Kids birthdays used to be so simple. Back in the day, it was sufficient to head to a McDonald's with an indoor playland and let one of their cashiers lead the kids through a game of 'See Who Can Stack a Styrofoam Container the Highest.' If the adults were sick of that, it was off to Chuck E Cheese, where kids would deep sea dive to the bottom of the ball pit in search of lost game tokens while the adults gorged on Diet Coke and cheap pizza.
It's hard to argue with the classics, but luckily we have a few more options now. Deerfield has a number of great places and ways to celebrate a kids birthday, and we put together this handy list for Patch readers. And if you end up wanting to grab some friends and hit the ball pit anyway, go right on ahead - your secret is safe with us.
Sure, the name might not scream 'party central,' but this bowling alley gives Dave & Busters a run for it's money. A journey into the Brunswick Zone is a journey into 32 lanes of bowling, half a dozen pool tables, a cluster of stand up, coin operated arcade games and a lounge featuring both child and adult libations. Parties for kids are a big deal here, and there are several packages available. Two hours of bowling is just $6.99 per child, and food, like pizza or hot dogs and a soft drink, is $3 extra. With ten kids in tow, you can get the whole crew in, fed, entertained, and back out for just about $100. If it turns out your little birthday boy or girl really likes it, bring them back for parent and child cosmic bowling, and keep the birthday good times rolling.
Want to throw a party that the kids will never forget? Get it on tape. In this case, not video tape, but audio tape. Hear & Now is a local studio that bills itself as "the little studio with the big sound." The staff here is friendly and experienced, and used to working with kids. "We're used to little kids, and we love them," says the staff on Hear & Now's website. "We have their movies and toys." The team at H&NM invites parents to bring in choirs of kids to belt out whatever their little hearts desire. The rate for studio time? $60 per hour.
As every cool kid knows, sometimes, you have to let the party come to you. The team at Bizar entertainment do just that, and in grand fashion no less. The team here has been operating in Chicagoland for nearly 100 years, and provides entertainment at a number of events, from corporate team building retreats to bar and bat mitzvahs and more. While the team at Bizar mostly does positive message shows at schools with their two trademark characters Dr. Cool and Pride, their battalion of dancers, DJ's and other entertainers can be hired to perform at venues across Deerfield, putting on a big show worthy of your little one's big day.
Who says a birthday party can't be an opportunity for learning? Just because something is educational doesn't mean it can't be fun, and we all know that things are especially fun where there are small explosions involved. The team at Mad Science is on a mission to bring the wonder of science to kids in an interesting way. Their methods are by no means experimental: this franchised business has a track record across the U.S. of sending in-character Mad Scientists to your party with a focus on a fun, theatrical presentation that encourages scientific literacy. Of course, you don't want to explain it to the kids that way. Just tell them an escaped insane scientitst is coming over to make some slime explode. They'll get on board.
If you're looking to support a local entertainer, one great option is magician JB Brash. The locally famed magician, card trickster and slight of hand master has performed over 10,000 shows. He has weaved his magic for clients like General Motors, Nabisco, Kraft and Merril Lynch, but he isn't above making himself materialize in local living rooms as well. JB says his specialty is humor, and he uses a blend of magic and personalized comedy routines to cast an amazing performance for all ages. Those looking to cast a spell at a children's birthday party could use the talents of JB Brash, who has been described as "beyond magic."
Another great local option with a different approach is Brian Wismer, known as the Funwizz. His children's birthday parties are led by either Wizz the Clown (in as little or as much makeup as your possibly easily scared young party guests can handle) or Wizz the Pirate. Activities like dance parties and treasure hunts are big with the Wizz, but parties can also include magic, juggling, interactive games, fabulous balloons, and more. Wismer has entertained at local schools and businesses, and, according to his client testimonials, "brought sunshine," into many local days.
Video games and bowling and entertainers are fine, but if you're raising an active type, you know that sometimes they just need to get out there and run. The local park district is great for that. In particular, Briarwood Nature Area is well-suited to stampeding hordes of little and not so little ones. In the summertime, there are ample open fields and athletic fields, and in the winter, there's ice skating. Areas with public picnic tables make for fantastic, affordable parties in the great outdoors.