It’s a dilemma every year, finding the perfect venue for Ethan’s birthday party. Until last year we did them at home, but as kids get bigger, houses seem to get smaller. Plus they aren’t all that well equipped to be jumped and climbed on.
Add in the fact our parties have to be INSIDE (it’s the end of December after all) and options dwindle. As you may have noticed from our past parties, we like to do our own thing and REALLY get themey with it (so far we’ve done construction, school bus, and rescuebots.)
While I totally understand why parents would want a party hosted by an all-inclusive venue, one that does everything for you, it’s just not our thing. But finding a place that is a) close to the city, b) clean and well lit, c) isn’t covered with other decorations, and d) will LET you do your own thing is really challenging. This will be the second year we’re venturing outside the house for our party and I’ve been pulling my hair out making this decision.
And PS, why does every venue need to be smathered with promotional posters and painted crazy-bright colors and covered with giant trash cans?
So since indoor party season is upon us, I thought I’d share my working list of St. Louis party venues, a mix of places that aren’t so restrictive and offer something different. Most let you bring your own food, hang your own decorations, and give you more space for a birthday or holiday or baby shower—whatever YOU want to make the party perfect.
Oh, and none of these are out-of-control expensive either…I’m cheap.
Creative Indoor Party Venues in St. Louis
Forest Park Visitors Center
The Learning Lab is the most flexible for parties, bright and big and you can take all your own food and decorations.
We do gymnastics here and the facility features a Bavarian style pub party room…it is HUGE. You can bring your own food, drinks, and decorations. There are also gymnastics parties. Lots of possible at this place and rates are very reasonable.
Super cute little bowling alley, a little pricey but not horrible.
Ephiphany Lanes Bowling Alley (I’m SO having a party here someday, cheap and AWESOME)
They specialize in make-and-take craft parties, but have a perfect “blank” space for baby showers, birthday parties, and more.
Lost of cool-sounding party packages and regular room rentals for DIY events
Faust Carousel & Party Room
The room is HUGE and the kids get unlimited carousel rides
Five Star Burgers Party Room
Seriously considering this for Ethan’s party next year…it is awesome!! The Kirkwood location has a downstairs party room with cool wall art and amazing food.
YMCAs, namely the Cardondelet YMCA
These are blank rooms ready to be themed up. These venues usually have pools too.
The Heights Recreation Center
You don’t have to be a member, they offer flexible swimming packages with party rooms.
Orbit Pinball Lounge
This little place in Maplewood has an upstairs party room with more pinball machines. There’s no website, just a yelp page, so call for reservation info.
They don’t always offer party rentals, so call to check.
ArtScope St. Louis
Create your own art party, bring your own food and decoration. Parties are offered in the cute cottage located in Tower Grove park.
Bumbershoot Aerial Acrobatics
This place could be awesome for a small group of older kids.
On Your Toes Dance Studio
We had Ethan’s Rescuebot party here last year and it was a blast!! They let us created our own party but provided staff to help. The kids had a BLAST.
Herbaria on the Hill
This place has amazing staff that will accommodate groups…just call and ask!
This place is brand new, featuring themed parties. Not sure about the flexibility but sounds like the right place for a blow out themed birthday party!
Once Upon A Bash
While they offer themed birthday party packages in their cute Maplewood space, they seem to be flexible on rentals and worth a call for special requests. Some off-peak specials are listed on their website.
Sweet Art Bakery
More of a shower or adult-party space, you can rent it on Sundays at a very reasonable rate and they are super flexible. I could see a tea or princess themed party working well here. Make sure to get the quiche!
Great American Human Foosball
This place sounds hilarious and looks fun. For 9+ year olds, make a reservation and get into the game!
Once I haven’t personally checked out but were recommended:
Not totally sure what their packages include but there’s an arcade here as well as huge theaters…could be a blast!
Des Peres Lodge
You don’t have to be a member to have a party here! Packages available but I’d try requesting an off-package situation if you are looking for something more flexible…never hurts to ask!
