Stay Cool: NYC Winter Birthday Party Spots for Kids

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Planning a winter birthday party for a kid is hard enough—planning a winter baby’s birthday party during COVID-19? A “challenge,” as they say. Never fear: we have ideas! Whether you want to throw an outdoor party that embraces winter activity, or celebrate virtually with a special guest, game or project, we found ways to mark the occasion safely, and with flair! (See more ideas for virtual birthday parties here!)

photo: New York Ninja Academy

New York Ninja Academy

For a high energy bash, head to New York Ninja Academy, where party guests train on ninja warrior obstacles (similar to those seen on NBC's American Ninja Warrior) with professional ninja staff. For Covid-19 safety, birthday parties are currently capped at 15 kids. A 90-minute party includes a course run at the end, complete with lights, sound effects, and hitting the buzzer at the end of the course. Parties are $750 max, with prices adjusted down according to the number of attendees. Kids must be at least five years old to join. 

625 W. 55th St. 
Midtown West
917-903-7535
Online: nycninja.com

Rooftop Igloo Movie Night at 230 Fifth

Cozy up and stay warm with the rooftop igloos of 130 Fifth. Rent an igloo for your small birthday bash. Each igloo can accommodate 4-6 people and igloos are transparent, providing spectacular views over Manhattan from one of the city's largest rooftop gardens. Igloos are rented for 2.5 hours and include a movie (choose from a list of 15 blockbuster movies once you make a reservation), popcorn, and cocktails for the adults. A food menu is also available to keep everyone sated and happy throughout the movie. Cost is $75/person for a group of up to six. 

230 Fifth
230 5th Ave #504
Flatiron District
Online: feverup.com

photo: Watermark

Make S'Mores at Watermark's Winter Wonderland

Book your own private, heated and sanitized "glass house" at Watermark's Winter Wonderland and feast on s'mores, fondue and other goodies. This Winter Wonderland on the pier features a tunnel of lights; 40, 15-foot evergreens, and even the occasional "Snow Show" thanks to a snow machine. Don't forget to get a group photo on the Watermark Sleigh with the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg Bridges behind you.

Two-hour time slots are available, with rates varying by time slot and number of guests. Prices start at $75 for up to four guests at 4 p.m. and do not include food or drinks. 

78 South St. 
Pier 15
Seaport District
Online: watermarkny.com

Movie Night at the Skyline Drive-in

The drive-in movie theater experience has seen a resurgence in the past year, as a way to go out to the movies while still staying safely distant. The Skyline Drive-in is an option that often shows family movies—Annie, Ratatouille, Toy Story 4 and The Wizard of Oz are all upcoming—and has a beautiful Manhattan view. Take the family or a small group of kids to one of NYC's many drive-in options and watch a movie while eating some popcorn and snacks. Tickets are $55 per car.

Skyline Drive-in
1 Oak St.
Greenpoint
Online: skylinedriveinnyc.com

Hit the Trail with Some Pony Rides

You can have a horse or pony rides at kid's birthday party a variety of ways in NYC. 

Rent a pony for an hour from Brooklyn's Kensington Stables for $195-$250 (price varies by location). If you can have your party in Prospect Park near the Bridle Path, it's just $125. Click here for more info.

The Bronx Equestrian Center offers pony rides and a party area for $300 for two hours on site, and trail rides are also available. Click here for more info.

The Jamaica Bay Riding Academy does parties for kids (minimum 12 guests). Parties are 90 minutes, with 45 minutes for rides. Cost is $45 per person. Click here for more info.

photo: Beat the Bomb

Beat the Bomb IRL or Online

Beat the Bomb (the puzzle game experience that covers you with paint if you "lose") is re-opened in DUMBO. All sessions are private, and Covid-19 precautions are in place. Read them here. (Also: you wear a sanitized hazmat suit.) Recently introduced is the clean, or "no-paint" bomb, the Ballz Bomb (literally soft balls), if your party doesn't want to get messy. Cost is $44.95/person, with individual groups of up to six people. 

