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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Grand Slam Birthday Parties with the San Rafael Pacifics

April 3, 2013

San Rafael PacificsMany in Marin were excited last summer when the new San Rafael Pacifics minor league baseball team started its first season in Albert Park. They're back for 2013, and this year young sports fans can hold their birthday parties with the Pacifics at Kirby Cove in Albert Park!

Kirby Cove is perfect spot for children's birthdays, and can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 50 participants. Party guests will enjoy activities like Wiffle Ball games, ping pong, a basketball hoop, and more! Pacifics players and team mascot Sir Francis the Drake will also drop in and visit parties to say hello and sign autographs, too!

Game tickets, menu packages, and a variety of party add-on options are available. Albert Park is located near downtown San Rafael at Andersen Drive, Lindaro Street, and Albert Park Lane.

The San Rafael Pacifics minor league baseball team's opening game is on June 11. Check their game schedule here.

For more information on Pacifics birthday parties, or to reserve your spot, email kbiss@pacificsbaseball.com or call (415) 485-1563. Visit the Pacifics online at  www.pacificsbaseball.com.

Photo courtesy San Rafael Pacifics

Indoor Fun at PlayLand in Sausalito - New Hours

March 4, 2013

PlayLandIf you haven't been to the PlayLand indoor bounce house experience in the MLK Gym in Sausalito, it's definitely worth a visit, especially if it's rainy or cold and you can't play outside. PlayLand is a full-sized gymnasium full of inflatable bounce houses, including a 40-by-20-foot sports arena, a 15-foot slide, a bounce house with basketball hoop, and a toddler bounce zone.

My kids always have a blast playing here—sliding, jumping, bouncing, and playing games in a warm, safe, indoor environment. PlayLand was started by Marin dad Jeremy Williams, who also runs Mt. Tam Adventure Camps. He's often on site with several coaches who make sure that everyone has fun. During our last visit, a coach was making balloon animals for the kids, and there was even a remote controlled flying giant clownfish roaming the room. It's a fun and cool place to play in Marin.

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.

Birthday Party Fun at PlayLand in Sausalito

August 1, 2012

PlayLand birthday party at the MLK Gym in SausalitoThe PlayLand indoor bounce house experience in the MLK Gym in Sausalito is always a blast to visit. We recently attended a birthday party there, and everyone, kids of all ages and adults included, had a fantastic time! It's definitely a place to consider when planning your next children's party.

PlayLand is a full-sized gymnasium full of inflatable bounce houses, including a 40-by-20-foot sports arena, a 15-foot slide, a bounce house with basketball hoop, and a toddler bounce zone. PlayLand offers two different party packages: semi private weekday afternoon parties and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon private parties.

Weekday afternoon parties run for 1 hour and 30 minutes, and are for up to 12 children (you can pay for more). Two time slots are available, 2–3:30 pm and 3:45–5:15 pm. The cost is $150 for Sausalito residents and $160 for non-residents. You'll have exclusive use of a decorated private party room with balloons and table covers, and will share the bounce house facilities with the public. You'll need to provide all food, drink, and tableware, and alcoholic drinks are not allowed.

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.

Creative Hands-on Birthday Parties at Studio 4 Art

March 20, 2012

Art birthday party at Studio 4 Art in NovatoMy kids have been getting creative at Novato's Studio 4 Art since it opened on Grant Avenue a few years ago. We've all enjoyed their hands-on art workshops and classes. Studio owner Kebby McInroy recently opened the Studio 4 Art Annex around the corner from the main storefront, and we decided to hold my daughter's recent birthday party there. Needless to say, it was a big hit with all who attended!

The Annex is a cute little cottage that Studio 4 Art uses to hold parties, special events, and summer camps. It holds up to 20 children, who can work on a variety of different art projects around the two large tables in the space. The Annex space has bamboo floors, track lighting, kids' art on the walls, lots of natural light, and a warm, welcoming ambience.

For our party, we chose mosaic nameplates, which the girls crafted out of colorful ceramic letters and pieces of glazed ceramic tile. Each project was totally unique, and everyone was really proud of their creations. When everything's dry, you can hang them on the wall—they make great decorations for children's rooms.

Sugar Mama Cookies Offers Unique Creations for Birthdays and More

January 31, 2012

Sugar Mama CookiesInstead of a cake for your next birthday party, why not try offering custom sugar cookies? Sugar Mama Cookies, based in San Francisco, was started by mom Roxanne Pangilinan, whose unique, hand-decorated cookies are the highlight of many parties throughout the Bay Area.

All her cookies are made from scratch and baked to order and she offers gluten- and dairy-free cookies on requested. Pricing starts at $30 per dozen with an average price of $3–6 per cookie.

Popular designs include characters like Lightning McQueen from Pixar's Cars, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer, the Cookie Monster, and Elmo. Other shapes and themes are available of course—from a tutu/ballerina theme to a pirate theme party. Roxanne can even match an image from an invitation—customers will email her with their invitation or theme, and she'll get back to them with a few design options in a range of prices.

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.