setup and cleanup, food, and other essentials. The only hard part is picking just one!
Be sure to check out our Birthday Party Guide for Long Island Kids for even more tips on planning the perfect party for your child. It has ideas specific to first birthdays, toddlers, active kids, and more.
Active Kidz Long Island — Jericho
Primarily billed as a party space, Active Kidz has a number of attractions to customize your birthday party experience. Attractions include an adventure maze, laser tag, inflatables, toddler center, ball pit/cannon area, a rock climbing wall and ninja warrior course.
Center for Science Teaching & Learning — Rockville Centre
Get hands-on time with exotic animals at this nature preserve nestled next to a picturesque pond. Kids can choose to make slime, a fossil, or a foam flyer, tour the on-site zoo and indoor animal exhibit, excavate dinosaur bones, take a hike, or make smile and goo. Packages include two or three activities, private use of the party room, hosts, invitations and paper goods, pizza and beverages, goody bags and more. Note: The Amazing Animal Exhibit reopens in spring 2019.
Momo's Clubhouse — Syosset
Birthday packages include playtime on the three-tiered jungle gym. Momo's Clubhouse offers two dedicated party rooms and plenty of ways to customize your kid's birthday party wishes with add-ons such as a photo booth, party favors, temporary tattoos, face painting, and even manicures. There is also a separate area for crawlers to play safely, as well as plenty of interactive toys, pretend play areas, and games to engage little hands and big imaginations. Bonus: It only hosts one party at a time.
Long Island Children's Museum — Garden City
Kids ages 5 and younger can choose to party in the TotSpot gallery (including a bubble gallery and a lighthouse, train station, grocery store, and post office for role-playing); have a Messy Merriment party (think slime, oobleck and mud); or enjoy a quieter gathering with stories and crafts. Kids older than 5 can choose from a variety of themes, including Bubblemania, Treasure Trove, Weird Science and Spy School. Each party includes 90 to 120 minutes in the museum, staff guides, invitations, paper goods and a T-shirt for the party child, setup, and cleanup. Partygoers also get a two-for-one free admission pass in their goody bags so the fun can continue another day.
Once Upon a Treetop — Plainview
Exploration meets imagination at this whimsical play space for kids ages 1–10. Kids can climb, slide, jump, and crawl through a multilevel padded "tree house" or ride pedal cars, bikes, and other toys through the mini village, which includes a pretend fire house, pizzeria, construction site, and puppy store. Parties include an hour of play, pizza and juice, paper goods, and water bottle favors. Themes include Treetop Crafts, Stuff-a-Friend, Dance or Ballet and Soccer Shots. Costumed characters and other fun add-ons are available.
Sippy Cups Cafe — Seaford
Sippy Cups Cafe can handle all of your party details for the under-5 crowd. Pick from four party plans plus various add-ons, including a bouncy house, pinata, balloon animals, and more. There’s a pretend kitchen and market, a Lego table—Duplos for tiny hands—a train table for budding engineers, a puppet theater for future thespians, and an indoor playground equipped with two slides. There's even a hidden “clubhouse” for important kiddie conferences. Caffeine alert: The cafe serves fresh Brooklyn Roasting Company coffees.
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Bowl for fun at a Momo's Clubhouse party.
The Little Gym — Islandwide
TLG, which has various Long Island locations, combines gymnastics, games, Legos, and music for a party that tumbles past the competition. Choose from fairytale, superhero, pirate, or character themes. Your group has exclusive use of the entire gym and a trained instructor to lead the party. Parties are 90 minutes long and can accommodate ages 1–12. All packages include pizza and juice, invites and paper goods, a Little Gym T-shirt for the birthday child, setup and cleanup.
@Play Amusements — Farmingdale
This indoor amusement park is expansive; with six private party rooms and 44,000 square feet. @Play will also customize the party to your child's age and interests, but all packages include a private room for your child and 12 friends, credits for free games, personal party hosts, pizza, and drinks. Amusements include 65 arcade games, laser tag, four inflatable structures, a 55-foot maze including three slides and capsules in the rafters, a safari ride, a carousel, bumper cars and a dedicated toddler area.
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It's thumbs-up for a birthday party full of thrill rides at Adventureland.