Too close for comfort? Beat the Bomb also offers 45-minute online parties, hosted by a game master, that feature three online arcade games. Play as a single team or compete against each other. Cost is $20/person. 

Beat the Bomb
255 Water St. 
917-983-1115
DUMBO
Online: beatthebomb.com

Snow Tubing

If you're willing to travel, snow tubing could be a real crowdpleaser. The closest spot (that also hosts birthday parties) is Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah, New Jersey. Tubers must be 42 inches or taller. Pricing ranges from $27-$35 per person, depending on the day. (Of course, you can also just go snow tubing with a small group. See our favorite places to go snow tubing near NYC here!) 

Campgaw Mountain
200 Campgaw Rd. 
Mahway, NJ
201-327-7800
Online: skicampgaw.com

photo: Industry City

Skating Rinks at Industry City & Beyond

An ice skating party is always a good winter party option. (Find our favorite NYC rinks here.)

Industry City may be the only place in the city that can provide ice skating or roller skating. The ice rink has been reopened for the season, featuring a larger rink size and heating in an outdoor, uncovered space. Get some skating on and grab a snack or hot cocoa from the accompanying outdoor bar (brought to you by Frying Pan Brooklyn). Tickets onto the rink are $12 per person, with an additional $10 to rent skates (bag check and helmets are also available at an additional price of $5 each). 

In addition, the Dreamland Roller Rink is scheduled to reopen soon for some skating fun. Contact the rink directly for party rates. 

Ice Skating:

Industry City, Courtyard 5/6
51 35th St.
Sunset Park
Online: industrycity.com

Dreamland Roller Rink:

Industry City, Factory Floor Building 1
268 36th Street
Sunset Park
Online: dreamlandrollerrink.com

photo: Great Wolf Lodge

Own the Park at Great Wolf Lodge

Yes, it's a Bucket List thing, but we just had to include it. The Great Wolf Lodge has launched a new "Own the Park" package, which allows families to gain exclusive access to the entire water park for 2.5 hours after the park closes in the evenings!

The package starts at a hefty $10,000 and for the entire evening, only family and friends on your list are allowed entry into the park. All the features of the park are available during this time, and the party will be overseen by Great Wolf Lodge's lifeguards. The package also includes complimentary (non-alcoholic) drinks, up to 10 Family Suites for the night, breakfast (also private and exclusive to your guests), a welcome gift and more.

Great Wolf Lodge
1 Great Wolf Drive
Scotrun, PA (about 1h 45m from Penn Station, NYC)
Online: greatwolf.com

photo: Super Soccer Stars

Winter Soccer with Super Soccer Stars

Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can't enjoy some active play and sports fun! Book a private session for a small group for an experience completely customized to you. Sessions can be booked for 45 - 60 minutes and will be held at a place of your choosing. If you have a favorite instructor, you can request them for the soccer party (depending on availability), and you choose the focus and level of instruction. 

At a location of your choosing
Online: newyork.supersoccerstars.com

photo: Giada Paoloni on behalf of the Howard Hughes Corporation

The Greens at Pier 17

The Greens is yet another spot offering transparent cabins with views of the Brooklyn Bridge and East River. Expect cozy seating, a virtual fireplace, air purifiers, hand sanitizers and classy decor inspired by ski lodges. Each cabin can accommodate 2-10 guests and features touchless mobile ordering from a menu of seasonal dishes. Cost is $50 reservation plus a $5 charitable contribution, along with the cost of food and drink. These are selling out fast—hop to it!

The Rooftop at Pier 17
89 South St.
Financial District
Online: thegreens.pier17ny.com 

photo: Kangbino

Play Date at CMOM

Take your party indoors with a private party at the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Groups of up to 25 people can rent out the museum for an exclusive hour and 45 minutes.

Guests will have full run of two exhibit floors, activity kits for children to use for the duration of their visit and CMOM educator-led activities that will get kids moving, listening to stories and doing art. This experience is currently open only to members, and costs $500. 

