Every year for some reason, I try to talk my kids into having a party somewhere else besides home. It’s not that I don’t like having people over or that I have to clean up when everyone leaves. I think as my kids got older each year, I stressed that I would not be able to keep them entertained for two hours. In the end, my kids never seem to agree to an off-site birthday party, although they love going to all the fun places we get invited for our friends’ birthdays. All of my kids are very social, much like their mother, so they do get invited to lots of birthday parties at different places. If you are looking for a fun place to host your child’s next party in Jacksonville, please check out our reviews of the best party places in Jacksonville! Remember this is just from the perspective of an attendee!
Pump It Up – We have been to several parties here and this place was pretty much created FOR birthday parties. We have also been here just to play during open play times, but they really do a decent job with birthday parties. Lots of bounce houses, obstacle courses, and slides. I love that they have added some non-bouncy fun, including plasma cars, Cozy Coupes, and a Little Tykes Roller Coaster. It made it a lot easier for families like us with younger siblings. The only drawback here is the little bit of anxiety that I have that my child will get hurt. If I am proactive, I will dress my kids in long pants and long sleeves before we go to help prevent slide burn!
Pottery Works – My kids were invited to a pottery party here several years ago when they were only three or four-years-old. The party was for an older friend who was turning six. My kids’ pottery pieces were painted very abstractly, but they enjoyed it. It was rather easy to supervise, and I liked the birthday gift for the birthday child. Each guest was asked to put a thumbprint on a special birthday plate. The party attendant wrote everyone’s name by their thumbprint, leaving the birthday child with a keepsake of the day!
Bay & Bee – A birthday party at Bay & Bee is similar to inviting friends to your living room but you don’t need to clean up before or afterwards. The party is booked for 90 minutes of exclusive use and you get an additional 20 minutes beforehand to set up. When you arrive, the staff will have the party tables and chairs set up, so all you have to do is bring in table decorations and food. The play space is clean and comfortable. The kids play, adults can eat and relax since all of the children are in view, then time for cake! Afterwards the staff helps the birthday party family take everything to the car. I love that you can bring a theme for table decorations suited to individual needs and bring our own food. Parties are best suited for first to fourth birthdays.
Sweet by Holly – I recently attended a party here with my three-year-old. I was nervous it would be a lot of work for me, but she really did ok decorating cupcakes with just a little assistance. We later attended a decorating party with all three of my kids, and they all enjoyed it. I admit one of the things that I liked about the party was that it was pretty short. It was over in about an hour, which was really perfect based on the activity. Miss Holly’s cupcakes are so delicious that I of course brought my wallet to pick up one of my favorite mini cupcakes. I was delighted when the cashier told me it would be “on the house” since I was with the birthday party. Each child brought home whatever was left of the four cupcakes they decorated!
The MOSH – The Museum of Science and History. This was one of my favorite birthday parties that I have attended recently. Perhaps it was the novelty, as it was our first time for a birthday party, even though we have visited the museum on multiple occasions. I went with one of my seven-year-olds and my three-year old as a tag along. The hostess did an amazing job with decorations and favors for this mad science party, but even without that it would have been a terrific party. They included the Science Show option so everyone went up and watched a science show about electricity and cold air condensing and warm air expanding. We all sat in bleachers and for 30 minutes, the science guy captivated us all, young and old! The birthday boy was his assistant and stood “onstage” the entire show. For one demonstration, he asked for a volunteer (at our party an eight-year-old girl) and made her hair stand up when she put her hands on this device emitting electricity! Wow!
Adventure Landing – We’ve only done the “dry” parties here that included arcade tokens, laser tag, mini-golf and go-carts. Super fun for my kids when they were five, six, and seven-years old! I feel a little more nervous here than at other arcades because I feel like it is harder to keep track of my kids. I think it was also hard for the hostess to keep track of all the attendees and keep the guests together. These parties always lasted more than three hours, providing tons of fun for my kids but often wearing this mama out!
