1. Artistic party
The Simply Jane Open Artist Studio offers painting lessons for children (and a box of dress-up clothes if you feel like it). Ages 5+. 5411 Nicollet Ave., Mpls., 612-354-3961, Simplyjanestudio.com
“I like it because it has better paint than what I have at home. Oh, and the canvas! The people who work there are so nice, so the parties there are fun.”
—Elsa Vogt, 6, Minneapolis
Parent’s Perspective: Leonardo’s basement is full of crafts and themes for children, including toy-making, electricity, chemistry, and painting. Ages 6+. 150 W. 60th St., Mpls., 612-824-4394, leonardosbasement.org
2. Managed climbing
If your parents tell you that you’re jumping off walls, take them bouldering. Ages 4+. 1433 West River Road. N., Mpls., 612-308-2800, minneapolisboulderingproject.com
“I loved climbing with my friends. We had to go really high, but it wasn’t scary!”
—Teddy, 4, Edina
Parent’s Perspective: Bouldering is a great party option for little ones. They are fearless and learn to fall safely. And a car nap on the way home is almost guaranteed. Our son and his friends were assisted by two coaches in the party room where he climbed for nearly two hours. You can bring your own food or have it delivered. They set up the room, hung the decorations and helped clean up! — Teddy’s Mom
3. Chef’s Choice
Way Cool Cooking School’s birthday party includes 3 different cooking projects with a variety of party themes to choose from: Cupcake Wars, Mermaids, Lego, Harry Potter, Pasta Making and more! Ages 4+. 16544 W. 78th St., Eden Prairie, 952-949-6799, waycoolcookingschool.com
4. Fun battle
READY FOR BRAVE KIDS: Saber, Epee, and Foil are ready at the Center for Blade Arts. Ages 6+. 4744 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls., 612-501-0640, centerforbladearts.com
“My party was a lot of fun! You’ll be really into it, and you can use that move in a lightsaber fight.
— Torben, 7, Minneapolis
Parent’s Perspective: Our group had children ages 6-13 and we experienced a wonderful birthday party here. Everyone had a blast and had a great time. Our coach, Tyler, knew how to handle rowdy children. The first part of the class was teaching and practicing basic fencing moves and safety. The coach then had all children wear masks, jackets and gloves. Then go to fencing. The club handled the table, chairs, table he cross set up. We were allowed to bring in food, drinks and cake. It was so easy and so much fun. The price is also conscientious. — Torben’s mom
5. Virtual reality
There are plenty of VR spots in town, but REM5 is one of the newest and coolest. Ages 5+. 4950 W. 35th St., St. Louis Park, 952-855-7592, rem5vr.com
“I had a lot of fun here. We had our own pod so we could play with my brother Grem, mom and dad, aunt and uncle. We took turns playing games. But you can also play against each other.We loved something called Job Simulator, pounding coffee, eating donuts, throwing papers, and answering the phone with big cartoon hands. We had a lot of laughs, delicious chicken wings and cherry soda!
—Finley, 7, Piers
More birthday party ideas mspmag.com/birthdayparties.