(Credit: Karen Reuter)

(Credit: Karen Reuter)


Sure, every kid’s party should have party hats, décor and cake, but there are so many other things to consider when you’re seeking out venues for your child’s next event. Whether your little one is celebrating a birthday, a graduation or an accomplishment, there are plenty of OC hotspots that can help you throw the perfect party—by keeping the kids active, delving into their creative sides or teaching them a new skill.

(Credit: Maggie Minhas)

(Credit: Maggie Minhas)


Timree Paint Parties
365 Old Newport Boulevard
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(949) 723-1300
www.timree.com

Paint parties are all the rage right now, especially for kids, and Timree Gold’s adorable Newport Beach studio is the perfect place to get your paint on. Elegant digital invitations are included in the party package, but upgrade to printed or painted invites for an extra special touch. Your child can choose which of Timree’s paintings to feature during the party—she offers everything from flowers and pineapple to collections of lipstick—and the kids will all learn how to recreate the painting in their own style. After finishing their masterpiece, the kids have time for a snack and maybe even a mini drawing lesson before heading out. The party can accommodate anywhere from six to 17 budding artists so it’s great for big or small groups. Parents must provide food and drink, but the studio offers party favors for an additional fee. Timree also invites the guest of honor to wear some old jeans to make special “paint jeans” during the party.

(Credit: Rockreation)

(Credit: Rockreation)


Rockreation
1300 Logan Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 556-7625
www.rockreation-cm.com

Parties at Rockreation will likely present children with a new and challenging experience, and they’ll have so much fun they won’t even realize they’re exercising! Experienced belayers are on hand to assist and supervise the kids as they climb as well. Children can expect to climb, but parties also include exciting games like wall tag, capture the flag and blindfolded climbing. Plus, there is a separate room that can be used for eating cake or opening presents. While parties must have five children or more, Kids Climb and Climb Time sessions offer climbing experiences for smaller groups so they can accommodate any number of children. For kids who fall in love with climbing at parties, Rockreation also hosts a climbing team called the Rock Warriors for anyone age nine and older.

(Credit: Fashion Camp)

(Credit: Fashion Camp)


Fashion Camp
2477 Park Avenue
Tustin, CA 92782
(714) 259-0946
tustin.createdesignsew.com

Whether you’re looking for a place to host a birthday party or a Girl Scout event, The District’s Fashion Camp is a unique party idea that little girls will absolutely love. Each party will give the kids a chance to create something new, but it also includes a lesson in how to use the sewing machine for those that are unfamiliar. Guests have a choice as to what they craft, too! For parties, they can choose from pillows, pajama pants, circle skirts, headbands and t-shirts. Girl Scout troops have a few more options, with camps in jewelry making, sketching and hand sewing that can help them earn different badges. This is a fantastic way for kids, tweens and teens to learn how to sew, and it’s a useful skill in addition to a fun experience. Be sure to check with the studio for each party as some include all materials while other require that guests bring their own fabric or pay an additional fabric fee.

(credit: Pretend city)

(credit: Pretend city)


Pretend City
29 Hubble
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 428-3900
www.pretendcity.org

If you’re not familiar with Pretend City, you should get acquainted. The children’s museum aims to show children just what it’s like living in the real world. And, whether they’re playing in the Bank, the Grocery Store or the Post Office, Pretend City makes little ones feel bigger. With child development fairs, programs and events, there is always something happening in this little city that is worth checking out and their parties are no different. The standard package provides a private room, complete with furniture, and full access to the museum—parents provide all decorations and snacks. The Pretend City Experience package also comes with a Pretend City-themed cake as well as goody bags and an activity for kids. Two additional packages—Day on the Beach and Out on the Farm—don’t come with a cake, but instead come with either a beach-themed or farm-themed activity.

(credit: istockphoto)

(credit: istockphoto)


Lil’ Chef School
15435 Jeffrey Road
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 679-8390
www.lilchefschool.com

Kids can learn a practical skill with a party at the Lil’ Chef School in Irvine. Rather than simply teaching children easy recipes, they can learn kitchen safety, cooking techniques, how to set a table and proper manners while eating. All children will get chef’s hats to decorate for the party and the guest of honor will get a complimentary apron as well as digital party invitations to send out prior to the big day. Each party, which can have anywhere between 12 and 24 kids, is accompanied by at least two professional chefs. Choose from a variety of party themes, like the make-pizza-from-scratch Pizza-Palooza party or the Decorate & Celebrate, a party for little bakers who want to learn how to decorate cakes. Every guest will take home a recipe card so they can remake their delicious creations at home with their family. Each theme has different age requirements so make sure to double-check that aspect in advance.

