The Best Kids Birthday Party Ideas in Canberra

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The National Dinosaur Museum is one of Canberra’s most recommend birthday party destination for kids. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Children love birthday parties. For parents, however, planning, organising and running a kid’s birthday party can be stressful and take a lot of time and effort. Even small-scale celebrations need food, drinks, invitations, decorations and activities.

Whether you’d prefer to let someone else do all the work, or don’t mind a more hands-on approach, you’ll want to ensure your child’s special day is one to remember.

In this article, we’ll outline what to consider when choosing a venue for your kid’s party, and share some of the best venues in Canberra.

What makes a great kids birthday party?

Like any event, the secret to a great kid’s birthday party is planning. Doing everything you can to get organised well ahead of the party helps the day run smoothly. That includes deciding on a theme, activities and a venue.

It can be helpful to keep the following in mind with your child’s party.

  • Venue. Successful parties can be planned at short notice, but if you’re looking to hire a venue you may need to book several weeks (or even months) in advance.
  • Activities. There’s no end to the type of activities you can have. Don’t go overboard with the number of activities. If you’re organising the party on your own, you’ll need supplies for games or other activities. If you’d prefer, hire a party organiser or select a venue set up to run activities.
  • Number and age of guests. The number and age of guests is important when deciding which venue to choose. Some venues are suited to smaller parties while others can easily handle larger parties.
  • Budget. Set a budget and stick to it. Without a set budget you may get lost when deciding on a venue or activity. Memorable kids parties don’t have to cost an arm and a leg but some cost more than others.
  • Food and cake. Incorporate this into your budget. Do you want just snacks or a full meal, for example? Consider if guests have food allergies or intolerances. Decide if you’ll make the food or have a supplier do so. The same goes with the birthday cake. Will you create a memorable one or source from a specialty cake place?

The best kids birthday party venues in Canberra

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

National Dinosaur Museum

National Dinosaur Museum

Want a dino-mite kid’s birthday party with the giants of the past? The National Dinosaur Museum is a venue the kids will never forget. Day and night party options are available, with hands-on activities and unique photo opportunities making for an impressive birthday experience.

The two-hour party program includes fossil casting workshop, guided museum tour, T.rex tooth experience, dinosaur excavation activity and a themed party room for food and cake. Guests receive unlimited museum access after the party ends.

Food can be self-catered, or museum catering can be ordered in advance. Minimum age: children turning 6 years old. Minimum 10 children and maximum 20 per party. Day parties available Saturdays and Sundays. Night parties Fridays and Saturdays.

Parents who want to organise their own party can hire the themed dinosaur party room. Bookings can also be made online.

Dan Sutherland wrote on Facebook, “We had our son’s 7th birthday party there and it was perfect. Great host who was fantastic with the kids, informative tour just for them, day pass to the museum, digging for fossils… getting to hold part of a real T-Rex tooth, and getting a party bag to take home at the end… Fantastic way to engage kids for a couple of hours, and very easy going on the parents. Highly recommended!”

Zone 3

Zone 3 has been hosting kids birthday parties for kids in Canberra forever and knows how to do it well. Laser tag is fun, noisy and active. Available to kids aged 6 and up. Everyone gets a briefing before they play. Tuesday to Thursday party specials are available.

Janet O’Dell-Teys wrote on Google, “Fantastic fun for all ages. Great for groups, birthdays or a fun night out.”

Canberra Indoor Rock Climbing

Indoor Rock Climbing is an active birthday party for groups of 10 or more with no time limit on the party. This is a great way to have fun and exercise at the same time. Access downloadable birthday invites are available. Two locations (Hume and Mitchell).

On Google Sharon Babyack wrote, “So much fun rock climbing, a great activity to do with the kids.”

Power Kart Raceway

Power Kart Raceway hosts parties for kids aged 6 to 16 and has birthday packages to suit every budget. Safety is a priority but that never stops kids from having a fun-filled and memorable time.