Children's Museum of Manhattan — the Tisch Building
212 W. 83rd St.
Upper West Side
Online: cmom.org

Sports-themed Birthdays at Chelsea Piers 

Give your kids an active birthday party at Chelsea Piers, which has been reopened to in-person parties with new safety guidelines. Groups of up to 10 children ages 5 and up will be led through sports and other movement-centric activities by trained instructors.

Party sessions last 90 minutes and include an exclusive t-shirt for the birthday child, party favors and a "cake-in-a-jar" from Butterfly Bakeshop. Choose a sport or activity for the party to center around from a list that includes basketball, baseball, gymnastics, and ninja parkour. Reservations require $200 deposit; inquire for pricing on individual sports. 

Chelsea Piers
23rd Street & Hudson River Park
Chelsea
Online: chelseapiers.com

Virtual Game Night at Brooklyn Game Lab

Want to celebrate a birthday from the comfort of your own home? The Brooklyn Game Lab is now offering online Zoom parties full of gaming and fun for kids of all ages. Kids 6 years and older can join a session of Dungeons & Dragons especially tailored to the age and gaming experience of the participants. Children of all ages can play interactive card/board games virtually (no game needed).

Parties start at $350 for groups of six or fewer, but the final price will depend on the length and number of guests. Plus, Brooklyn Game Lab is also starting to offer in-person outdoor parties for small groups if you do choose to have a physical party instead of a virtual one.

At location of your choosing
Online: brooklyngamelab.com

American Museum of Natural History

How's this for thinking outside the box? We hear that because of drastically-reduced capacity for Covid-19 safety, the American Museum of Natural History can often feel like your own private museum when you visit these days! Mask up and take a small group/your pandemic pod to the museum, checking out the Hall of Ocean Life, the Fossil Halls (home to the dinos) and more for the cost of regular admission. Or, spend a few more bucks and see a special exhibit like The Nature of Color or T. Rex: The Ultimate Predator. You must book tickets in advance to visit the museum. Admission is $23/adults; $13/kids 3-12; $18/students and seniors. 

Central Park West & 79th Street
Upper West Side 
212-769-5100
Online: amnh.org

photo: Becca Singelenberg (Xhibition)

Tiny Pool Party at the TWA Hotel

Pool party in the middle of winter!? Why not! The TWA's heated rooftop pool is open to hotel guests this winter, and it's been transformed into an Alpine-themed retreat. Visitors can eat at the restaurant or sit at the bar and sip some hot apple cider as they watch airplanes take off below. Visit the pop-up museum exhibits, created in collaboration with the New York Historical Society, and go back in time through replicas of a 1962 living room and offices of Howard Hughes and Eero Saarinen.

If you want to hold a birthday here, you'll need to keep it small: only four people are allowed to sit together at the bar and social distancing rules are strictly enforced. Visitors will also need to be hotel guests in order to use the hotel pool and "pool-cuzzi," visit the observation deck or eat in the restaurant. Room rates vary but typical standard rooms start at $199 per night and a daytripper stay starts at $109.

TWA Hotel
1 Idlewild Drive
Jamaica
Online: twahotel.com

photo: Treasure Trunk Theater

Virtual Adventure With Treasure Trunk Theater

You don't need to travel far to embark on an adventure! Treasure Trunk Theater, which fosters drama and imagination, is available to book for a virtual birthday party of 30 minutes (with additional time on request), where up to 30 kids will enjoy fun activities that'll get their voices, bodies and imaginations working.

The Treasure Trunk Theater instructor will lead kids on an adventure to magical lands using only common household items. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to join in, as well! Virtual birthday parties start at $200.

At location of your choosing
Online: treasuretrunktheatre.com

photo: Loop of the Loom

Tapestry Weaving at Loop of the Loom

In just two hours, kids can weave their own tapestry to bring home, with instruction from Loop of the Loom! Private classes are very small — 3-5, depending on the location you visit — and instruction will have kids working on their own looms within minutes. 

Loop of the Loom
227 E 87th St. #E
Upper East Side

197 Plymouth St.
Dumbo

Online: loopoftheloom.com 

—Yuliya Geikhman

 

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