Ivanka Milano, 3, of Aberdeen plays at Harford Gymnastics Club in Joppa, which offer a venue for children's birthday parties in Harford County.
Ivanka Milano, 3, of Aberdeen plays at Harford Gymnastics Club in Joppa, which offer a venue for children's birthday parties in Harford County. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Finding the right venue for a children’s birthday party can be tricky. You have to factor in personality of the birthday child and their friends, the size of the party and the cost.

We’ve taken some of the guesswork out of the process by finding some ideal party venues based on your type of child.

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For active children

Harford Gymnastics Club

(701 Whitaker Mill Road, Joppa, 410-877-8686, harfordgymnastics.com)

At Harford Gymnastics Club, where birthday parties have been offered for the past 40 years, kids can jump on trampolines, race through an obstacle course, and participate in a parachute activity that ends with a dive into a foam pit during a celebration.

Caleb Epperley, 4, left, of Abingdon and Jace Pickle, 4, of Joppa play at Harford Gymnastics Club.
Caleb Epperley, 4, left, of Abingdon and Jace Pickle, 4, of Joppa play at Harford Gymnastics Club. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

“It’s a fast-paced, action-packed party,” says director Teresa DiMauro. “The kids love going through the obstacle course.”

Parties are capped at 25 people. The cost ranges from $210 (for up to 15 children) to $280 (for up to 25 children). Nonmembers pay an additional $10.

In addition to all of the physical activities — there are climbing and swinging challenges — the gym provides all the setup and cleanup. The only thing that customers are responsible for is food, according to DiMauro.

Customers should book three months in advance as the club hosts a dozen weekend birthday parties a month, DiMauro says.

“We do take last-minute parties. But try and schedule early,” DiMauro advises.

For sweet-toothed kids

Jarrettsville Creamery

(1747 W. Jarrettsville Road, Jarrettsville, 410-692-5100, jarrettsvillecreamery.com)

An ice cream party for children is a no-brainer.

At Jarrettsville Creamery, it’s a first-come, first-served approach to birthday parties, according to general manager Marcus Stevenson.

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Employee Londin Wert poses with ice cream at Jarrettsville Creamery.
Employee Londin Wert poses with ice cream at Jarrettsville Creamery. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

“We don’t have a birthday room,” he explains. “They will come in, hang out, have ice cream and they are on their way.”

Customers can choose from 35 seats inside and an additional 16 outside, all while eating soups, salads, and assorted hot and cold sandwiches and, of course, homemade ice cream and ice cream cakes. In addition to 24 flavors of ice cream, the shop also carries two types of Italian ice for lactose-intolerant customers. Ice cream cakes typically come in vanilla and chocolate. But with two weeks’ notice, the shop can customize the cakes to come in any of the 24 flavors. They range in price from $19.99 for a 7-inch cake to $36.99 for a sheet cake.

For the artsy set

Amazing Glaze

(5 Bel Air S. Parkway, Bel Air, 410-569-9502, amazingglaze.net)

Choose from plate- and picture frame-decorating classes to creating glass pendant and earring sets. There is also a two-hour canvas-making party for $30 a child that includes a 14-by-18-inch canvas, smocks, paints, balloons and paint supplies. The newly added “Sweets & Treats Party” allows party-goers to decorate dessert-themed pottery while enjoying a choice of three flavors of smoothies from Smoothie King for dessert. That 90-minute party, which is available for ages 5 and up, costs $27.50 per child.

Children and their mothers, including Mindy Henderson of Fawn Grove, Pa., seated in front with her daughter, Maylee Henderson, 4, listen to Zoe Jones as she reads a story before the children paint ceramics at Amazing Glaze last year.
Children and their mothers, including Mindy Henderson of Fawn Grove, Pa., seated in front with her daughter, Maylee Henderson, 4, listen to Zoe Jones as she reads a story before the children paint ceramics at Amazing Glaze last year. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

The most popular package is the Amazing Party, which includes food, paper products and a hand-painted birthday plate made by the staff of Amazing Glaze. The birthday child gets to pick the design on the plate, and all the party-goers get to sign the back, according to store manager Zoe Jones.

Most parties have a minimum of eight children with a maximum of 20. Parties will have access to the businesses refrigerator and freezer the day of the party.

Book a month in advance, Jones recommends. “They book up pretty quick,” she said.

For swimmers

Aqua Culture Swim School

(2213-A Commerce Road, Forest Hill, 410-420-7665, aquacultureswimschool.com)

For the past 15 years, Harford County residents have flocked to Aqua Culture Swim School.

With a 25-by-60-foot indoor pool, this is a great location for your aspiring Michael Phelps or Katie Ledecky.

Parties last two hours and cost $100 for a minimum of eight children. You can increase the number of children by increments of four for an additional $50 per increment. Cupcakes and party favors are included in the cost. The venue typically books about four birthday parties a month.

“Book the parties two to three months in advance,” advises Casey Keener, party coordinator for the school. “But if we have availability, we’ll book it.”

For bouncers

That Bouncy Place

(8 Newport Drive F, Forest Hill, 410-638-5004, thatbouncyplace.com)

Who doesn’t like massive inflatables, slides and variations of bounce houses? The 12,000-square-foot facility filled with eight bounce arenas is perfect for your adrenaline-seeking party-goers.

Iris Baker, 4 enjoys a slide during an afternoon at That Bouncy Place.
Iris Baker, 4 enjoys a slide during an afternoon at That Bouncy Place. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

In addition to a 780-square-foot Tadpole Bounce for ages 3 and under, there is also an arcade and a large-screen TV with sports. There are also two 400-square-foot party rooms that seat 40 people each.

Parties range from $175 plus tax for the Leap Frog Party, which is a 90-minute semi-private play and party split between two bounce arenas and a party room for 25 children, to $250 plus tax for the Grand Hopper Party for two hours of play and partying for 25 children.

For tweens

Black Eyed Suzie’s

(119 S. Main St., Bel Air, 443-371-7993, black-eyed-suzies.com)

A restaurant and bar might not seem like an ideal location for a children’s birthday party. But Black Eyed Suzie’s in Bel Air has a considerable number of offerings for children.

The restaurant also has a variety of children’s non-alcoholic drinks and mocktails — the cherry limeade and the tropical Arnold Palmer are popular. There’s an extensive children’s menu that ranges from Kraft mac and cheese to grilled salmon and veggies.

The restaurant offers an event space and rooftop bar patio in addition to the large restaurant space.

For the paint ball lover

Robinhood Paintball

(2429 Old Robin Hood Road, Havre de Grace, 410-273-9291, robinhoodpaintball.net)

Located on a 10-acre property in Havre de Grace, Robinhood Paintball offers traditional paintball and low-impact paintball birthday parties. Participants must be at least 10 years old to play.

The venue charges $18 per person for 10 people or more, with an unlimited number of players allowed and no time limit.

The paint is $45 per case of 2,000 balls — with an average of 800 paintballs used per person for a four-hour time period. The facility offers a table that can be used to serve whatever food and cake the partygoers bring.

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