Ahhh summer. The season of backyard BBQs, family get-togethers and birthday parties. With our glorious summer weather, it’s always a treat (and generally advantageous for the interior of your home) to take the party to the patio or neighborhood park. If you’re planning to rent something for the big day, we’ve rounded up a list of our favorites. From equipment and activities, to animals and characters, wow the birthday kid and your guests with these ideas.

photo: Kristina Moy

Jump, Soak, Ride or Slide

Living in a large city means a wide variety of rental companies and options that can be delivered, set up (and cleaned up!) right in your backyard. Most major party rental businesses have a plethora of party paraphernalia—bouncy houses in every conceivable shape and size, single and double-lane inflatable slides, wet and wild water slides, obstacle courses, carnival items like cotton candy and popcorn machines as well as zip lines and multiple-car trackless trains to drive around the ‘hood.

photo: Athena Frederick

Astro Jump
Providing a huge range of bounce houses, moonwalks, water slides and even human hamster balls, Astro Jump provides sports, princesses (Frozen!), wet-n-wild, and other timely-themed packages as well as single piece rentals.

Online: astrojump.com/seattle

Merry Makers
Armed with a massive variety of bouncy houses, water slides, obstacle courses and sporting games galore, Merry Makers also has more unique items like a giant Jenga game, inflatable skeeball, a photo graffiti wall, dunk tanks, foam party inflatables and snow machines. Plus, temporary tattoo artists and balloon twisters will happily take your party from drab to fab.

Online: merrymakers.net

Clowns Unlimited 
True to its moniker, Clowns Unlimited has a nearly unlimited supply of not only clowns, but also bouncy houses, water slides, concessions, face painters, magicians and balloon artists.

Online: clownsunlimited.com

Better Bouncers
Touting high quality bouncy houses and inflatables with competitive pricing, Better Bouncers has 13’ and 15’ bouncers, themed-bouncers, slides and combos as well as games and interactive items like an inflatable boxing ring, dodgeball and a Jurassic playground. Add on concession rentals, clowns and face painting and you’ve got the recipe for the party of the century.

Online: betterbouncers.com

Super Jump Seattle
This two-decade old family business offers themed-jumpers galore including Spiderman, Thomas the Train, Dora the Explorer, Hello Kitty and Spongebob as well as more traditional castles, slides, combos and more.

Federal Way
206-429-2531 (in Spanish: 206-579-5755)
Onilne: superjumpseattle.com

Fun Rent
Recently relocated from Redmond to Monroe, Fun Rent’s inventory is vast with bouncy houses and slides as well as entertainers, carnival games, electronic table games, fun foods and party accessories.

Online: funrent.com


Horses and ponies and cowgirls – oh my! Your little cowboy or cowgirl can take a backyard ride on a pony (or a Pegasus – complete with sparkles, wings and a horn) from a variety of local companies specializing in darling four-legged animals. Giddy up!

photo: Rebecca McGinnis 

Dreamland Ponies
A true dream for any birthday boy or girl, Dreamland Ponies not only offers rides on two, three or four ponies who will visit your yard or park, but they also have a pony carousel, mini Cinderella carriage and pony painting (they provide pure white ponies and safe, non-toxic finger paint and sparkles for the kiddos to actually paint on the pony). For real! Seahawks-themed ponies are also available as well as unicorns and Pegasuses complete with horns and wings.

Online: dreamlandponies.com

Note: Dreamland Ponies is not accepting voicemails at this time, so email your info to dreamlandponies@live.com if you don’t reach a live person.

Seattle Pony Party
Providing darling, well-mannered ponies around the greater Seattle area (or hosted at their barn in Snohomish), Seattle Pony Party not only provides tiny horsie fun, but also contributes a percentage of its profits to children’s charities around Washington. All you need is a small yard, cul-de-sac, quiet street or parking lot to have the pony party come to you.

Online: seattleponyparty.com

Li’l Buckarooos
“Aimin’ to please the discriminating 2-7 year old under 65 pounds” is the motto behind Li’l Buckaroos. Buckaroo Bob and his team of pony wranglers will provide a seat belted, handler-guided ride and will even have the ponies trot a little if your cowgirl or cowboy is ready for the cattle drive.

206-779-7844 or email oldponyguy@yahoo.com
Online: lil-buckaroos.com

Pony Paradise Rides
Two, three or four ponies are available for rent and these well-mannered equine friends come decked out in theme attire including princes and princesses, pirates, cowboys or unicorns as well as Hawaiian themed. Parties on site are also available with extras such as bouncy houses, s’mores, additional petting zoo animals and face painting.

