While big-kid birthday party places often offer options for little kids, sometimes even those choices can be a bit too grown-up. So, when it comes to planning a party for a younger child, one option is to host the celebration at home. But if you'd rather not have a gaggle of cake-fueled little ones running wild at your house (no judgment), we’ve compiled a list of 10 spots around New Jersey that specialize in hosting parties for the preschool and toddler set.
Read on for a list of cool play spaces, play cafes, kiddie gyms, and even an animal-centric option. And find even more ideas for fun in our NJ Kids' Birthday Party Guide.
The Big Playhouse – Westwood
The Big Playhouse caters exclusively to toddlers and preschoolers. Little ones will get lost in their own imaginations as they play in a custom-built construction site, cafe, doctor's office, market, and other themed spaces. The Big Playhouse has a warm and cozy environment, and hosting a party here is like having one in your own home—except you don’t have to lift a finger. Call or text 201-314-6341 for pricing and more info.
The Busy Bee – Millburn
We recently visited this charming newcomer, and we're already planning future birthday parties there. In addition to a bright, spotless play area for kids 0-6, The Busy Bee offers a spacious party room that can comfortably accommodate both partygoers and their parents. Non-private parties enjoy use of the whole facility during open play, with pizza and celebration in the party room, starting at $350 for 10 guests. Or you can opt for private use of the entire play space and party room for two hours for $550. Visit the website for more options.
Coco Beans Play Café – Tinton Falls
Created with 18-month-olds to 5-year-olds in mind, the play space at Coco Beans Play Café is a great option for your little one’s next celebration. A party here means private use of the entire facility, which includes dress-up fun, a play table, train table, and tons more. Parties start at $350.
Kids can dig the day away at The Great Story.
The Great Story – Hackensack
The Great Story, a play space that's modeled after kids' cafes in Korea, features ball pits, sandboxes, trampolines, an indoor jungle gym, and more. Whether your birthday girl or boy has a favorite color or character, the staff here will work with you to customize your party based on your needs and budget. Packages start at $180.
Hudson's House of Play is a charming space designed especially for kids 5 and under.
Hudson's House of Play – West New York
Designed for kids up to age 5, Hudson's offers a selection of private party options designed to delight little ones and their friends. Themes include Circus, Dinosaur, and Vintage Western. A bit on the pricier side, packages start at $695.
Imagine That!!! – Florham Park
The recently renovated Imagine That!!! encourages young children to play, explore, and use their imaginations—a perfect recipe for a unique and exciting birthday party. There are a variety of party packages, starting with a basic party for 10 children for $299; upgrades and add-ons include a puppet show, themed activities, a magic show, and character visits. All parties include unlimited time explore the museum.
Junglerrriffic Party Gym – Millstone Township and Freehold
Let your little one and guests burn some energy with a party that includes face painting, trampolines, soft foam climbing structures, a zip line, and more. There are three packages to choose from, starting at $369.95. You can save by hosting a two-hour weekday party, which starts at $99.95.
Kidz Village – Kenilworth and Woodbridge
Your party guests can enjoy athletic attractions, indoor playground slides, a movie theater, music room, and more, all in the theme of your birthday boy or girl’s choice. Kidz Village hosts children 10 and under, with packages ranging from $299.
Play Day Place – Forked River
Play Day Place is home to soft play structures like obstacle courses and bounce houses that are for toddler use only. Play Day Place offers private party options, meaning the facility is closed to the general public and your guests have full access to all equipment and a private party room. Packages start at $225.
Rizzo's Wildlife World is a perfect option for animal lovers.
Rizzo’s Wildlife World – Flanders
If animals are your birthday boy or girl's favorite thing, a party at Rizzo’s Wildlife World might be the perfect party spot. More than 120 animals are on site, from the cute and fuzzy to the scaly and slimy—whatever you’d prefer. All are handled by professionals! Packages start at $350.
Top photo: Party room at The Great Story. Photos courtesy of the venues.
Updated for 2018.