As Joseph Willmott wrote on Google, “Very well-kept facilities. Very friendly and helpful staff. Very large range of activities. Whole family had a blast!”

ZONE BOWLING Tuggeranong

Bowling, laser tag and a handful (or two) from the Candy Caddy can be included in birthday packages for kids aged 5 and up at ZONE BOWLING. Midweek birthday specials and extra cake decorations are also available. Parties are great for kids of any age.

On Google, Daniel Tyson wrote, “It’s a pretty good experience and a load of fun for kids and adults of all ages.”

Canberra Reptile Zoo

Birthday parties at the Canberra Reptile Park are educational and fun. There are more than 50 species of reptile and frogs for the kids to meet and learn about while eating birthday cake and socialising.

Matt Portelli wrote on Google, “An excellent place for all ages. Plenty of exhibits with some even being hands on. Very friendly and informative staff. There’s even a playground for the children.”

If you’re looking for more information on kids birthday parties, you might like our articles on custom birthday cakes in Canberra, school holiday activities in Canberra and, if you’re planning a big celebration, the best function venues in Canberra.

Your experience with kids parties in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the kids’ party venues listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far in advance should I start planning for my child’s birthday party?
The earlier the better is always the way to go, but lead time will be influenced by the type of party you’re hosting. If it’s a small number of kids at your home, you won’t need as much planning time as if you’re hosting a larger number of kids with several activities.
How many kids should I invite?
This depends on your budget, the size and type of venue and, of course, your child’s personality. Shyer children may not want a super big party. Extroverts may want more friends to come along.
What if I don’t have a lot of time to organise a party?
If you’re super busy with work or other priorities and don’t have time to organise a party, get external party planning help. If your budget allows, select a venue that will handle all the organising.
How do I decide on a theme?
This depends on budget, your child’s personality, the venue and even time of year. Summer, for example, may be perfect for an outdoor party. This might be tricker in winter. If you’re stuck for ideas you can always search online.
Do I need goody bags?
Many birthday parties do have goody bags, but you don’t need to spend a fortunate or be too elaborate. A few lollies, novelty toys or inexpensive items will make guests smile.

What's Your Opinion?


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26 Responses to The Best Kids Birthday Party Ideas in Canberra
knowledgeseeker knowledgeseeker 11:31 pm 12 Oct 18

Hi guys , my son turns 3 in 2 months , and am looking for options to celebrate his bday where I can invite the parents and some older kids 8-12 years old aswell.. any suggestions please

canberrabollywood canberrabollywood 10:43 am 21 Jan 18

Organizing kids birthday parties can be hard. Here is an idea if your child likes dancing or want to try some new activity. We now offer dance class party for any ages (3 years upwards). Great way to keep them entertained for 1 hour plus while learning and dressing up in bollywood costumes. Dance Studios can be organised in any suburb in canberra. And depending on the studio chosen there will be areas for food/cake cutting celebrations. Enail us on canberrabollywood@bigpond.com and will make your kids party a truely memorable one.

Deborah Deborah 7:02 pm 13 Jun 14

Best kids parties I’ve been to (and hosted) have been Gymbaroo parties. They have a great set up for the food (which you bring yourself) and the kids have a fab time on the equipment too.

gladbag gladbag 10:43 am 13 Jun 14

Belco Gymnastics = Canberra City Gymnastics Club, College Street, Bruce

switch switch 6:26 pm 12 Jun 14

leoplanet said :

Where is the Belconnen Gymnastics Centre?

In Belconnen.

leoplanet leoplanet 4:42 pm 12 Jun 14

aronde said :

Our six year old had his party at the Belconnen Gymnastics centre. It was great for the kids and the parents. The kids were entertained by two staff for 90 minutes and had a blast jumping in the cushion pit, negotiating obstacle courses, doing parachute games etc. In fact all the parents of the other kids left and we just sat and watched and drank coffee! Last 30 minutes you sit them all at a table with chips and drink (supplied by you), cut the cake and sing happy birthday then all the other parents come and take them home. Perfect! Much better then doing it at home and we had the whole place to ourselves.

