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Birthday Party Ideas for San Francisco Kids

Published Nov 27, 2019 | Updated Feb 19, 2020

Birthday parties are a celebration of one of the most important milestones in your little one’s life. We know you spend a lot of time preparing for the big day and including friends and family in the occasion, and we want to make sure the day brings smiles all-around.

Here are some suggestions for unique (and even educational) places to host a kid’s party in the Bay Area:

1. San Francisco Zoo

Animals are a huge crowd pleaser. The San Francisco Zoo is a 100-acre zoo with over one thousand animals from 250 species. For larger parties (20-40 people), the zoo is a fun, all-inclusive option, which comes with a private room for 1.5 hours, zoo admission, a face painter, a lunch buffet and cake, ride tickets for the Little Puffer Train or carousel, and animal masks. This is a must for awesome pictures. If time allows, try to squeeze in an Animal Connection or feeding, where you can watch zookeepers interact with red pandas, chimpanzees, penguins, sea lions, giraffes, and more.

Cost: $60 per person

2. StemChef

Kids love puzzles and food, so why not combine them with an escape room with an edible twist? Located in Blackhawk Plaza in Danville, StemChef is a cross between an escape room and an interactive science museum, where kids work as a team to solve puzzles and uncover hands-on science concepts that culminate in a delicious dessert or beverage related to a rotating monthly science theme. StemChef was recently featured in Mercury News as one of the coolest activities in the Bay Area. This is a kids-only drop-off escape room geared for children between 8 and 13 years of age, so parents can take a well-deserved break for 60-80 minutes. StemChef offers an option for pizza catering and you can come back for the cake ceremony to capture those special moments at the birthday party.

Cost: Minimum of 6 and maximum of 10 children, $35 per person (food option additional)

3. Children's Discovery Museum

From creating art in the Art Studio to climbing an outdoor playground in Bill’s Backyard and uncovering mammoth fossils, the Children’s Discovery Museum in San Jose has plenty to pique kids’ curiosity. You can choose between the Purple Party Room (less expensive, fits up to 20) or the Teal Party Room (accommodates up to 25 people). Packages include all-day admission and a gift for the birthday child, and families are welcome to bring in their own food for a private party. Each month, the museum has a rotating exhibit with interactive activities, like painting fall leaves with watercolors, so make sure to check out the roster prior to the big day.

Cost: Purple Party Room starts at $350 and Teal Party Room starts at $475

4. House of Air

For more active children, you’ll probably want an outlet for their energy and adrenaline. House of Air San Francisco is an indoor trampoline park. Attractions include the padded open-jump areas with dozens of connected trampolines and a dodgeball park. There are a variety of birthday packages, which range from a party table and floor supervisor for the Starter Package to private instruction, XBox 360, and catering options. Normally, you buy jump tickets for your party and there’s a supplemental fee to cover additional services.

Cost: Jump Tickets + $75-$345

5. BrainVyne

Is your kid a builder at heart? In Palo Alto, BrainVyne, an organization providing educational camps and workshops throughout the year, hosts birthday parties for ages 4 to 12, complete with decorations and setup. The party starts with free play with thousands of Legos, where children can let their imagination go wild. Afterward, each guest receives a special Builder Kit to create a motorized build (not to take home) themed after some of their favorite characters, like Star Wars, Super Heroes, and Pokemon. The parties include pictures, singing, and goodie bags featuring Lego-themed mini-figures and other treats.

Cost: Starts at $500 for 20 children

6. La Petite Playhouse

You are going to wish you were a kid right now when you see La Petite Playhouse’s elaborate 10,000 square foot indoor play facility with an underwater theme. It features countless slides, climbing walls, interactive high-tech games, and sports courts, perfect for the under-10 crowd. Their private birthday packages come with one hour of exclusive play time for your party, a free digital photo booth where guests can pose with props for silly pictures, and a party coordinator who takes care of clean-up and set-up of all the paper goods, table covers, utensils, and candles. You can bring in your own food for a surcharge or order a pizza package.

Cost: Starts at $399 for up to 20 children and 30 adults 

If you enjoyed this list, check out other Bay Area kids’ activities here. Whether you opt for a pre-planned party that takes care of the stress and logistics or do it yourself, it’s sure to be a day to remember.

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