Updated June 2, 2022. Birthday parties can be a challenge. The infamous summer pool party or winter celebration at the ice rink can’t happen every year, right? Well, whether your preteen prefers a fun time in the air conditioning or your 7-year-old wants a long day with friends in the kitchen, here are a few birthday parties the kids (and you) will love.
Your highly energetic and agile kiddos have probably caught a glimpse of American Ninja Warrior on television at some point. Maybe they’ve even taken to using the walls of your living room as some type of makeshift Warped Wall. Rather than attempting to turn your backyard into an all-out obstacle course for a birthday party, take the ANW hopefuls to NoVA Ninja. Co-founded by two-time competitor Casey Passafaro, the location allows guests to learn and try the various obstacles for themselves while testing their balance, agility, speed, and more. 20099 Ashbrook Pl., Ste. 145, Ashburn; 21531 Blackwood Ct., Ste. 110, Sterling; Party packages start at $180
Take this year’s birthday to new heights by giving partygoers the opportunity to fly. Don’t worry, the guests won’t strap on a backpack and dive out of a plane (try explaining that to other parents), but they will get to gear up in a flying suit and helmet, get pre-flight training and one-on-one coaching from a trained flying coach, and take their chance at two flights through various movements and methods. 20315 Commonwealth Center Dr., Ashburn; Party packages start at $94.99 per flyer
Finding clues and problem solving have been upgraded from your typical treasure-hunt adventure. Book a birthday party where the kids find themselves working their way out of a freaky fish bowl scenario, saving a spaceship, or enrolling in Bond’s Magic School, where everyone learns ancient spells, solves puzzles, and saves the school from the spooky evil spirits. If they keep their eyes out, they’ll even find a hidden customized birthday card while trying to escape. 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Ste. 910, Arlington; 3949 University Dr., Fairfax; Party packages start at $475
We might have gotten past the DIY slime craze (or did we?) but kids can still be interested in making, creating, and understanding why simple science experiments are so cool. Plan a birthday party at the science center, and your future lab coat-wearers will get unlimited access to all exhibits (where they can program a robot arm and build structures at the tinker shop) and participate in an exclusive interactive activity for all party guests. 11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax; Party packages start at $650
Fighting a fear of heights on your birthday doesn’t sound like the best idea, but if your child is a risk-seeker looking for their next challenge, get ready to watch them race to the top at Sportrock. Guests get 90 minutes to try techniques and patterns to get up different parts of the wall, safely strapped in by a staff member who will belay their ropes from below. Little hands and legs can make it up the wall, but they must be 5 years old or older. 5308 Eisenhower Ave., Alexandria; 45935 Maries Rd., Sterling; Party packages start at $150
Tag! You’re it! Let your child and their fun-loving friends zig-zag around at Shadowland by competing in laser tag, a colorful and exciting upgrade to the backyard game. They’ll strap on their vests, create a code name, and use every strategy in the book to conquer the fortress once and for all. Once they’ve had enough of their laser adventures, they can make their way through the arcade or play some glow-in-the-dark mini golf. 5508 Franconia Rd., Alexandria; Party packages start at $25 per person
Slide your way into a great outdoor birthday party by hosting it at Volcano Island Waterpark, where there’s a little something splash-worthy for everyone. There are two dueling water slides that the kids can race down either in the sunlight or in complete darkness (one is open, one is closed), a play area with a 500-gallon water bucket ready to drench those below, and even a mini golf course for when guests are ready to head back to dry land. Plus, there’s pizza included! 20015 Volcano Island Dr., Sterling; Packages start at $25 per child
In honor of their birthdays, it’s time to let your kids loose in the kitchen (not without supervision of course). Messes and mistakes might be made, but so will memories and great kid-friendly recipes that get your kids excited about being in the kitchen for all of the right reasons (and in the right ways, too). Host a Tiny Chefs party and the kids will make their very own meals, rock chef hats, and learn to love cooking. Bonus points for the staff who also handle the cleanup! Hosted in home or at a rented location; Party packages start at $365
Kids love to get their hands into (mostly) everything one way or another, and they’re encouraged to do so at Curiosity Zone during the personalized birthday parties. Guests are taken through several DIY science experiments with themes such as blast and bubble, artsy potions, and spa science. Regardless of their interest, this party allows kids to get their hands sticky and take their fun concoctions home. 43135 Broadlands Center Plz., Ste. 123, Ashburn; Party packages start at $329
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