If you’re getting eye rolls just uttering the words “bounce house” to your tween or teenager when birthday-party talk comes up, we’ve found 13 fresh party ideas at venues new and old, in Des Moines, all of which are sure to be a hit with the guest of honor and his or her (equally judgmental) friends. With birthday party ideas this cool, it’s a shame to celebrate but once a year.
Find more awesome kids’ birthday ideas in our jam-packed Birthday & Party Guide.
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Here’s 13 ideas for Tween and Teen Birthday Parties in Des Moines:
1. Arcade Birthday Party
Preteen boys and girls can’t seem to get enough of arcade games, so what’s better than a birthday party in an arcade! At The Operating Room – Pinball Bar Arcade, party guests can play in one of the largest arcades in Des Moines, filled with all sorts of popular video games, table games, driving games and more. Even though The Operating Room doesn’t have party packages, their games work on a game card system, you can purchase cards for your guests inside the arcade at a kiosk – and then let them roam around and find their favorite games to play.
Kids are allowed in the arcade from 3:00 to 6:00 pm on weekdays and 11:00 am to 6:00 pm on the weekends. It’s also, good to know that they do not serve food. The Operating Room recommends ordering pizza from Taste of New York Pizza or visiting one of the local restaurants in the West Glen Towncenter.
2. Art & Crafts Birthday Party
Schedule your “artsy-fartsy” tween or teen’s next birthday celebration at Board & Brush in Clive. Birthday party packages let guests channel their creativity into a unique and stylish wood sign project for two hours (ages 12-15), with time to enjoy parent-provided treats. Their private parties give your group exclusive use of the studio, which allows staff members to give kids one-on-one attention.
Their birthday party packages are $35 per teen and includes studio time, all of the materials, guided instruction, guests will take home their project and Board and Brush handles all of the set up and clean-up.
3. Cooking themed Birthday Party
Do you have a tween or teen that can’t get enough of cooking shows like Cupcake Wars or Chopped? Future chefs can hone their skills with a cooking themed birthday party. Real Food 4 Kids in West Des Moines will work with the birthday boy or girl to create a menu of something fun and unique to make and of course sample at their party.
Party packages start at $180 for kids ages five and up. To book a private party with Real Food 4 Kids you can either email them or book on-line.
4. Escape Room Birthday Party
The “Escape” experiences are all the rage and the Des Moines area is definitely not being left behind! Escape Chambers is located in Downtown Des Moines and is a great place to host a birthday party for a tween or teen. Players work in teams to solve puzzles and brainteasers in order to “escape” the room in which they’re trapped — before time runs out. Room themes include favorites like “The Recruit,” “The Party Room,” and “The Warlock.” They offer a variety of party packages and it’s a great team-building activity which is key in the tween and teen years!
Escape room parties are recommended for kids ages 13 and up. You can reserve your birthday party date on-line or by calling (515) 528-8414.
5. Fun Run Party
Crazy themed fun runs are super trendy these days and are a great way to celebrate happiness, health and the spirit of the birthday boy or girl. Check out races like the Great Inflatable Race, Iowa Games Mud Run, Glow Run, Diva Dash, the Hot Cider Hustle, and more.
Registering a bunch of kids for a fun run may be a bit tricky and expensive. If your child wants to invite more than three or four kids to their celebration, consider setting up your own fun run along a trail or through your neighborhood.
6. Mini Golf Birthday Party
Hosting a round of Miniature Golf probably reminds you of your own middle school outings, and in some cases, the venues haven’t changed much, with the same green Astroturf on the course. But in other cases, they’ve grown to amusement park-proportions, with an over-stimulating variety of activities to choose from. Either way, kids still love to get their tee-time, and birthdays on the mini-green can be convenient for you and fun for them.
Here’s a great list of Miniature Golf Courses in the Des Moines area to help you with your birthday party planning.
7. Outdoor Adventure Party
Parks like Big Creek State Park are filled with all kinds of fun activities to keep nature loving tweens and teens busy. Birthday party guests can hike, bike, swim or get out on the water in a kayak or paddleboard, whatever interests your outdoorsy tween or teen. With plenty of parking, on-site restrooms, and loads of picturesque photo ops, a park can be a perfect place to host their next birthday bash.
Check availability and book a shelter in advance online. Cost starts at $25 per day for up to fifty people, but if you’re hosting a small party, there are picnic tables you can use on a first-come-first-serve basis.
8. Outdoor Movie Party
Lights, camera.. Action! Why not take advantage of all of the fun FREE Outdoor Movie Nights that take place each summer throughout the metro? Tweens and teens will love watching a movie under the stars, with their besties. And, another great thing about these events is that many host fun activities that will keep party guests entertained before the movie.
Be sure to get to the venue early to stake out your territory and bring along some of your birthday kiddos favorite snacks to nosh on.
9. Spa Party
Who wouldn’t want to celebrate their birthday with a spa treatment? dsm Salon and Spa and Salon Spa W both offer group packages that include manicures, pedicures and facials. You can also check with your own salon to see what services they offer. Hosting a spa themed party at a local salon can be a bit pricey, consider keeping the invite list small to keep the cost down.
Another option is to stock up on beauty supplies for an at-home spa party. Set up different beauty stations, like a facial area, complete with cucumber slices and a face mask, and a hair table with an assortment of hair accessories. Serve finger sandwiches and mini pastries and provide spa-themed party favors.
10. Sports Themed Birthday Party
Reserve a section for party guests at one of Des Moines’ own sports teams. Depending on the time of year, you have the I-Cubs, Iowa Barnstormers, Des Moines Menace, Iowa Wild, Des Moines Buccaneers and Iowa Wolves. Call ahead about getting your tween or teen’s name on the scoreboard!
Another fun sports option is to host a party at Rally Times Sports Club in Pleasant Hill. They host birthday parties on Saturday nights from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Parties are $200 for the facility rental and you can bring your own food and decorations.
11. Stargazing Birthday Party
If you’re on the hunt for a truly unique party theme, why not plan a Stargazing Birthday Party?! You can take advantage of the many Stargazing events that take place throughout the year in Des Moines. Your tween or teen will love this idea and their friends will certainly be talking about how “out of this world” this party theme is!
Keep in mind that the success of a stargazing party will be contingent on the weather. You may need to have a back-up plan if it doesn’t end up cooperating.
12. Tea Party themed Birthday Party
For a more refined birthday party experience, try hosting a Tea Party at Miss Nini’s Fine Desserts. They’ll give the birthday boy or girl the royal treatment with delicious sweet and savory bites. Talk about yummy! Have party-goers wear their formal best to add an air of authenticity. A perfectly proper way to celebrate!
If you would like Miss Nini’s to play host to your tween or teen’s Tea Party, give them a call at (515) 264-2112 or stop by the Desserterie at 9500 University Avenue in West Des Moines/Waukee to book the party.
13. Volunteer Party
Birthday parties should be a blast, but they don’t necessarily need to be two hours of lavish expense resulting in a mountain of under-appreciated gifts. It can be easy to throw a party with a purpose. Organize a time for birthday party guests to work at a local food pantry, clothing closet or animal shelter and then take them out for ice cream or cupcakes after.
Make sure you have a brief discussion with the kids before you get started about why the birthday boy or girl has chosen to host a party with a purpose and who will benefit from their generosity. That way they can feel good about helping others. Isn’t that the greatest birthday gift of all?
Do you have any other cool tween or teen birthday party ideas? Help us all out and share them in the comments below!