Where is the Belconnen Gymnastics Centre? Do you have an address or number??

dtc dtc 6:03 pm 21 Aug 12

allyroger said :

Leaning towards the gymnastics in Belco for this year or the CSIRO Discovery centre. Given my daughter will be 5, is this too young for either of these?

My daughter had her 5th at the gymnastics, so that is no problem; they look after them well. I recommended them last year and still think its one of the best parties she has had (although the eating room is just a little kitchenette)

CSIRO might be a year or two away – depends on her concentration span (and those of her friends) and ability to sit still and no squash the mices.

allyroger allyroger 3:53 pm 21 Aug 12

Have to resurrect this great thread, it helped my last year when we chose Cherry Seed which was really good. Staff were nice, kids played traditional games and ate and decorated cup cakes.

Went to a kids party at the mpower dome recently and apart from it being freezing, was really good, kids got to run around and play sporty games and have a lot of fun.

Leaning towards the gymnastics in Belco for this year or the CSIRO Discovery centre. Given my daughter will be 5, is this too young for either of these?

Chop71 Chop71 3:10 pm 29 Sep 11

The Pot Belly – Belconnen 🙂

gourmetmumma gourmetmumma 2:55 pm 29 Sep 11

Thanks for the feedback again everyone…she loves the idea of gymnastics so we’ve booked in. Last available booking mind you as they are all booked out till Christmas! I’m hoping this is a good sign 🙂

gladbag gladbag 11:07 pm 25 Sep 11

CISAC – they do parties, the kids swim and slide and have fun, the food is standard and pale, cant remember the coffee – was to scared someone would drown so spent the party pacing the pool.
Kids City – Kids love it – really a long time for parents – food is awful and pale
Monkey Mania – bit better than kids city (if you can go on the falling net thingy it is seriously fun), foods ok, but the noise is awful – you will have a headache afterwards.
Questacon – Very controlling – not what a kids party should be
Federation Square – gentle and kids like it
Zone3 – older kids love it, pretty fun for parents too (only time you can legally shoot someone else’s child)
Fun Factory – Haven’t been to the new venue – don’t know if they still have the bumper cars which was the only attraction above Kids City in the old venue
Park next to Ginninderra Lake – Good equipment, kids get lost but they do get found again – success depends on weather and number of spare clothes
Small train rides at the Train museum in Kingston – only open once a month but the little ones love it – self catering picnic and unending train rides – depending on weather again
Maccas with playground – the other parents will understand, the kids will still have fun and the coffee is ok.
Don’t stress too much – there is not really such a thing as a bad party at 7

Bad Seed Bad Seed 8:50 pm 25 Sep 11

Anothe vote for Kid’s Pantry. We did the Mystery Box party earler this year (although your daughter is probably too young for that one). It is a really well run place with lots of staff that really take care of you (and are especially watchful over kids with allergies). Its on the expensive end but we don’t do parties every year so were okay with it. My kids (9 and 11) both love Zone 3 and have for a couple of years but if your party is all girls it might be less appropriate. Another option is Henry’s at the Southern Cross Club where you get fed and get tokens to play on the games machines – a bit like gambling for kids but hey, its another option. Both mine think that place is “awesome” -exchaning tokens for pieces of plastic crap or lollies – what more could you want? I would rather eat broken glass than go to Kid’s City – we have been to the one at DFO -Monkey Mania? Still loud but not nearly as bad -not as cavernous so not as echoey. Have fun deciding.

emmy-lou emmy-lou 1:51 pm 25 Sep 11

My nephew had his 7th birthday party at the CSIRO Discovery Centre this year – he had a fantastic time. There’s a spot near the cafe where you set up the food/cake/presents, then a staff member takes the kids for a bit & keeps them (& the parents) entertained. While I was there they brought out a couple of turtles, some stick insects, then moved onto another section where the kids put on lab coats & looked into microscopes, then my over-organised sister had arranged for them to make sherbert.