Rebounderz – Trampolines galore! Pretty crazy that the kids have to wear helmets and special shoes. The trampolines were very fun for my three-year-old and seven-year-olds. It made me nervous though because there were so many parties going on at the same time, some of them for teenagers. They did have lots of attendants on all of the trampolines and a dedicated attendant to the Party Room. At the party we went to, not only did we get to enjoy the trampolines but we also were able to enjoy some of the arcade games. This was another venue where it was hard to keep the party guests from being spread all over the place.
My Gym – We’ve been to parties at the Jacksonville location, but there is also a Mandarin location. Also, the one time in seven years we hosted a party away from home and this is where we did it! It was a very convenient location for us for my twins’ 5th birthday party. It really was one of the few places considered because it seemed safe enough for thirty 5-year olds, and every minute of the party was supervised by two attendants. This was super important because I was chasing around an almost one-year-old that was learning to walk and wanted to have no worries! The party attendants were so great, they never forgot any of the 25+ children’s names after only hearing them one time during an introductory song. They did a great job of engaging kids that were uninterested or wandering. We pulled up, unloaded coolers of drinks and they cake, ordered pizza, and everything else was taken care of! All the kids enjoyed the music and interactive fun!
The Little Gym – Another gym place where there are supervised activities and a party room. There is only one party at a time so it’s nice for guests to mingle with just the guests from the party. We went to a lot of these parties when my kids were toddlers, not as many once the kids reached five-years old. The energy of the party attendant always makes a big difference! Like My Gym, they do a good job of remembering everyone’s name and engaging all the kids.
Chuck E. Cheese – Same deal. Pizza, tokens, pre-emptive Tylenol, dress-up character that can be frightening to some young children. This is a fun place to watch the party kid and enjoy what seems like unlimited tokens. On Saturdays, the place can be super crowded which I think is less desirable as a parent, but the kids don’t seem to notice.
TNT Gymnastics – I feel like these parties are very different from My Gym and Little Gym. The activities are organized, and they engage the kids well. The foam pit is always the star of the show for all of my kids…really at any age!
Build-A-Bear – We went to a party here when my older kids were very young. It was a very small party so the kids were allowed to make a bear and pick an outfit. After building our bears, the party walked together to the food court where we celebrated with birthday cake and pizza! At almost three-years-old, my twins thought it was the best party ever!
Our Local Parks – Jacksonville offers several great public parks that are wonderful party venues. We’ve been to some really fun parties at South Beach Park, Hanna Park, and the beach! They are all nice for summer birthday parties because they have splash grounds and/or beach access, but one of the most memorable parties at Hanna Park included trail hiking!
Other places we are curious about but have not yet been for a birthday party:
Jacksonville Zoo – We go to the zoo so much that it makes me wonder if the kids would enjoy the basic zoo party. Enjoying the zoo with 10 of your friends and birthday cake would make it pretty special for the birthday child though! I can imagine that people who have parties here wonder if guests will make the drive!
Yes! You Canvas! – Recently for Junior League training, we ended a team-building workshop here. I was astounded by my hidden artistic talent! This made me believe that ANYONE could achieve success here so I am guessing birthday parties would be great for almost any age!
Sweet Pete’s – Mmmmm, candy! Sweet Pete’s is such a bright, fun place with awesome candy smells. Any kid would love a party here. We have done some group events here that included a tour, making candy, and listening to a story. I’m sure they would do an amazing job with birthday parties!
Cinottis Bakery – Our family loves Cinottis Bakery, and we get most of our birthday cakes from here! They always do a great job making a beautiful cake that tastes just as delicious! I could see both of my seven-year-olds having fun decorating a 6-inch cake but probably not worth it for my three-year old.
Hidden Fields Private Stable – We have had a few group outings scheduled at this stable, but we were rained out every time. I first heard about Hidden Fields from a friend who had been to several parties here, raving about the fun barnyard fun at an easy-to-get-to Southside location. My kids love animals and would enjoy petting, feeding, and riding the ponies.
The Edge Rock Gym – I took my older kids rock climbing here when they were just almost four-years-old. They did a great job with just me helping them! I can only imagine how much better they could have done with someone who worked there helping them. We’ve been rock climbing a few times since then, and I know they would still enjoy it, especially with a bunch of friends for a birthday party!
Have you been to a party here or hosted a party at any of these venues? Comment here and let other moms know about your experiences! Or invite us to your next birthday party!