As a mom and a local photographer, a question I hear all the time is where is a great place to rent for a child’s birthday party. Especially for a winter birthday, when you just want a nice indoor space for kids to have fun! I wanted to share some of my favorite places in the Mid-Ohio Valley area that are great for birthday parties.
The Sacred Heart is off Torch Rd in Coolville, OH. It has a heated, indoor private pool. I love that it has a nice, separate room for the food and presents.
in Vienna, WV – My kids LOVE to attend parties at Gymniks. It has lots of room for kids to run around and climb. They love the rope swing and the big foam pit. They also have a few small bounce houses that can be blown up for younger age kiddos.
I adore our local art center. My kids attend their summer art camp each year, and it’s also one of my favorite local wedding reception venues. You can also rent their downstairs area for birthday parties. There’s a large area that you can setup tables and food, and then a play area for little kids to run and climb. Most people just rent the space, but I have also been at parties where they have fun crafts and art projects planned, if you are interested in a more slower paced, calm party. My favorite thing about parties here, is that everything is held downstairs. As a previous mom of toddler twins, I loved to go to places where my kids were safe and contained, and I can just relax and let them play.
My nephew had his birthday party at the Nerf Arena in the Rage Room. They have a fun area setup with stuff to hide behind and basically run around and shoot each other with nerf guns. The kids had a blast, as a mom I had a few complaints… There is a “rage room” in the back, where you can break glass and other things, and we saw some remnants of the broken glass in the nerf area – especially with the kids running and sliding on the ground, it just made me nervous. A lot of the guns were broken. I’m sure there is a lot of wear and tear on these things, and they had plenty to swap out, but it was frustrating for kids to constantly be running back out saying their gun wouldn’t shoot. You are allowed to bring your own guns, so that is an option, but obviously there is no way to keep your bullets separate from all the others when you are ready to go home at the end, and it’s not entirely fair for one kid to have a semi-automatic gun that shoots a hundred shots per minute and another kid a little one bullet at a time pistol. If you did have a group of kids that had their own nice nerf guns, I can see it being a lot of fun! They have a separate area for food and presents, but it is fairly small – so this will limit the amount of guest you can have.
My two biggest complaints were that the only bathroom is in a different building, so you have to walk outside and down the street to access it, and that by default your party is not private. I’m not sure if you can pay more to rent the entire space privately, but we had a family come in and pay to play nerf while we were there. Luckily, they were kind and not disruptive, but if you had rented the party for a younger age child and a group of rowdy teenagers came in to play nerf, it’s not going to be fun for either group! I think this nerf room has a lot of potential and the kids had fun regardless, but the space could use some improvements.
We also love our local Elite! The owners are amazing people and have brought this amazing facility to our area to host local sports and events. The parties I have been there, have included the entire indoor soccer fields and the basketball courts. So LOTS of room for kids to run and play! They even allow you to bring in bouncy houses to setup over on the soccer field. The food/party area is in the entryway, and while it’s not a large room, it’s nice and clean and has a place to do cake and snacks.
I was pleasantly surprised when I attended a recent party at the Marietta Roller Rink. My kids are not great skaters, so skating parties are not always their favorite, but the Marietta Rink is a painted surface and they actually allow you to bring wheeled toys to ride around. Kid had bikes, scooters, try-cycles, and hoverboards. The kids loved the big, indoor space to ride around. Just make sure you list on our invite or event posting that kids can bring their own, because these are not at the venue for kids and it’s no fun if you don’t have enough for everyone to share. They have a large area with tables and chairs for food and presents. They also have an arcade area with games, air hockey, etc. Many of the arcade type games were broken, but the kids did have fun playing with the ones that worked. The “DJ” of the party played fun games for the kids on the rink and gave them arcade tokens or snacks as prizes. He was very sweet and worked hard to make sure the kids had fun!
One note for this location is that the main entrance is up a VERY steep set of steps! If you are carrying a bunch of stuff or toddlers in hand, I would ask to use the ramp, and back entrance.
The Foam Garaage in Marietta – This location is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a giant garage, with a small fenced in area that fills with foam. The kids love it! They play fun music, and the kids can go wild in the foam. There is a small area around the foam pit that you can have food and presents, but it’s not super big. Make sure you tell your guests to bring a change of clothes and extra towels, because the kids are soaked at the end. I also pack several hand towels, so kids can wipe their face as they can get foam in their eyes or mouth.
This location has small bounce houses and arcade machines. The kids get to win tickets and can cash them in for prizes. I would factor in the price of arcade tokens for all of the kids or make sure that parents are aware of that up front. The arcade games can add up fast, and there isn’t a whole lot of things for the kids to do, if they go through their tokens super quickly and then aren’t able to play the rest of the party. The venue does have a large front room with tables for food and presents. I will give them props that most of the machines were in good working order, and the staff there were quick to come and fix a machine if something broke or didn’t spit out a child’s tickets.
The Emerson Bowling lanes were renovated a few years back and have a fun, new look to them. Also now that everywhere is smoke free, it’s a whole different feel than the bowling alley atmosphere that I grew up with. Most party rentals include a couple of lanes and a pizza and drinks. The have smaller balls and bumper lanes for kids that need those. The venue is pretty large, so overall it can be kind of loud, but kids never seem to mind, but if you have kid with sensory sensitivity, this might not be the place for them. We also hosted our end-of-the year soccer party here, and the kids had lots of fun.
Skate Country in South Parkersburg is a very classic skating rink. You can rent the space (I believe only on weeknights) – or rent part of the space on Saturdays. I believe you also have to pay $1 per person for skate rentals in addition to the party fee. They are also much more relaxed on the rules than what I remember growing up with, and for private parties occasionally let kids run around in their socks or allow parents with flat, non-marking shoes to walk on the floor and help less advanced skaters. They have a medium sized space for food and presents.
And while you are working on your party planning, have you considered hiring a photographer to capture all the fun memories? I offer even photo and video services to make sure your party one that you and your family can look back on for years to come. If this is a milestone year for your child, I also offer cake smash session or portrait mini sessions.
Here are some other birthday party photos and video posts that you might enjoy: