Planning birthday parties in Vancouver is not easy. With our unique West Coast weather, it’s always tough to predict the weather in advance. When it comes to birthdays, this means extra planning. Even in summer, it’s hard to know if it’ll be dry enough to enjoy an outdoor gathering, picnic, beach day, or bbq – and from autumn to spring you’ll certainly need to find somewhere warm, dry, and big enough to host a gaggle of kids if you don’t have the space at home – or simply don’t want to do it there.
So there’s a lot to be said for booking a birthday at a place that’s designed for that very purpose – less clean-up, activities to keep the kids busy, and food you didn’t have to cook yourself (depending on where you go, of course.) With events largely on hiatus the last few years, some of the old standbys are no longer open but plenty are back, better than ever – along with some newcomers to the birthday-party circuit. Here’s a round-up of some of our favourite places for birthday parties in Vancouver and the Greater Vancouver region:
Best Bets for Birthday Parties in Vancouver:
On the Big Screen
Head out to the local movie theatre to catch the latest animated flick or kid-friendly show (or, for pre-teens and teens, maybe something PG!) Many theatres have a birthday room and offer combo packages that include popcorn and drinks or other snacks, along with the movie ticket. Landmark Cinemas and Cineplex Odeon have locations around the region. For a discount theatre, check out Hollywood 3 in the Newton neighbourhood of Surrey.
Lessons in Fun
Why not make your child’s birthday party a learning opportunity? There’s plenty of options in Vancouver with a host of galleries, museums and science centres throughout the region, many of which have birthday party packages to help welcome kids in for some learning and fun. Check out the party information pages at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, the Beaty Musuem of Biodiversity at UBC, or the McMillan Bloedel Space Centre. Though currently on hold, keep an eye out for a return of the very popular birthday parties at both Science World and Vancouver Aquarium any time soon.
Spares and Strikes
Get out for some good old-fashioned five or ten pin bowling at one of the many bowling alleys in Greater Vancouver. Though there’s fewer alleys than there once was, those that remain are popular and busy – book early to make sure you get a lane on a busy weekend slot! In North Surrey, check out Dell Lanes, in Burnaby head over to Revs, and in Vancouver there’s Grandview Bowling.
Don’t feel like cooking food for the birthday party? Maybe the kids can cook their own this time – or at least, some of it. Holding a cooking class birthday party is a great alternative that offers kids a unique chance to learn a few things in the kitchen and have fun with friends. Many cooking schools offer birthday party or group classes specifically for kids. In Vancouver, check out Dickies Cooking School and Posh Pantry.
All the Art
Splatter paintings, pottery projects, lessons in cartoon drawing – the opportunities are endless when it comes to art parties. These are great for all ages, with options for different projects depending on age (and bonus, they’re fun for adults, too.) Check out 4 Cats (which has locations around the Lower Mainland), Hippo Art Studio, and Luminous Elephant.
Run, Play, Climb
Have some energetic kids to keep busy? There’s a reason that indoor play places are such popular party locations. Kids can run, play and climb to their hearts’ content. Some have unique imanative play zones, laser tag, bumpers cars or more. A few of our favourites include Kidtropolis in Richmond, Go Bananas (which has four locations around the region in Chilliwack, North Vancouver, Richmond and Langley), Jungle Jac’s in Coquitlam, and Central City Fun Park in Surrey.