Best birthday party venues for kids

There are some years when holding your child’s birthday party at home isn’t practical or even desirable – a dozen eight-year old boys generally need more space than the average backyard will allow to enable them to burn off all their birthday party excitement!

But not being able to have a whole birthday party extravaganza at home doesn’t mean that you can’t celebrate your child’s birthday with friends and family. In fact, there are many different ways you can throw a birthday party away from home.

Hiring space

If you can’t hold a birthday party at home because of space issues, there will be many venues in your local area which are available to hire on an hourly basis – and most of these are surprisingly affordable. Ring around but generally, the best places to try are:

·         Church halls

These spaces are often perfect because they usually have a kitchen and toilets attached, and plenty of space for kids to run around.

·         Community halls

Much like church hall, these usually have the amenities you need, although community halls often house equipment for the community (!) so you may have slightly more limited space.

·         Daycare centres

Most privately owned centres aren’t interested in hiring out their space out of hours, but some council-run centres do hire out their premises.

Hiring entertainment

If you want to throw a birthday party but don’t want to be responsible for the entertainment, consider hiring an entertainer for part, or all, of your birthday party. Many entertainers bring party favours and/or prizes with them, so make sure you ask exactly what you’ll be getting for your money when you book. Entertainers also charge for their time so you can save some money by booking them in half an hour after the party starts – this first half hour is almost always taken up by guests arriving, present giving and general party excitement when nothing structured really has to be planned.

·         Magician

Hiring a (good!) magician has always been a safe entertainment option for a mixed-sex party. Most party magicians do a show rather than games, so before you book, ensure that your party audience will be old enough to sit still long enough to enjoy the magic

·         Fairy

Having a fairy party almost seems like a right-of-passage for little girls – so it’s important to get it right! While you can very successfully throw a fairy party without having a Head Fairy, hiring a professional fairy to take over party proceedings is money well spent for most mums who don’t relish getting out a pair of wings!

·         Characters

If you’ve a Spiderman-obsessed child, nothing will make him (or her!) happier than having Spidey turn up at his birthday party. Character entertainers usually make a grand entrance and then keep the party guests busy with suitably themed party games and activities.

·         Sports

Sports parties are a great option if you want to hold your birthday party in a park and you’re inviting kids who need to do a lot of running around! Party organisers will come with the equipment necessary to play structured games.

·         Disco

Disco parties are great fun for kids who love to sing and dance. The disco entertainer will turn up with their own sound system and will usually also have groovy disco lights and extra microphones and stands for a sing-along. To ensure a successful party, make sure the entertainer knows how old the party guests are and what type of music they like.

Party venues and activities

Depending on the age and sex of your party guests, there is a huge variety of appropriate venues and activities you can book for a birthday party. One of the great benefits of choosing an activity for your birthday party – aside from not having to be responsible for the mess! – is that your guests will be kept busy for the entire duration of the party and you’ll be able to relax a little and enjoy a more supervisory role as opposed to the Chief Caterer and Entertainer role you have to take at a birthday party at home.

Birthday party venues you may want to consider include:

  • Indoor play centres
  • Ten pin bowling
  • Swimming pools
  • Art and craft workshops
  • Rock star studios
  • Go-karting
  • Circus studio
  • Indoor climbing
  • Cooking venues
  • Ice skating
  • Dance studios
  • Build-a-bear workshops
  • Browse the Kidspot Directory for local venues

When you book a venue for a birthday party, ensure that you enquire about catering options and the availability of space to hold birthday party proceedings. Some venues have separate party rooms, while others are able to reserve seating for your party.

This article was created by Ella Walsh for Kidspot New Zealand’s parenting resource for birthday parties.


  1. kymmage 01/09/2019 at 8:30 pm

    I absolutely hate having parties in my home. I don’t want to have to clean especially or at all lol. So I usually find a venue. I have hired a guides hall and I found it really reasonable price wise. If you aren’t a member it can be a bit dearer but still good. If you do go with a hall you have a lot of options, compared to going to a specific party place too. The food options – I got pizza delivered! I got a guy to come and do a lego animation demo which was pretty cool.

  2. Loucyd3 31/08/2019 at 8:47 pm

    We are lucky that our home has the space for the kids birthday parties, we were thinking for our daughters 6th birthday we would organize it at chipmunks playground, plenty space for them to burn off their energy. Lots of great ideas above for when they are 10yrs and older.

  3. candyjanenz 31/08/2019 at 4:52 pm

    Some great ideas here. I think hiring a community hall is great as they are often not very expensive and you can bring your own food etc. The one near me has lots of room to run around inside and is also a perfect back up if it is going to be a rainy day.

  4. SarahBlair 30/08/2019 at 12:26 pm

    I threw a disco party for my daughters when they turned 8 7 10, their birthdays are 2 days apart. We hired the school hall which was fantastic, everything that we needed was there, being early August having heaps of room to run around inside was perfect! My husband is a musician and has his own PA and lazers for the music and light effects so it was really cheap too! I would totally recommend doing this!

  5. Bevik1971 27/08/2019 at 3:19 pm

    This is awesome! We have been recently discussing our daughter’s 7th birthday coming up in December. She hasn’t had a proper party until now but wants one this year. We actually have decided to have it at the local Bowling Alley haha, so this came at a good time 🙂 Ours is actually cheap compared to other venues in Dunedin and she wants a bowling ball themed cake too!! 🙂

  6. MuddledUpMolly 27/08/2019 at 2:01 pm

    We are lucky to live in a big house with a big backyard so have never needed to look at venues for our kid’s birthdays but this year we are having a Mcdonald’s birthday for our three year old and we are still waiting to see where our soon to be 10 year old is wanting to go for his birthday.

  7. Jen_Wiig 23/08/2019 at 4:09 pm

    None of my boys have ever had a birthday party of any kind. I’ve waited to see if they’ll ask and they haven’t so I’ve never said anything but this year and next we have milestone bdays coming up being 13, 10 and 5 and I’m actually encouraging them but they will deff be at venues where we don’t have to stress about the mess, they can do an activity so not purely focused if gifts and food and so it makes it abit special for them. My eldest wants to do paint balling, middle tenpin bowling and youngest wants the old school McDs bday which I’m hoping we can encourage it to be at inftable world instead hahaha…. I love the idea of venue bdays and take the pressure off us parents.

  8. Micht 23/08/2019 at 3:59 am

    So good to have these ideas, its the one thing that some mum friends frazzled in preparation…. thankfully our church has space to hire out on a Saturday, so so far every year for the last 3 years my daughters have had their parties there… its close to home, there is tons of space and parking too… i think sometimes its worth asking at different places if they hire out their would be surprised how many options there really are… another good one was our local pizza place throw a pizza making birthday party… fun and the kids get to take the pizza home…

  9. Shorrty4life1 22/08/2019 at 1:03 pm

    These are some great ideas. I know when we had miss five year olds birthday party there were so many hypo little munchkins to try and keep track of and we never did it again. Now we go to Shearer’s quarters in timaru and they have a free party room and we do big fancy cake for dessert and kids meals come with free mini golf game so its definitely loads of fun and there’s an animal farm there and a maze also. I have heard of people hiring out local play centres I think thats a really great idea also. Love the ten pin bowling birthday party idea that sounds like alot of fun for the whole family to get into and get competitive with.

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