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Birthday Themes for Tweens and Teens
Is your child too old for clowns, jumpees or crafts? Here are 12 Birthday Party Ideas That Even Your Teen Will Enjoy. Please contact the companies directly for updated pricing and availability:
1. Indoor Skydiving. Take your birthday kid to iFly SF Bay for an experience they’ll never forget. Imagine the thrill of skydiving without the danger. Skydivers freefall through the air at 120 mph and up. iFly is a vertical wind tunnel. You’ll float on a cushion of air within feet of your instructor. The safe setting is suitable for children ages 7 & up. Adults will love the experience as well.The facility offers individual packages as well las group packages. For individuals, packages range from $49.95 & up for two flights. Group packages start at $199.95 & up. Some packages offer a DVD of your flight so you can relive the excitement for years to come.In the words of one 13 year old boy, “It was scary at first, but after it was over I wanted to do it again!”
2. Trampoline Park
Does your birthday kid have a lot of energy? Take the party to the House of Air in San Francisco. Located in the Presidio (next to Planet Granite rock climbing), the 10,000 sq.ft warehouse accommodates 67 conjoined trampolines to make up three distinct areas: the Matrix, the Colosseum, and the Training Ground. At the north end of the Matrix is where you’ll find the double bowl, an elevated structure resembling a bowl at a skateboard or ski park. The Colosseum is where jumpers can plan dodge ball, and the Training Ground is where you’ll find wakeboarders, skiers, skateboarders, and other athletes perfecting their moves mid-air. For this area, a safety harness is used, and reservations are required.
For little jumpers (ages 5 & under) there’s a jump house. While safety at the House of Air is encouraged, it is not guaranteed. You can see why they have you sign a liability waiver before allowing your child to jump. Check out their safety video here.
Individual tickets are $13 an hour.
They also offer birthday party packages which allow you to jump for up to 2 hours and use the private room for food.
3. Beach Party in Marin
Being so close to the bay, there are numerous choices for beach parties. Here are just some of the many locations:
- Stinson Beach, Dress in layers as even on the warmest day inland, it can be a bit chilly towards the coast. Get there early if you want to reserve a picnic table with barbeque grill. For dessert, treat the kids to soft-serve ice cream from the small snack shack. If your kids are really energetic, park at Pantoll and take the steep ravine trail to Stinson. This takes preparation because you’ll want to leave cars there ahead of time so the party won’t have to hike back.
- Point Reyes Beaches. One of my favorite’s is Heart’s Desire beach because it is sheltered and usually warmer. Also, the waters are calmer.
- Muir Beach
- McNear’s Beach – San Rafael
4. Pool Party
No matter how cold it is, kids always seem to like pool parties. Here are some facilities that rent out their pools.
- Strawberry Recreation District, Mill Valley, You have the option to have up to 15 people during regular pool hours, or you can have the entire pool with lifeguards after hours.
- Mill Valley Community Center, Mill Valley
- Rolling Hills Meridian, Novato
- Hamilton Pool, Novato
- Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
5. Paintball/Laser Tag
Boys especially love paintball as it mixes warfare with messy paint and cool equipment. What more could you ask for?
Some things to think about: Some parents may have an issue with the whole concept of shooting. The cost of parties gets a bit expensive. Keep in mind that you not only need to rent the equipment, but the cost of the ammo (paintballs) can run up a pretty hefty tab. Do your research before booking. Make sure you tell the participants to “dress for mess” and bring an extra pair of shoes. I’ve been told by an experienced mom that some paint pellets can be oily…you really don’t want that all over your car!
Here are some locations in the bay area for paintball and laser tag:
- Escape in Rhonert Park (paintball, airsoft guns, laser tag opening March 26th)
- Midway Paintball
- Tag Paintball
- Let’s Play Laser Tag (laser tag parties to go)
- Laser Tag of Santa Rosa
- Q-Zar, Concord (laser tag)
6. Video Game Party
Holding a video gaming party has never been so easy. Just book your party and the gaming truck will come to you!
