Welcome to the Marin Birthday Party Guide! Children's birthday parties are big events and big business. Browse our directory to find Marin and Bay Area birthday party venues, bounce houses, supplies, services, and entertainers, as well as articles from our web site about birthday party-related topics.

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Mini Golf in Marin at McInnis Park

June 17, 2014

mini golf at McInnis Park in San RafaelI'd driven by McInnis Park off Smith Ranch Road in San Rafael many times before I realized that—hidden amongst the driving range, nine-hole golf course, clubhouse, and batting cages—there was a miniature golf course there too (it was the a little windmill and castle on the hill that tipped me off). Since then, it's been a favorite place for us to go with the kids for a fun day out.

McInnis Park's miniature golf course is a colorful, 18-hole, artist-designed course with fanciful features including an elephant with moving feet, a snail, a castle, a lighthouse, a waterfall, and a much more. The tiered, lushly landscaped course winds its way up a hill as you play and the views from the top are spectacular.

The course also offers two bonus holes at the end. Keep your ball after the 18th hole, then go down below to the bonus course that includes a dinosaur, which is always a favorite with my kids.

Tips for a Sensational Spa Birthday Party

February 24, 2014

Spa PartyMy daughter recently turned eight, and she decided on a spa theme for her birthday party. I wasn't sure where to begin, but we made a list together of things she wanted for her party, and with a little research and planning, it all came together. When the day of the party arrived we were both thrilled with the results, and her friends were, too! I forgot how much work it was to plan a party like this, but I wouldn't have done it any other way.

I thought I'd share a few or our tips and must-haves for a successful kids' spa-themed birthday party. Much of what we did was inexpensive and easy to put together, and everyone really had a good time.

Your Child's the Star with Marin Magician Julian Sterling

May 31, 2013

Magician Julian SterlingLooking for a fantastic and fun magician for your child's next birthday party? Local magician and children's performer Julian Sterling offers parties for kids of all ages where birthday boy or girl ends up being the star of the show!

Julian is the youngest professional magician in Marin County, and has tailored his amazing magic show specifically for kids' birthday parties. The birthday child is always the star of the show, receiving several magical gifts during the performance, and even peforming a trick of their own in front of everyone! Julian has performed over 1,000 magic shows for clients in Marin and the Bay Area. His tricks are designed to make kids laugh, and are fun, friendly, safe, and age-appropriate.

Julian's a pro who arrives on time, brings all his own equipment, and cleans up afterwards. All you have to do is buy pizza and cake and invite your party guests! Birthday magic programs start $195, and shows last up to one hour. The birthday child even gets a complimentary magic set!

Make Your Child's Birthday Special with a Vintage Tea Party from Little Lady Tea Parties

April 23, 2013

Little Ladies Tea PartiesIf you're looking for an elegant birthday party for your special girl, check out the offerings from Little Ladies Tea Parties. Their vintage tea parties for girls ages 4 to 7 are held in your home, backyard or local park, and include decor, costumes, food, goodies, and even custom invitations and thank-you cards.

Little Ladies Tea Parties was started by North Bay mom Mary Viau who found the local options for girls' parties lacking. These vintage tea parties offer kids a taste of elegance and formality, with linens and china, hand-made costumes, and other treats. The best thing about them is that all you have to do is create the guest list and mail the invitations—they take care of the rest.

Parties start at $350 for seven guests and the birthday girl. Additional guests (up to 12) are $35 each. Parties include invitations, hostess, furniture and decor, costumes, tea and treats, cupcakes, music and dancing, craft time, framed photos of the birthday girl and her guests, a goody bar, set up and clean up, a brief lesson in tea etiquette, and thank you cards.

Roll into Fun at Cal Skate in Rohnert Park

February 20, 2013

Cal SkateRemember those days at the roller skating rink back when you were a kid? The disco ball, the DJ, and doing that arm thing when they played YMCA by the Village People? (Am I dating myself here?) If you're nostalgic for the days of skating gone by, head up to Cal Skate in Rohnert Park, which hasn't changed all that much since I used to skate here when I was a kid.

We visited Cal Skate a few months ago, and had a blast—my daughter keeps asking me when we can go back. The kids loved the music, the lighting, and the disco ball, as well as skating, of course. They definitely picked roller skating up faster than ice skating, which they also love to do.

Lace up your skates—you can rent them or bring your own, if you have them—and hit the rink. Cal Skate offers special Kids' Skate sessions for families during the week, on Mondays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 11:30 am. These sessions for children ages 2 to 10 cost $6 and include instruction and quad skate rental, and parents can walk out onto the rink to lend a hand. They also offer a family night on Saturday evenigs from 6-8:30 pm and public skating during the week (times vary). Check out their weekly schdule here.

