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It’s that time of year again: birthday party season. Yes, kids have birthdays all year round, but somehow the numbers seem to double in spring and summer. So where is a fun place for kids to have a birthday party that’s not Chuck E. Cheese? Stockton offers a refreshing number of options where parents can feel good (and safe) about hosting the little rugrats. These places will keep the kids happy, the parents sane, and the birthdays memorable.
1740 W. Hammer Ln.
Don’t be intimidated by the name: this place isn’t just for the all-star tots; it’s for any child who wants to have fun and be active. Offering a number of different party packages, GymStars’ most popular option is the full-service NOVA party package, which provides an all-inclusive two hours of fun for the kids and help for the parents from a full staff of personal party coaches. Children get full access to obstacle courses, pit play, a trapeze swing, and the trampoline. GymStars even has add-ons that include an inflatable obstacle course with slide. All activities are carefully supervised by the party coaches, and when the time comes for serving pizza and cutting cake, the coaches are ready to help.
3251 Ad Art Rd.
Offering a variety of activities for most age groups, the Stockton Indoor Sports Complex is a great choice for active and athletic partygoers to enjoy the energy of the day within the structure of a safe sports setting. There are two main birthday party packages, and both come with pizza. These packages include soda, a two-hour room rental, birthday announcements over the loudspeaker, and the birthday boy or girl’s choice of song to be played throughout the day. Another offering is the private party rental. This allows families to reserve the facility all to themselves from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Another option is to rent out the roller skating rink, but party planners will need to call ahead for specific times and dates.
3545 Alvarado Ave.
How often do California kids get to ice skate? Not nearly enough. To remedy that, plan a party at the Oak Park Ice Arena. Fully equipped with an 85-by-200-foot rink and a full-service shop, kids of any age can enjoy a skate with the entire party (although younger tots with limited skating experience cannot be guaranteed access to skating aids). The facility offers party rooms on Fridays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. The entire arena can also be rented out for private functions, but you must call well in advance. Don’t forget to dress warm!
402 W. Weber Ave.
Birthday fun and education don’t always go hand-in-hand, but they do at the Children’s Museum of Stockton, which offers exciting exhibitions covering everything from farms to fire stations. The little ones can play dress-up, build cars and paint portraits—just a few activities that can fulfill a birthday boy or girl’s wishes. The museum has two party packages starting at $195 that include an hour-and-a-half room rental for 20 people, with 20 invitations and thank-you cards for the party planners. For a two-and-a-half-hour private rental of the museum, the party may contain up to 100 people for $500.
1578 Hammertown Dr.
Voted best birthday party venue by San Joaquin County magazine, Zaps Zone is the place to be for older, higher-energy crowds. The laser-tag mecca boasts a state-of-the-art, two-story arena covering more than 6,200 square feet of playing area. And, besides birthdays, it can be rented out for private events. Party packages start at $125 and include one hour of laser tag. Don’t forget to add a pizza or two from Eric’s New York Style Pizza located inside the facility. It would be wrong to think that Zaps Zone is just for older parties; kids 8 and under can enjoy Joe’s Jumper package, which includes one hour of inflatable jump-house fun.
3121 Monte Diablo Ave.
Since 1954, this outdoor playland has attracted more than one million visitors from all 50 states to its fairytale wonderland of adventure. With an assembly of trains, boats and vintage carousels for the kids to ride—and multiple playgrounds—Pixie Woods keeps the children active and smiling throughout the day. Private rooms can accommodate up to 24 guests and are available in two-hour increments with a $50 reservation fee. Don’t forget to bring the sunscreen!
5358 Pacific Ave,
Located in Sherwood Mall, all ages can enjoy bouncing through the air indoors on trampolines—twirling, spinning, flipping, or just jumping high. You may even want to try to dunk a ball into the basket as you jump. Sky Zone features a foam zone where visitors can launch themselves from a trampoline into a big pit of foam blocks. There also are party rooms and a snack bar.
And yes, if there’s no avoiding it, Stockton does have a Chuck E. Cheese.
There’s plenty more family fun to be had in Stockton; click here for more ideas.