Accommodating up to 24 participants Games 2 U offers party goers a choice from a variety of game systems including PS3, Xbox and Wii. There are even screens set up on the exterior of the truck for Wii games.
What to think about: While the game-playing will be the main attraction, you’ll still need to have a place to serve the food. Some kids might have a strong preference for what system they play on (i.e., PS3), so the other systems may not be very popular. Discuss the game options with the company as some parents may not allow their children to play games with a “Teen” or “Mature” rating.
7. Amusement Park
Six Flags Marine World – Vallejo
Get out early and spend the entire day at Six Flags where the kids play games, ride roller coasters, watch whales and run wild. Ticket prices vary depending upon the season (the highest price is during the summer months, of course). If you search online you can often find a discount offer.
What to think about: You cannot bring your own food so when planning for a group you’ll need to factor in the food price and parking. It can also get extremely hot during the summer so remember to bring lots of sunscreen.
8. Angel Island
Spend the day at Angel Island. You can hike, bike or take a tour. You can even rent segways and take them around the island. Check out the historical baseball field or hang out on the small beach. There’s a small barbeque area as well. The kids will even have fun getting there on the ferry!
9. Go Kart Racing
Gentlemen and women start your engines. Even big kids love go karts! Some companies require children to take a Jr. driving class before they can use the race tracks. Also, they all have minimum height requirements and require a signed liability waiver so make sure you get the details!
10. Party at the Park
Weather permitting, you can have a party at the park. Make sure you check with the Parks and Rec department of the city to see if you are required to pay a fee, or get a permit.
Games to play: Capture the flag, nerf gun wars (make sure you pick up all the “ammo” at the end of the game), flag football, kickball.
For the adventurous type rent a Humungous Hamster ball. Imagine getting inside of a giant inflatable ball and bouncing and rolling all the way down a hill! That’s what you’ll be able to do by renting a giant hamster ball.
11. Sports Party
Sporting Event. Take the kids to a sporting event. It doesn’t have to be a professional team. It’s just as fun to watch college level games. Here are some links:
- Golden State Warriors (Basketball)
- San Jose Sharks (Hockey)
- San Francisco Giants (Baseball-starts in spring. In the off season, you can tour AT&T Park (Home of the SF Giants!)
- Stanford University
- Cal Bears UC Berkeley
- Sonoma State University
- San Francisco State University
Take them to the Athletic Edge in Petaluma for batting cages and pizza.
12. Make Your Own Party – Spaces to Rent
Be creative. I rented the Strawberry Recreation gym and had a massive dodge ball party for my niece’s birthday.
- Mill Valley Community Center
- Strawberry Recreation Center
- San Rafael
- Corte Madera
- Tam Valley
Many of these organizations offer seasonal opportunities, but some are year round. If you know of any organizations to be added to this list, please conmment! Thanks.
Conservation Corps North Bay (age varies per project) Originally in existence as the Marin Conservation Corps, this organization goal is to harness the energy of youth to preserve and protect the environment so that the entire community profits.
Exploratorium High School Explainers (high school kids ages 15-18) As one of the Mediated Experience departments within the Exploratorium, the High School ExplainerProgram offers a temporary work-based educational enrichment program for high school age students.Explainers work with visitors and hands-on exhibits in a facilitator type program while learning in a science museum setting.
Guide Dogs for the Blind Summer Internship Program (Age: 16 years & up)
Hands on Bay Area (Ages Vary) This organization links willing volunteers to various projects based on age parameters. There is a registration fee for adults and children.
Marin County Youth Commission (Age 12 & up) Marin County Youth Commission is an official advisory commission to the Marin County Board of Supervisors. With 20 seats for young people who The commissioners act as a political voice for the youth for the youth of Marin.
Marin County Youth Health Advisory Commission( Age 13 & up) The MYHAC is a diverse group of young people from all over the County. MYHAC members implement community action projects aimed at promoting the health and well being of young people. MYHAC has done work with surveys in high schools and liquor stores, signage in parks, and initiated changes in policies in various communities.
