Wild (Birthday) Child
There was a time when planting the feet of a generic ‘80s cartoon figurine on a store-bought cake was enough to leave a kid beaming on her birthday.
That was then.
Post-Y2K babies have, like, standards. Their parties will appear in Facebook albums, become the fodder for drinking fountain chats, earn possible mention in a tech-savvy parent’s tweet (#bestpartyever). And Ann Arbor-area businesses ranging from swimming schools to cupcake shops are ready to answer the call for cool, providing customized experiences for the birthday boy or girl and guests. Ann Arbor Family guides you through the venues worthy of your tyke (or tween).
2463 A West Stadium Blvd.
Kids who like to make their cupcakes sparkle will rejoice at the selection of sprinkles at their disposal at a Just Baked birthday party. The cupcake shop and bakery offers three chocolate or vanilla cupcakes for each future cake decorator to get creative with, and the birthday boy or girl can make a wish with the free six-inch birthday cake and candles provided by these masters of the oven. Prices start at $12.95 per guest, which includes room rental, drinks and tableware. (Plus, parents get to choose six gourmet cupcakes from the counter to enjoy later).
Goldfish Swim School
2013 W. Stadium Blvd.
Observing the festivities from a foam boat or leading the action of a cannonball contest — any style of swimmer will enjoy a pool party at Goldfish Swim School. During a two-hour private party, kids get to enjoy the delight of splashing freely in the pool or participating in swim races — either way a staff of three lifeguards or more is on hand to keep the 80-minute festivities safe (parents can observe worry-free or join in the fun). The private swim school provides the cupcakes and drinks for the 40 minutes in the party area, and parents can provide lunch. The party costs $450 for 24 children, but the pictures of smiling swimmers are priceless.
The Scrap Box
581 State Circle
The Scrap Box is the premium place to find recyclable materials for making unique art projects. Birthday parties amidst all that “good junk” are a blast for everyone — parents and kids alike.To qualify, the birthday child must be at least 5-years-old and in kindergarten. You can choose either a family party for a mix of adults and children, with the maximum number of 15 guests, or a child-centered party for up to 15 children and two or three adults. Parties are two hours long and include making a project and shopping for a goodie bag to take home. Parents can bring refreshments (plus the supplies) and open gifts if you like. To book a party, call at least one month before the party date. Find more information on their website.
My Urban Toddler
7025 E. Michigan Ave., Saline
Make yours a truly special event at My Urban Toddler. Private party packages ranging from $200 to $385, and include exclusive use of the play space and banquet room, decorations, paper products and utensils, and dedicated party hosts. New ‘Musical Parties’ are available, too, an interactive music program during your party for the entire family to enjoy! You may bring your own food or choose catering from My Urban Toddler’s extensive appetizers, main courses and menu of desserts!
Lexi’s Toy Box
328 S. Ashley
Lexi’s Toy Box is full of unique, fun and addicting toys and gifts. They exclusively feature Holztiger European hand crafted toys, so it’s a perfect place to start your collection. (You can only get them at Lexi’s Toy Box!) Located in a cozy little historic house at 328 S. Ashley in downtown Ann Arbor, it’s an easy in-and-out experience, and parking is available right out front. It’s just a short walk down Liberty Street from Main Street, so come and see what’s inside the box!
Chelsea Center for the Arts
400 Congdon St., Chelsea
Get crafty at the Chelsea Center for the Arts. Bring a group of eight or more ($10 booking fee, $12 per person) and CCA will provide an instructor, materials for a project of your choice and a space for two hours. Party hosts are asked to bring party foods, paper products and goody bags.
Ann Arbor Art Center
117 W. Liberty St.
Parties begin with an individually created birthday card for the guest of honor, the birthday child creates his/her own crown, followed by a guided project! Art projects are designed for children over five years of age and have a maximum of 20 guests with at least one adult chaperone. Party hosts are asked to bring refreshments, cake and ice cream. Lasting for two hours, parties cost $17 per child for a mixed media extravaganza or $19 per child for a clay party in addition to a $75 deposit for the party room.
Cold Stone Creamery
3597 Washtenaw Ave.
Cold Stone birthday cakes are a wish come true. Leave a special friend or child breathless with a Cold Stone birthday cake — a layer of moist devil’s food cake piled high with sweet cream ice cream. One taste of this treat will have everyone celebrating. Cold Stone also has candles available in store — no need to make a separate stop! They also cater birthdays and events — they bring the cold stone to you! Invite Cold Stone Creamery to your next event and they will cater their super premium ice cream experience to you and your guests. Whether it’s an ice cream catered birthday party or school carnival, Cold Stone’s ice cream catering program has something for you.
Michigan Academy of Dance & Music
7035 Dexter-Ann Arbor Rd.
Give the gift of dance! Michigan Academy of Dance & Music offers themed birthday parties which include exclusive use of one of our studios for two hours. The first hour is full of dance and games with an instructor and the second hour is all about the cake, presents and fun. Packages start at $125 for up to eight guests, with a t-shirt for the birthday child and helium balloons for all. Cake, pizza, guest gift bags and tableware can also be provided. The Academy also has camps and classes for summer and fall, as well as gift packages.
Liberty Athletic Club
2975 W. Liberty
A two-hour party includes pizza and soda, with plates and cutlery included, balloons, and use of the club’s indoor water park, with swimming and a waterslide. There are games in the Lagoon Activity Center, and (for guests age seven and up) a rock climbing wall. Packages start at $225 for members and $255 for non-members, for 12 children and four adults. $15 for each additional guest, up to a maximum of 20. Don’t forget to bring a towel!