(Credit: Karen Reuter)

(Credit: Karen Reuter)


The Ceramics Studio
31878 Del Obispo Street
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
(949) 412-9241
www.theceramicsstudio.com

While Color Me Mine is always fun when it comes to parties, places like The Ceramics Studio have so much more to offer. They, of course, have Paint Your Own Pottery parties that allow groups of kids to select their own piece of pottery, choose their colors and paint it with whatever design they’d like. It’s fired and available for pick-up about a week later. Though this is probably the most popular party offered at The Ceramics Studio, you have some other options as well. A second party choice is the Play With Clay party, where children can make their own clay masterpiece using only their hands. The step-by-step instruction helps ensure that they create a piece they will want to keep—whether it’s their favorite animal or a house for fairies. The final and most unique party option is the Wheel Throwing party. Throwing some clay on a wheel and crafting your own pottery with your hands provides a truly special experience that children don’t get at most birthday parties.

(Credit: HGS Franchise, LLC)

(Credit: HGS Franchise, LLC)


Howie’s Game Shack
27741 Crown Valley Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92691
(949) 309-3424
www.howies.com

Little gamers will love Howie’s Game Shack, a center that features a unique social gaming experience that allows friends to play side-by-side. With plenty of PCs, XBox game consoles and computer monitors, plus ultra comfy chairs, they have everything you could possibly want while you play. Parties include three hours of gameplay and the choice is yours whether you play on PC or XBox. Digital invitations are also included to get your child’s friends amped on the party. Once you arrive, staff will lead you to your reserved seats, ensuring that you all side together, and you will be introduced to your party host who is available to help with whatever you need. Once the kids are done playing, they’ll enjoy pizza and drinks, both of which are included in the party package.

(Credit: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants)

(Credit: Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour Restaurants)


Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour
215 South Brea Boulevard
Brea, CA 92821
(714) 990-4386
www.farrellsusa.com

I scream, you scream, we all scream for a party! Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour is one of the most renowned ice cream shops in Orange County. The old-time feel is the most appealing part of any visit, but they also happen to have delicious treats in addition to their newspaper-type menus, pinstriped vests and classic ice cream parlor décor. Kids party packages are good for up to 10 children and include two pizzas, a couple Mountains of Fries, and a soda and a t-shirt for the guest of honor. After your meal, you’ll get one more treat: a dessert that is out of this world. Choose from the World Famous Farrell’s Zoo or the Hot Fudge Volcano. The Zoo comes with 30 scoops of ice cream – vanilla, chocolate and strawberry — plus chocolate and strawberry sauces, marshmallow topping, bananas, cherries, whipped cream and colorful sprinkles. The Volcano has 30 scoops as well, all vanilla ice cream, with hot fudge, whipped cream, sprinkles and cherries on top.

(credit: Jeff C./Yelp)

(credit: Jeff C./Yelp)


The Rinks Anaheim Ice
300 West Lincoln Avenue
Anaheim, CA 92805
(714) 535-7465
www.anaheimice.com

In Southern California, ice skating is the perfect way to cool off. Since we rarely have the opportunity for outdoor rinks, the Rinks Anaheim Ice is a wonderful alternative and a great choice for parties. Those that haven’t been on the ice before don’t need to fear because a group lesson is included in each party package to get guests acclimated to the ice. Followed by the lesson, children are able to join a public skating session. The parties at The Rinks Anaheim Ice also include access to a private area called Club 32, where guests are presented with a customized ice cream cake. This basic package, the Bronze Medal Package, can be upgraded to the Silver Medal Package, which comes with party favors and a special gift for the guest of honor. There is also a Gold Medal Package, complete with your choice of pizza, sandwiches or hot dogs for up to 10 kids.

(Credit: Storymakery)

(Credit: Storymakery)


Storymakery
Storymakery
825 Spectrum Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 431-5061
www.storymakery.com

The concept behind Storymakery is truly a fantastic one. Children can visit the Irvine-based factory where professionals help them create a character, write a story about him or her and turn it into a fabulous book. It’s a place that fosters kids’ imaginations and allows them to create something unique. The parties at Storymakery are equally as charming, with a variety of activities to choose from. A character poster will be given to the guest of honor while each child will receive his or her own storybook. Explore the publishing studio, write stories, design characters and discuss character or plot development. Games and sing-alongs are also available for four and five year olds. There are also plenty of themes to choose from—love mermaids or fairytales? How about pirates or dinosaurs? The possibilities are as endless as your imagination at Storymakery, but one thing is for sure: it will be a party to remember.

Ashley Ryan is an Orange County native that loves traveling, live music and photography. She blogs at Pure Wander and freelances for a variety of publications including Newport Beach Magazine and Laguna Beach Magazine.

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