An inconvenient truth about birthday parties is that they seem to come around every year…for your kids and for all of their friends. Given that reality, how do you make your kid’s bash stand out amidst all the typical bowling/pizza/movie/goodie bag boredom? Create a new level of awesomeness with one of these out-of-the-ordinary birthday party ideas that will delight your little partygoers.
What better way to celebrate a little animal lover’s birthday than by bringing a traveling zoo come to the party? Sound impossible? Not so with Scales & Tales. Beth Wagner has been delighting children in and around Chicago for over 20 years with her menagerie of animals. Depending on the ages of your guests and their interests, Wagner will work with you to select up to eight different animals from her array of exotics to come to your party. Popular choices include her chicken nuggets (baby chicks), Charlotte the Tarantula and Xena the Two-Toed Sloth. During the animal encounters the kids can ask questions about the animals, pet them, hold them and, if they’re up for it, they can even wear some of them!
Your child will feel like the coolest kid on the block when The Game Truck pulls into your driveway. The 50-foot long, climate-controlled, state-of-the-art mobile gaming units are outfitted with four hi-def TVs, a massive couch spanning the length of the truck and all of the latest video consoles, including X-Box 360, Nintendo Wii, and PlayStation 4. Trucks fit up to 20 party guests, and they can choose from a wide variety of video game titles spanning all age ranges, from “Minecraft” to “Madden.” There’s even a dance floor for the ultimate “Dance Revolution” experience. Trucks can also bring laser tag supplies for all party guests to use outside. The birthday party package includes two hours of ultimate gaming fun with a game coach staff member to help keep the party going. This is a great way to have a party “at your home” but not “in your home.”
This husband-and-wife team will entertain your party guests with a combination of incredible balloon artistry, out-of-this-world face-painting and an interactive balloon show that includes a little bit of magic. You really haven’t seen balloon twisting until you’ve seen Mr. Smarty Pants. Forget about the typical poodle and sword—start dreaming of tigers, monkeys, clowns or even Olaf from “Frozen.” The most popular birthday package is the Big Balloon Show, a 30-minute vaudeville style stage show featuring a little bit of magic, comedy and larger-than-life balloon props! After the show, children can enjoy balloon artistry and face-painting.
Give your Lego enthusiast a birthday to remember with an interactive Lego-building party. Beth Weis from Brickology will bring over 100 pounds of bricks and other elements to your home or party location. The kids will enjoy time spent free building and then working as a team to build a personalized “Brick Birthday Tower” that they can all fit in. If your child has a particular interest in say, “Minecraft” or “Star Wars,” customized options are available. A Duplo party is also available for younger children. Treat guests to a unique party favor by ordering bricks engraved with their names from The Write Brick .
For little princesses that like to be pampered, take the party to a glamorous salon. In the North Shore, Girlfriends Salon will let you have full run of the place for mani-pedis, nail art, hair and lip gloss. In the city, Rock Candy Salon & Spa has a number of party packages available that can include up-dos, age-appropriate makeup and nail polish with trendy nail art. They even have green slime manicures and pedicures for boys (which are apparently a big hit). Either way, all you need to do is bring the drinks and the cake.
This is the perfect party for those too-cool-for-school tweens and teens. Escape from a room with a Zombie is a totally clever concept that makes for a perfect party when you rent out the show’s 12 spots. Your group of 12 will quite literally be trapped in a spooky room with a zombie chained to the wall. While this zombie is a bit like the “Night of the Living Dead” species, there’s a twist: the chain is lengthened by 2 feet every five minutes. That’s a very real problem—because if the zombie touches you, you have to sit on a chair for the remainder of the session. While you are avoiding the (rather creepy) zombie, you have to work with the other party guests to decipher clues and unlock puzzles, drawers, satchels and safes to get to the key that unlocks the door. The pace is rather frenetic – especially toward the end when the group is running out of time and the zombie is creeping closer.
Paintball Explosion took over a part of Santa’s Village, and it was turned it into a post-apocalyptic amusement park with all sorts of battle venues both indoor and outdoor. They even duplicated scenarios from the popular video game “Call of Duty” and placed them within the old amusement park (your teen will know the reference). Private party packages include free rental gear, paintballs and a private referee that will follow your group as it rotates fields. A food package is available for an additional cost.
A slumber party at home is fun, but spending the night at an upscale hotel is a treat your daughter and her friends won’t soon forget. The “Let’s Get Away” package at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago practically does all the work for you. All you need to do is drive your daughter and her BFFs to the hotel for a night in the big city. The package includes an overnight stay in an executive suite, a visit from the hotel’s Ice Cream Man or a pizza-making session with a chef in the hotel kitchen, and unlimited use of the skylight swimming pool. Add on other in-room amenities like design-your-own-cookie or make-your-own-s’mores packages. And of course, there’s always the spa should you want to throw in manicures for the party guests.