If hosting your child’s birthday at home is out of the question, don’t sweat it; Beijing has many venues that can host a party for a reasonable fee, and we’ve tried to keep prices under RMB 150 per child. Some of these locations are booked solid for up to six months in advance, so it’s never too early to pick up the phone.
Ages 2-10. baby international offers pizza making for younger kids and their parents. Sessions cost RMB 69 per child, with a 50 percent discount available for birthdays. The center can also make a 8-inch or 10-inch birthday cake (RMB 600/780), arrange a treasure hunt for RMB 50 per child, and arrange additional activities like face painting, balloon artists, clowns, magicians, arts and crafts, and games (RMB 900-3,680). Gung-Ho also offers pizza-making classes for RMB 80 per child (Lido branch only). The restaurant preps ingredients and does the cooking, leaving young guests to choose and arrange their own toppings. For information on pizza-making parties at PizzaExpress, see p26.
Ages 2-10. ABC Kids Club, a bilingual cooking club founded by Chinese-American mom Hwa Wu, holds birthday cooking classes and necklace-, hat-, or hairclip-making parties for RMB 100-150 per person (maximum ten kids). Wu can also custom-make cakes for any theme or size (RMB 500-1,000).
Ages 7-14. Getting the correct notes, tone, or pitch is not what Trash Bash is about. Rather, a facilitator uses repurposed materials such as empty five-gallon water cans, PVC pipes, and glasses filled with water to create all kinds of noise with kids. Groups are limited to 5-15 people and a session costs RMB 2,500 for two hours (venue not included).
Ages 10+. A national pastime, KTV (or karaoke) involves belting out famous tunes off-key with friends. Packages at Party World range from RMB 400-1,000. If you have more than 25 guests, there’s a package for RMB 2,000 with different food sets. The price includes use of a KTV room for five hours, fruits, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, and food. The latter is mainly Chinese, with few western options.
Ages 6+. Laser tag involves two teams battling it out with laser guns, the goal being to eliminate members of the other team. Star Trooper Laser Tag doesn’t have birthday packages, but a large group can rent out the entire venue (weekdays only) for RMB 1,880 per hour. The regular price is RMB 50 per person, per 15-minute game, with 4-24 players allowed at any given time.
Ages 7+. Knocking down ten pins with a heavy ball is a quintessential birthday activity. One of the better venues in Beijing is SMJ Bowling Club (also known as Cosmic Bowling) at Lido Place, which include 20 lanes and a pool table. Bumpers are available for younger kids. Prices range from RMB 100-200 per hour depending on the time of day, mornings being cheaper than evenings. The pool table can be rented separately for RMB 50 per hour and shoe rentals cost RMB 5 per pair. Outside food is allowed, but not drinks.
This article originally appeared on p56-59 in the November 2014 issue of beijingkids. To view it online for free, click here (insert the link where the word-here- is http://issuu.com/beijingkids/docs/beijingkidsnov2014) To find out how you can obtain your own copy, email email@example.com.