Late spring is a glorious time for kid birthday parties. Austin is a playground of beautiful outdoor spaces that lend themselves perfectly to picnic parties, and if temperatures rise unexpectedly, making outdoor celebrations onerous, there are myriad cool indoor spaces to celebrate your kiddo's big day. Here’s a list of our five favorites.
Dart Bowl harks back to a simpler time when decor, food, and design took a backseat to fun. Don’t get us wrong: The food is tasty, especially for kids (the enchiladas are the stuff of legend), but Dart Bowl just feels like someplace you might have gone with your grandpa growing up. For kids' parties, you can’t beat the price: Rates run from $7.95 to $10.95 per kid with a minimum of eight guests. With that you get shoe rental, an hour of bowling, and a private party room with balloons and pizza. An adjacent arcade with laser tag is great for kids that want a break from bowling.
Got a budding Kahlo or Matisse on your hands? They might appreciate the many party options available for young artists at Smudge Studios. A “Splatter” party lets them explore expressionistic painting while having fun doing it. Kids work on a large canvas together in a 10-foot-by-10-foot room, getting as messy as they please in the process. Have a “Pop Art” party where guests can explore silk-screening and come away with a Warhol-inspired keepsake.
If you are looking for a wide-open space for kids to run and play, Kiddie Acres has it all. Another classic Austin spot, Kiddie Acres is a charming amusement park with delightfully pint-sized attractions. Whether it's a ride in the mini Ferris wheel, pony corral, or a spin in the rowboats, guests to your party can ride as they please and then congregate for cake and goodies under the pavilion.
Mueller Lake Park
This new development and expansive park was once the old Mueller airport. Smart city planning has turned the area into a destination for families with restaurants, the Thinkery museum, and shopping nearby. Shaded barbecue pits and tables, a large playground, man-made lake with ducks, fountain, and a farmers market on Sundays make this an ideal spot for an outdoor picnic party. Schedule the birthday around the farmers market, and kids can ride on the electric train that winds its way around the park for a few dollars.
Austin Nature & Science Center
This city treasure located within Zilker Park offers a birthday party space suited for learning and exploring. The birthday packages include a presentation, party room, and access to all the wildlife on-site, from rescued coyotes and foxes to birds and reptiles. There’s plenty to see and touch. If the heat kicks in, a babbling brook in the back of the property provides the perfect spot for catching tadpoles and cooling off.