Adventureland — Farmingdale
Families have been enjoying the rides, attractions, and games at this Long Island amusement park since 1962, Chances are, you may have visited Adventureland back in the day. From big-kid rides that thrill, such as the Turbulence Coaster and the Frisbee, to kiddie rides, including the improved helicopter ride and everything in between, Adventureland is fun for the entire family. What's new(ish)? There's even a two-story dark ride called Mystery Mansion. The Lady Bug Coaster is out and a Rattlesnake Coaster will replace it. The Crocodile Run is now Rescue Boats. Instead of crocodile gondolas, guests ride in rescue boats. There are a water rides; a token-less indoor arcade that includes new games such as the Walking Dead and Quick Drop; two new Midway Games—Bottle Flip and Top Spin; a gift shop; a sit-down, family-style restaurant; and plenty of snack stands. Food options include the 3Generations Food Court and 3Generations Sweet Shop. Guests can visit City Hall for general info, special-needs accommodations, first aid, and more. NOTE: Open April to October.
Boomers! Long Island — Medford
Boomers! Long Island has something for everyone, including outdoor rides and attractions such as a roller coaster, spinning tea cups, mini jets, convoy trucks, and a kiddie swing. Kids will also enjoy a train, two carousels, miniature golf, an indoor rock wall, and an indoor arcade with state-of-the-art games for kids of all ages. After a day of rides and games, stop by the on-site Nathan's Famous restaurant. Birthday packages are available. NOTE: Open year round; some rides close for winter beginning in November.
Bowlmor Lanes — Melville
This isn't your standard Friday-night bowling scene. To spice up your party, Bowlmor offers XTreme glow-in-the-dark bowling as well as other games, such as wacky bowling, where you make a list of silly rules; character bowling; and guess-the-pins. Request bumpers for younger bowlers to help them knock 'em down every time. Birthday packages come with two hours of bowling, shoes, and a party attendant. Customize your menu with a variety of kid-friendly meals.
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Indulge your little princess with a party at Darlings and Divas. Photo courtesy of the venue
Darlings & Divas — Amityville
If you have a little diva on your hands, pamper her and her guests with a spa party, or chillax with a tea party. There's only one party at a time at Darlings & Divas, so your prince or princess (ages 3–13) will feel like royalty. The standard party package (for 11 children) offers fun in the diva dress-up lounge and salon; a diva dance party; and a choice of a "divalicious makeover" or "sparkling spa" package. The venue also offers pirate and rock star dress-up, punk rock hair, and face painting. Invitations, hostesses, paper goods, a group photo and signed banner, a special gift for the birthday child and a choice of lunch items and beverages are included. Darlings & Divas also hosts parties at your home.
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Peek inside the seal tank at your birthday party tour at the Long Island Aquarium.
Long Island Aquarium — Riverhead
Kids will dive into fun at the Long Island Aquarium. All packages include full-day admission, a guided tour, invitations, aquatic-themed party-ware, and a host. In addition to plenty of food options, there are also lots of party upgrades to choose from, including a photo of a sea lion kissing you, a chance to feed stingrays, a sail on the Atlantis Explorer tour boat, snorkeling adventure, and gem mining. With or without a party, kids receive free admission any day during the week of their birthday. Bring a birth certificate or other form of identfication.
Monster Mini Golf — Deer Park
No worries about the weather forecast for this golfing party: Monster Mini Golf is an 18-hole glow-in-the-dark indoor facility. Think three-dimensional props, animated monsters, a live DJ, skills contests and prizes, and fluorescent golf balls. Game cards for the arcade are also included. If you choose the Monster or VIP package, kids get to dip their hands in monster slime and leave their permanent hand print on the wall! All parties include 90 minutes in the private party room, golf, a host, paper products and invites, and setup and cleanup.
Safari Adventure — Riverhead
Xplore Family Fun Center — Port Jefferson Station
These jointly owned faciliities offer 90 minutes in the private party room, after which partygoers enjoy unlimited time in the larger play space. Your child and friends will soar to new heights on the four-level soft playground, then hop on over to the inflatables, which include a bounce house, slides, an obstacle course, and a disco dance dome. There's also a state-of-the-art arcade, an interactive projected game floor, an augmented-reality kinetic sand table, light tables, and more. Toddler tagalongs can play in a special safe area, and there's a calming sensory zone if kids feel overwhelmed. All packages include birthday cake or cupcakes, game-play cards, a host, and setup and cleanup; the play space is also available for private rental upon request.
White Post Farms — Melville
Mosey on up to White Post Farms for a party at this animal haven. It's cuteness overload time as kids ride the ponies and feed baby animals. Afterward, retreat to a private party room for pizza and cake while party planners bring around fluffy farm residents for petting (and ogling!). All packages include two ponies for riding, pizza and juice, decorations, cleanup, and a hostess. Cakes, invitations, favors, and hats are available with some packages.
Unless noted, photos are by the author.
This article, first published in 2013, was updated in January 2019.