Remember roller rinks??? This would be awesome for older kiddos.
Ok people, let’s make this list GROW!!! What creative INDOOR party venues have you discovered?? Where can you create your own bash that suits your unique child? Please tell me and I’ll add it to the list!!
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The holidays are upon us and time will feel like it’s constantly running out. Buying gifts, seeing family, planning gigantic meals that take hours to prepare and only minutes to consume, holiday parties, entertaining the children with endless energy, crazy work schedules, not to mention constant runny noses and ear infections…it’s just going to be full speed ahead from here to Jan 1.
What can we do to stay sane?
If I’ve learned anything in the last year, it’s the importance of having a few awesome babysitters on hand, pros that can step in when Stu’s gone for a week and I really don’t want to miss book club. Or when we want to take Ethan to see ELF at the Peabody—without Finn. Or when Finn has croup and I’m on a project deadline. Or when we just want a date night after too many days without a real conversation during which one of us is almost asleep.
This is where STL Sitter comes in.
STL Sitter is like having a whole team of at-the-ready, skilled, enthusiastic, and super fun babysitters right at your beck and call. STL Sitter is a LOCAL baby-sitting company of vetted, experienced, and trained sitters to keep your little ones safe when you need some extra help.
This isn’t your typical “website” child care service. Local owner Morgan Clark is personally involved in every single assignment to ensure top quality customer service and childcare. We love how easy it is to request a sitter! After setting up an account, you just log in, fill out a few fields about the job, and can quickly choose from the sitters available. Scheduling fees range from $10-25 per request (the more notice you give, the cheaper the fee) and the normal hourly rates range from $10-12/hour, depending on the number of kids. I can say, without a doubt, EVERY sitter we’ve had has been amazing! They are excited to play with my kids and I always feel 100% comfortable walking out the door. All have been students from local universities, all have been incredibly professional.
I love how affordable this service is, how amazing the sitters are, the super reasonable three hour minimum, and the flexibility–you aren’t locked into an end time if you select the “Flex End” button during scheduling, it just tells the sitter you may need a little extra time. But probably the icing on the cake is this adorable log we get at the end of each time.
There’s been a few hilarious things written on logs about Ethan. Like one sitter wrote, “Ethan put on a fireworks show for me and then blew up a piñata (all were made out of legos).” Our child, completely obsessed with the piñata his cousins filled with fireworks last Fourth of July. Or “Ethan tried to tell me he sleeps with his toy box next to his bed and his lights on, but we got it worked out.” Stinker.
Add to all of this the fact that I make ONE request, and am guaranteed a sitter when I need one…priceless. No calling five people and waiting for responses every time an event is planned.
Like when we decided to see a movie in the theater because it’s been FIVE years. FIVE years since we’ve seen anything but Planes: Fire and Rescue and Big Hero Six (both totally awesome) on a big screen.
Turns out I now appreciate rented movies on my couch more than ever after watching The Martian in the midst of loud people getting up every five seconds to get a drink or use the restroom. The movie was awesome, crowd not so much. I can wait a few months to see new movies from here on out. But because of STL Sitter, we had the freedom to go!
Remember I mentioned a giveaway? Well get your parties scheduled or your reservations made because ONE lucky reader is getting a membership to STL Sitter—free!! That’s a $50 value to get you set up with the service for a whole year.
STL Sitter is giving a lifetime membership to ONE lucky reader—worth $50!
To enter, please:
- “Like” STL Sitter on Facebook, then leave a comment here letting me know.
- Additional Entry: “Like” Preparing for Peanut on Facebook.
- Open to St. Louis Metro residents only (that does not include you Illinois-side peeps at this time, sorry!)
We will announce the winner Friday, November 20!
(Winner will be notified by email)
And if you can’t wait another second, visit STL Sitter to find an amazing sitter today. Check out other services they offer like pet sitting, tutoring, overnight care, and family shares.