We are Minnesotans. We are tough. A little cold is nothing to us. We wear flip-flops in the winter. Our kids beg to play on the mountains of snow piled up in our parking lots and cul de sacs. We scoff at other cities that shut down after winter storms. Sound familiar? Why is it so hard to plan a birthday party in the winter then? Is it the cost of renting out a place that is so intimidating? Do we not feel as carefree and celebratory without warmth? What is the big deal? I am here to show you that winter birthdays can be just as fun as summer birthdays!
My oldest daughter’s birthday is near the end of March. As if planning her birthday around spring break and Easter activities is not stressful enough, we are also faced with the question of how to celebrate during one of the coldest months of the year.
We learned our lesson the first year. Our split-level house is not open enough to host a birthday party. We made the typical first-time parents mistake of going too big and inviting everyone we knew….and they all showed up! It doesn’t matter how many toys and well thought out games you have. If nobody can move due to a lack of personal space, it is going to be a short party.
Our most memorable party yet was at Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store. I loved the smallness of this party space. You can invite up to 8 friends and bring in your own food. The guest limit forced us to slim down our list and be more intentional with our birthday planning. The drawback is that this place can seem a bit on the boring side for older siblings and cousins. The younger kids will have a blast playing with the many train tables and accessories. A bonus for parents is that they provide guest bags to each guest! I loved having that checked off my list of things I needed to figure out. There are also awesome props throughout the store that allow opportunities for adorable photo shoots. We rounded out this party with a group trip to Izzy’s Ice Cream, which is just a few doors down.
Many of our team members here at the Twin Cities Moms Blog make a tradition out of celebrating birthday dinners at the Rainforest Café. You can be guaranteed that it will be a tropical jungle in there. Chances are that the fountain mist will spray you as you walk by and someone at your table will begin crying when the elephants start trumpeting. But that sparkling volcano dessert that comes out for the birthday girl or boy will be sure to replace all tears with many smiling oohs and awes.
During the winter, the play areas in Edinborough Park feels a bit like a vacation. It is uplifting to walk into a warm place with green vegetation everywhere. The open gym concept in The Great Hall has something for everyone – a jump house, various scooters, basketball hoops, and hula-hoops. Adventure Peak will have the kids climbing and sliding for hours!
The nostalgic feeling that Skateville brings will make you wish you were still a kid, zooming around in your neon green wheeled roller blades! Apparently, the place hasn’t changed in 25 years, which suits us just fine!
The Mall of America has so many options for birthday parties. There’s Build a Bear, the American Girl Store, Nickelodeon Universe, Smaaash, Gameworks, Sea Life, the movie theater, and the Crayola Experience. My daughter had so much fun running through the exhibits at the Crayola Experience for her one of birthday parties. My favorite memories from that day are moving the colored pegs around on their giant Lite-Brite and making silly faces for our custom coloring sheets!
Many of us have utilized our local community center’s rooms for birthday parties. A few of the centers do not need outside entertainment brought in as they boast play areas, pools, and waterslides. If your community center is like mine, you will need to bring in the additional fun. If your kids are into creepy crawlies, give someone like Bruce the Bug Guy or the Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Zoo a call. Balloon artists like Amazing Scott Balloons will offer interactive balloon twisting workshops for the party guests. Clowns, storytellers, costumed princesses and heroes are also always a hit at these indoor parties.
Places like Urban Air Trampoline and Adventure Park, Sky Zone, Rockin’ Jump Trampoline Park, Zero Gravity Trampoline Park, and Airmaxx Trampoline Park & Fun Center still allow the kids to get their jump on in a controlled temperature environment. Many of these places also offer laser tag and dodge ball games.
Have your kids been intrigued by trapeze artists after watching The Greatest Showman? I came across this gem (Twin Cities Trapeze Center) a few months ago and have mentally bookmarked it for a future birthday party. Perhaps I will have my next birthday party there if my daughter shoots it down for her birthday. Who doesn’t dream of floating through the air with the greatest of ease? I want to be that daring young woman on the flying trapeze!
Tactical Urban Combat is the Midwest’s largest battle arena for nerf gun fights. Each fight is organized and guided by an official and lasts around 5 minutes. This will give the kids plenty of time to change up their missions and teams, thus mingling with their peers.
Check out your local gym for party room rentals, use of the gymnasium for the party, and even the possibility of a bounce house! I am not a member of a gym but I have heard that both Lifetime Fitness and the YMCA offer great options for indoor parties.
One of our team members brought her kids and their friends to see a movie at Marcus Theatres. She set them up with $5 movie tickets, divvied up the popcorn amongst the guests, and had a birthday treat to be shared in the lobby.
Another place that our team members have frequented for birthday parties is the Eagan Art House. You can choose a painting or clay creation and the majority of the party is focused on these artistic creations. You may even bring your own treats.
If you are fortunate enough to have the space to host in your house, you get to keep it simple! You can direct the kids through making snow forts, sledding, snowball fights, winter hikes, and serving snow ice cream.
Check out your local nature centers and parks. One of our executive team members is hosting her son’s upcoming birthday at Lebanon Park. They will be building forts in the park! Ramsey County offers ice skating parties as well as birthday parties at Tamarack Nature Center.
My daughter’s 5th birthday is coming up. We gave her a choice of a party or a family experience. She chose the experience so we will have a staycation at the Great Wolf Lodge in Bloomington. An indoor water park with costumed characters, story times, pajama parties, and many other activities promises a fun-filled weekend!
Tell me, what winter birthday parties have been your favorites?