Online: ponyparadiserides.com

Slither, Hop or Squawk

If your birthday reveler is into celebrating with the animal kingdom beyond just poines, why not bring the animals to him or her. The infamous Reptile Man, from The Repile Zoo in Monroe, provides in-home parties with a variety of creepy crawlers. Or you can literally pet the bunny with our area’s own Bunny Lady. Better yet, have the Parrot Lady over to entertain your little ornithologist or pirate wannabe.

photo: Kelly Stevens

The Reptile Man
If all that slithers, crawls, creeps and climbs is right up the birthday boy or girl’s alley, then call Scott Petersen, owner of The Reptile Zoo in Monroe. The Reptile Man has performed for nearly every school in the area and is sure to make your bash one to remember.

Online: reptileman.com

Bunnies for Birthdays
If a truckload of bunnies is what the birthday boy or girl wants, Bunnies for Birthdays is your one stop shop. They will happily set up the area, entertain partygoers, provide food and toys for the little Peter Rabbits at your party to enjoy and then clean up the space and provide sanitation.

Online: bunniesforbirthdays.com

Parrot Lady
Say “hello” to parrots Oly, Jesse, and Rudy who will fly, squawk and even roller skate at your birthday girl or boy’s next bash. In addition to getting to know the parrot trio, partygoers will practice bird skills like picking up things with their feet and take home a realistic parrot party favor.

Online: parrotlady.com

Inside and Outside Fun

Video game trucks or tumble buses might not physically park in your backyard, but they will keep the party on your turf and off your carpet. Dizzy’s Tumble Bus is good for smaller birthday guests, while gaming trucks have an assortment of video games and contests for more grownup kiddo tastes.

photo: GameTruck Seattle Eastside Facebook page

GameTruck Seattle Eastside
GameTruck is a 50’ semi (aka mobile theater) that is self-powered (no, you don’t have to plug it into your house), climate controlled and equipped with at least 4 HDTVs. GameCoaches assist, so you don’t have to figure out how to set up or play and GT provides a huge variety of the latest consoles and games. Note: GameTruck is best suited for those who can read and follow on-screen directions and is generally geared towards kids ages 6 and older. GameTruck recommends parties be limited to 20 people max.

Online: gametruckparty.com/seattle

Dizzy’s Tumble Bus
Let your little party animal go bananas inside Dizzy’s 35’ of school bus fun. Standard parties include one hour of tumbling and games on the bus with two teachers, invitations, a t-shirt for the birthday child and medals for all. All you need is up to 12 kids and a relatively flat parking space, and you’ve got yourself a party on wheels!

Online: dizzys-tumblebus.com

Merry Makers
Also listed above for bouncy houses, Merry Makers rents a  24x10x13 foot gaming trailer with four 50” plasmas.

Online: merrymakers.net

Characters Welcome

If Anna and Elsa, Captain Jack Sparrow, a dancing puppet or Mickey Mouse is THE ONLY THING that will do for the birthday boy or girl, then you can always rent a costumed character, storyteller or puppeteer to grace your festivities. Or you can princess-it-up with a spa princess party.

Good to Know: Some companies are not licensed directly with Disney, so characters might have a bit of “interpretation.”

photo: Amazing Fairytale Parties website

Live Wires
Started in 1981, Live Wires provides a huge assortment of characters for children’s parties as well as anything else your lil’ one could fancy—magicians, jugglers, psychics, caricaturists, belly dancers, circus performers, mimes, musicians, bands, hypnotists, hula dancers—you name it. You’re sure to find someone who fits the bill from any of the over 200 actors.

Online: live-wires.com

Amazing Fairytale Parties 
Committed to creating whimsical fairytale parties, these party extraordinaires offer a variety of activities such as storytelling, sing-a-longs, magic, games and even face painting. A variety of party packages are available and they have party itineraries outlined. Insider Tip: Parties often book out 10-12 weeks in advance, so plan early.

Online: amazingfairytaleparties.com

The Interactive History Company
If medieval Europe or renaissance England is more your birthday kid’s style, then The Interactive History Company has you covered. Providing knights in armor who entertain guests as well giving the littlest knights medieval style tabards and belts to wear (to feel like they are a part of a Medieval manor for the day) will make your party a memorable one.

Online: interactivehistory.net

Spa Princess Party
Choose a luau, princess or rock star theme and Spa Princess Party will bring the spa and sparkles to your party of up to 12 kids ages 4-18. Treatments and dress up clothes are age appropriate and a trip to the special sparkle bar is included. Insider Tip: You will need to set up seating for your guests, a small craft table and provide access to a wall outlet, microwave and sink.

Camano Island
Online: spaprincessparty.com

There are almost as many rental options as there are birthday party themes. Have you rented from any of the companies we mentioned above? What’s your favorite backyard rental? Tell us in the Comments below.  

— Jennifer B. Davis

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