If the person with the right licence is there, I think the kids can even try their hand at making ice cream.

dtc dtc 1:25 pm 25 Sep 11

I will second the Beclo Gymnastics Centre. You do have to provide all your own food and drink and the eating room is spartan and small, but the kids have an absolutely fantastic time – and providing your own food means you have control. As a parent you dont have to do anything, although I have seen parents diving into the foam bit (which is harder to get out of than you might imagine)

Discovery Centre parties are also good, although maybe in a year or two – for slightly older kids I think, unless they are into sciency stuff.

Most kids love kid city; most adults dont. However kid city is a very common party venue so try something different. You will attend a party there sooner or later.

Some of the dance studios also run parties – they get the kids to dress up and teach them to dance etc. Depends on the kid of course. There is one in Mitchell that does this, although I can’t remember its name at the moment.

Zone 3 is for older kids – I have seen plenty of younger kids terrified by the maze/fighting area.

gourmetmumma gourmetmumma 7:39 pm 24 Sep 11

Wow what fabulous responses thanks heaps guys!!

Makesse…love the idea of Cherry Seed…I actually love not far from Fed square in Nicholls and I must admit I’ve never seen it! Checked out the website and I’ll pop in and chat to them…almost-7-year-old seems keen too 🙂

She’s been to a Pink Kisses party last week so I’ll probably give it a miss but thanks for the idea. I’m also considering Kids Pantry as something different to do as she loves to cook.

As far as the Kid City comments go I have to agree a big thumbs down 🙁 I have no problem with the noise as you’d expect that in such a place, but the service, coffee and food is pretty disgraceful and if I’m going somewhere to let my kids run around I’d actually like to have decent coffee and snacks for the grown ups. I’ve noticed there’s actually a new Kid City being built at Gold Creek Country Club (not sure if it’s actually the same company, but it’s one of those big playcentres) so I’m hoping its a big improvement on the Mitchell one.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 6:48 pm 24 Sep 11

As usual with this sort of request, if you give an idea where in the city you are people can be more helpful…

If you can find a venue – like hiring a local hall for a few hours (like Palmerston Community Centre, which GCC used to manage but it is now GRCS) – then Marianne Mettes’ new business Puppetoodle will go down well with girls of that age. You’ll find her on Facebook.

We went to a party at the ice rink, and while the skating was fun, the boots weren’t (as someone else said) and the management assistance was non-existent.

Makesse Makesse 5:24 pm 24 Sep 11

My daughter is 10, we have had parties at many different venues. The nicest by far was Cherry Seed at Federation Square. We set up a picnic outside on the grass for the adults whilst the venue took care of the children.

Kittykate Kittykate 4:55 pm 24 Sep 11

My daughter had her 6th birthday party at Kid’s Food Pantry this morning. They had a great time making and decorating cupcakes while the parents had a sedate coffee. Would recommend it to anyone who was looking for something a little less manic than Monkeymania and Lollipops.

tommy tommy 4:36 pm 24 Sep 11

poetix said :

There is an ice-rink in Philip (Woden) which will probably do parties.
.

The ice rink at Philip is pretty much worn out. The skates are antique so it’s pretty frustrating getting a bunch of skates on 7 yo kinds.

Some not so common options are:

Kids Pantry cooking class – http://www.kidspantry.com.au/birthday-parties.aspx

CSIRO Discovery Centre – http://www.csiro.au/services/Discovery-birthday-parties.html

krats krats 4:06 pm 24 Sep 11

nanzan said :

Has anyone been to Kid City in Mitchell recently for a kid’s party – is it value for money?

I’ve been waiting for nine days now for them to send me information on their parties – I have emailed them once, and phoned them once, and still no response.

nine days?? and still waiting… surely that should tell you something!

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