Marin on Ice Opens this Saturday at Northgate

November 7, 2012

Marin on IceThis Saturday, November 10 from noon to 10 pm, Marin on Ice opens at San Rafael's Northgate Mall. Open through January 13, 2013, Marin County's only holiday ice skating rink features 5,000 square feet of real ice and will be open daily for outdoor skating. You no longer have to head up to Santa Rosa or down to San Francisco to get your holiday ice skating fix!

Special sessions at Marin on Ice include Wednesday "Mommy and Me" skating time geared toward young children and their parents, "Family Night" on Tuesday, and "Rock the Rink" on Friday evenings. Skating is $15 per person, which includes skate rental. Private ice cabanas will also be available for rental, and "Skate Buddies" will be on hand to assist beginners.

Marin on Ice also offers birthday parties during public skating hours. The cost is $300 for up to 10 skaters, and two-hour parties include a private ice cabana, skate rental for everyone, chairs, a special birthday announcment on Rink Radio, and a ride for the birthday boy or girl on the rink's mini zamboni. The rink's three ice cabanas can be combined so parties can be for 10, 20, or 30 people. Private rink rentals are also available for your group, organization, or business.

Have a Love2Dance Birthday Party

May 16, 2012

Do your children love to dance? Most kids do, so why not consider a dance birthday party when that time of the year rolls around. Both of my children (ages 5 and 8) recently went to birthday parties at Novato's Love2Dance dance studio. I attended both parties and have to say both of them were an absolute blast.

While Love2Dance is a serious dance studio—owner Tara-Caprice Broadwater is a former Golden State Warrior dancer with over two decades of dance experience—their birthday parties are for children with little or no dance experience who just want to have fun. Of course if you know how to dance, that makes things even better.

Tips for Great Kids' Birthday Parties from A Little Savvy Event

May 7, 2012

Birthday party at Modern Cookie CompanyIf you're a parent (and you probably are if you're reading this), you know what a big job planning a child's birthday party is. Whether you plan a party yourself or hire a planner to do it, there's a lot of work to be done, but also a lot of fun to be had.

We asked Kelly McLeskey-Dolata , the party pro at  Sonoma's A Little Savvy Event for some of her tips for planning the perfect birthday party. A Little Savvy Event creates children's parties and showers and other once-in-a-lifetime events in Marin and the Wine Country that are stylish, whimsical, and fun, and consistently wow both kids and grownups. The photos accompanying this article are from the "Puppies and Polka-Dots" birthday party they recently organized at Larkspur's wonderful Modern Cookie Company for the daughter of local jewelry designer Ashley Morgan. Check out their website at alittlesavvyevent.com to learn more about them and their parties.

What's your singlemost important tip for parents planning their child's birthday party?

The party is for your child and about them, so really try to express who they are at that time in their life into the theme and the party!

Scavenger Hunt Birthday Parties at Powell's Sweet Shoppe in Novato

April 24, 2012

Powell's Sweet ShoppeSweet treats are always a favorite at birthday parties, so wouldn't it be amazing to have a birthday party in a candy store? Powell's Sweet Shoppe in downtown Novato offers fun and delicious scavenger hunt parties that allow you to do just that.

Each participating child gets a scavenger hunt map that lists over 30 different kinds of candy to search for. Kids then search around the store to find all the different varieties, and the map ends at the store's gelato counter where they each get a scoop. Best of all, children take home all the candy they find on their scavenger hunt. It's a fun and interactive way to celebrate a birthday.

Powell's is a nostalgic old-time candy store that's jam-packed with nearly every kind of candy you can think of—and probably a few kinds you didn't know existed. Just shopping here is like a scavenger hunt of sorts, and you never know when you'll run into a candy that you haven't had since you were a kid.

High-Flying Fun at San Francisco's House of Air

April 10, 2012

House of Air MatrixEveryone's been telling us how much fun they've had at the House of Air, San Francisco's indoor trampoline park, so we decided that it was high time we paid it a visit. House of Air is located in an historic airplane hangar at Crissy Field in the Presidio of San Francisco, and features 8,000 square feet of trampolines that allow you to jump, fly, flip, and have a blast.

We booked our session online (always a good idea at this busy place, it turns out), and headed south across the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike some places in San Francisco, there's plenty of free parking in the area, especially in the large lot adjacent to the beach.

When you go in, sign the waiver if you haven't already, then check in and get your bracelet. You either jump barefoot, or you can buy a pair of special House of Air trampoline socks to wear for $2. You'll jump in the Matrix, a large area of 42 interconnected trampolines, which includes the 2X Bowl, a special freestyle trampoline area modeled after a skate park. The House of Air's staff of Air Traffic Controllers give you a short briefing before your session, and then you're good to go. You also have access to the smaller Collosseum, a space with 22 conjoined trampolines that's used for organized sports like trampoline dodgeball.

Top Birthday Party Spots

What are Marin's top birthday party spots? Here are six most popular places to hold a birthday party in our Marin Birthday Party Guide.