It’s a novice parent mistake we all make: thinking it’s a grand idea to have your child’s birthday party at your house. It’ll save money. No driving. How hard could it be? (Insert experienced parental laughter here.)
And then you’re mopping melted ice cream out of the vents after a gaggle of youths tornadoed through your living room.
Next year, give yourself the gift of not having to clean house only to have to clean house and then probably hire someone to clean your house. Present yourself with a celebration away from home.
And why not? Boulder County’s packed with fun, inexpensive, memorable birthday party options. Here are five of our favorite ways to eat cake and party; no vent mopping required.
1. Live-Action Role-Play
Here’s a creative way to birthday. LARP (as it’s called for short) brings fantasy to life. People gather to role-play or go on scavenger hunts, usually centered around a storyline or mission. You might dress up or pretend to be an elf or zombie, a mage or warrior and “battle” others with foam swords and plastic shields. Imagine Dungeons and Dragons, but in the flesh. LARP events vary, from theatrical to more of a battle, with various genres, from sci-fi to zombie to steampunk to medieval.
The best organized birthday LARPs are through Renaissance Adventures in Boulder. Renaissance Adventures, 5717 Arapahoe Ave., lets you book private quests, games and treasure hunts. Pick between the “Star Wars” adventure, a “Frozen” themed party, a Treasure Quest, a Viking capture the flag or make your own custom challenge or theme. Be a wizard, warrior, ninja, knight or book character.
2. Ninja Playground
Want to be a ninja? Love “American Ninja Warrior?” Longmont is home to one of Colorado’s best ninja obstacle courses, the Warrior Playground, 33 S. Pratt Parkway, suite 200. This exciting gym offers a full-scale “American Ninja Warrior” course and training facility for adults and kids. In fact, it claims to be Colorado’s first “full-scale” ninja warrior facility. Plus, there’s rock climbing.
You can rent it out for a private birthday party. You get 90 minutes of open gym floor time on the obstacle course and climbing wall, followed by a half-hour in the party area where you can eat, drink, open gifts and celebrate.
3. ABC Kids Climbing
If you want your party to be off the wall, head to ABC Kids Climbing, 1960 32nd St., Boulder. At a birthday party, an instructor will lead the kiddos through 90 minutes of challenges, climbing, games and fun. Kids are encouraged to explore the whole state-of-the-art facility, including a zipline, slide and rope walls.
ABC Kids Climbing claims to be the only climbing gym in the world with more than 7,200 square feet especially for kids, age 2 and a half to 19.
After getting all the wiggles out, the party-goers head to a private room to refuel on food and cake.
4. American Girl Doll Store
You will have to drive to Denver for this one, but it’ll be a huge hit among elementary-aged kids. You can book a private party at the American Girl store at 8423 Park Meadows Center Drive in Lone Tree. As popular as American Girl Dolls are, there are only 19 retail locations located in the country, and one happens to be not far from Boulder.
For the parties, kids can bring their dolls (who get birthday treats in doll-size portions). Area hotels even offer special American Girl deals, complete with mini doll beds in the room that you can take home with you. The in-store parties can include things like a hairdo in the Doll Hair Salon, crafts, goody bags and more.
5. Gateway Park Fun Center
Boulder’s center for all things fun can also be the center for your next birthday party. Gateway Park, 4800 28th St., offers birthday parties with access to a party room (or outside party area), plus pizza, ice cream and access to all of the center’s activities, like go-karts and mini-golf.
Ask about different packages and price ranges, with varying amenities like decorations, arcade tokens, mini-golf, a maze run and more. Or build your own package based around what the birthday kid enjoys the most, from batting cages to mini-golf.