Marin Headlands Institute TEEM (Teen Environmental Educational Mentorship) Teen Environmental Education Mentorship (TEEM) is a paid environmental education internship and leadership program for San Francisco and Marin high school students. TEEM interns gain first-hand knowledge about the field of environmental education through field trips, one-on-one mentorships with our professional educators, and by leading interactive activities with our elementary school participants.
Marin Search and Rescue (a division of the sheriff’s office) Age 14 & up. Made up of about 50% adults and 50% youth, this division of the sheriff’s office not only searches for people in the wilderness and urban settings, but also deals with natural disasters and pretty much anything which involves injured or missing people.
Marine Mammal Center Youth Volunteers, Sausalito Ages 14 – 17. This experience allows students to work alongside adults, develop interpersonal skills, and observe a variety of marine science related careers and gives them the opportunity to be involved in marine mammal conservation.
Milo Marin, 2060 4th Street, San Rafael. Foster a dog or cat! The Milo Foundation needs both long term and short term foster homes for their many animals. Check out their website for more information.
Mountain Play Volunteers (10 & up). Positions vary. Volunteers who are 13 years or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Seasonal
NorthBayInterns.com Locate internship possibilities and research local employers, plus learn more about how intern programs work and how they enhance academic and career development.
The Stream Team, Point Reyes National Seashore. The Stream Team volunteer assists park staff in improving fish habitat for federally listed coho salmon and steelhead trout through streamside restoration.
Teens Turning Green is a Teens Turning Green is a student led movement devoted to education and advocacy around environmentally and socially responsible choices for individuals, schools, and communities. We seek to promote global sustainability by identifying and eliminating toxic exposures that permeate our lives and threaten public and environmental health. To start a chapter in your area, click here!
Teen Advisory Group (TAG) Novato Libary, 1720 Novato Blvd. Middle School and High School Teens. Help the Novato Library create interesting teen programs. Join our monthly Teen Advisory Group (TAG), have fun, and earn community service hours! Refreshments will be provided.Meetings are held on the second Wednesdays 3:30-4:30pm.Webstar Computer Assistants at the Marin City Library. Your teen can get paid for helping others with computers! Watch this video.
Wildcare Student Volunteers (Ages 12-17) Summer Program. 76 Albert Park Lane, San Rafael. Wildcare offers hands on experience to educate and inform students of the plight of wildlife and our environemnt. They see first hand the results of humans’ dire’t and indirect influence on Marin’s native wildlife, both negative and positive.l Working at WildCare empowers students with their ability to affect change.
Youth Court Serves minors between the age of 10 – 17. If your child is accepted as a peer juror, she/he will hear juvenile cases and help serve as determine sentences of other juveniles. Youth Court is designed to educate youth about the juvenile justice system. The Marin YMCA administers Youth Court, in collaboration with the Court, District Attorney’s Office, Office of the Public Defender, Probation Department, Marin County Bar Association and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission. Read this article from SFGate http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/04/14/DDLU1IG63I.DTL
Youth Service Challenge. The Youth Service Challenge is all about challenging America’s youth (college age and below) to come up with great BIG, meaningful community service projects. Do great work in the community, register your service project, and compete for national and local prizes. Your child can enter any activity he or she ran or participated in between Oct. 1, 2010 – April 15, 2011. Register by April 17, 2011.
American Red Cross Lifeguard Training, Terra Linda Community Center, 670 Del Ganado Rd., San Rafael (415) 385-3344 Saturdays 3/5 – 3/26, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm (Age 15 years old by the end of the course and must also successfully complete various swimming skills). This course teaches the skills and knowledge needed to prevent and respond to aquatic emergencies. The course content and activities prepare candidates to recognize and respond quickly and effectively to emergencies and how to prevent drowning and injuries.
Belvedere-Tiburon Recreation Summer Camp Counselors in Training (Must have at least completed the 7th grade). Duration 2 weeks. Cost $100.
Mill Valley Parks & Rec Summer Camp Counselors in Training (Ages 13 – 15) CITs get work experience by assisting camp staff. Interview required.
Strawberry Recreation Department Counselor in Training Summer Program (Ages 11-15) This program gives young teens a chance to get hands on experience working in a camp environment