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Published January 09, 2012, 11:30 PM

Party time! Children’s birthday party packages plentiful in Fargo-Moorhead

FARGO – Kids’ birthday parties have become extravagant affairs.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

FARGO – Kids’ birthday parties have become extravagant affairs.

When I was growing up, birthday parties most often involved having a few close friends over for cake, presents and party games like drop the clothespin in the jar or maybe a slumber party with pizza, popcorn, and movies.

Parties were a lot simpler then, but they were still fun.

Of course, 25-plus years ago, there weren’t as many party options available.

We had Chuck E. Cheese, which was then Show Biz Pizza, and Skateland. To-day, the options for kids’ birthday parties in the Fargo-Moorhead area are as varied as the treats that tumble out of a birthday piñata.

Whether your child is into gymnastics, hockey, or theater, a plethora of party packages exist in our area. And whether your budget is big or small, there’s probably an option for you.

Today we’ll take a closer look at a few unique and fun ones available in the Fargo-Moorhead area. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but it should give you some ideas to get you started.

If you’re more of a birthday traditionalist…

What: Red River Zoo

Where: 4255 23rd Ave. S. Far-go

Cost: $175 for up to 12 guests plus $30 for every additional five guests.

Duration: two hours of unlimited carousel rides plus zoo tour

Contact: 701-277-9240 x310

Online: www.redriverzoo.org

For kids who are crazy about animals, the Red River Zoo in Fargo offers birthday parties in the Carousel Pavilion. Kids can ride the carousel as much as they want and tour the zoo. They also get a 15-minute program with live animals.

The party package also includes table coverings, plates, cups, napkins, and forks, a zoo-themed cake or cupcakes, and fruit punch. For additional fees, parents can also add on treat bags and a hot dog and chips.

What: Fargo Birthday Party Magic

Where: At your home or other venue

Cost: $109 to $189 depending on duration and party package.

Duration: 30 minutes to one hour

Contact: 701-205-1403

Online: www.fargobirthdaypartymagic.com

Through Fargo Birthday Party Magic, magician Thad Ellsworth puts on a show for your children with magic, comedy, an appearance by Hooper the Magic Bunny and audience interaction.

He also provides magic party favors for each child, a special souvenir for the birthday child, party invitations, and a birthday card. Depending on the package you order, you could also receive thank you cards, an autographed 8x10 picture of Ellsworth and Hooper, and goodie bags.

What: Thunder Road Family Fun Park

Where: 2902 Thunder Road S., Fargo

Cost: $7.95 to $10.95 per child depending on number of attractions per person

Duration: 45 minutes reserved party seating plus attractions

Contact: 701-282-5151

Online: www.thunderroadfargo.com

At Thunder Road Family Fun Park, kids can race go-karts, play miniature golf, bump each other with bumper cars, bat in the batting cage or play arcade games. Party packages offer a choice of two or three attractions per person plus, 10 arcade tokes for the birthday child, ice cream cups and soft drinks, and reserved party seating. The birthday child is free with five paying guess.

Thunder Road is open May through September.

What: Marcus Theatres

Where: 4101 17th Ave. SW

Fargo, 3931 9th Ave. S. Fargo

Cost: $6.25 to $13 per person depending on age, movie, and time. Every seventh person is free.

Duration: One hour plus length of the movie.

Contact: 701-282-6930, 281-1335

Online: www.marcustheatres.com

Movie buffs can spend their birthday watching a movie with their friends. Concessions deals are offered for birthday parties and the birthday child is free.

A party room is available at West Acres Cinema for $25 an hour and can be used before or after the movie.

If sports and fitness top your birthday list …

What: American Gold Gymnastics

Where: 2001 17th Ave. S. Fargo

Cost: $55 for up to six kids, $65 for up to 9 kids and $8 per child for up to 15 children.

Duration: 90 minutes

Contact: 701-280-0400

Online: www.americangoldgymnastics.com

What: TNT Kid’s Fitness and Gymnastics Academy

Where: 2800 Main Ave. Fargo

Cost: $125 for up to 10 kids plus $8.50 for each additional child.

Duration: 90 minutes

Contact: 701-365-8868

Online: www.tntkidsfitness.com

As a way to get in some exercise and have a tum-bling good time, both American Gold Gymnastics and TNT Kids Fitness in Fargo offers parties where staff guide party guests through trampolines, tumbling, pit time and games for an hour. Parties then get 30 minutes in a party area for presents and food the birthday families can provide.

What: Games Galore

Where: 922 40th St. N. Fargo

Cost: $175 to $250 depending on the day and length of the party for up to 15 children

Duration: One and a half to two and a half hours

Contact: 701-373-0104

Online: www.gamesgalorepartyzone.com

What: Games to Go

Where: 2220 Main Ave. E. Suite D., West Fargo

Cost: $150 to $200 depending on the day for up to 20 kids

Duration: two and a half hours

Contact: 701-271-0378, exten-sion 502

Online: www.gamestogofargo.com

For kids with a lot of energy to burn, Games Galore and Games to Go both offer indoor party areas where kids can bounce, slide and play games like a western shoot-out game at Games Galore or basketball, tee ball, and jumping onto a Velcro wall at Games to Go on their inflatable games.

Games to Go also has an optional video game room for an additional charge.

What: Courts Plus Fitness Center

Where: 3491 S. University Dr., Fargo

Cost: $65 to $100, depending on whether food is included

Duration: 90 minutes

Contact: 701-237-4805

Online: www.courtsplus.org

At a Courts Plus Fitness Center birthday party, kids get an hour in the gym to play basketball, volleyball, soccer, football, baseball, badminton, racquetball, dodge ball, or floor hockey.

Zumba, an ice cream cake, and a castle or slide is available for an additional fee.

What: The Sports Bubble

Where: 2671 12th Ave. S., Fargo

Cost: $8 per person or $10 per person with 30 minute son a virtual reality golf machine

Duration: two hours

Contact: 701-280-0824

Online: www.thesportsbubble.com

Kids can play golf on a 9-hole indoor course and swing away in the driving range at birthday parties at The Sports Bubble.

Food is included for an additional fee.

The birthday child is free with any party package.

What: Fargo Force Cold Stone Birthday Party

Where: Fargo Force/Scheels Arena, 5225 31st Ave. S. Fargo

Cost: $179 for eight kids and two adult chaperones, $13 for each additional person.

Duration: one hour in party room plus game time

Contact: 701-364-3672

Online: http://fargoforce.com/tickets/birthday-parties/

Fargo Force Cold Stone Birthday Party Packages include access to a birth-day room to use before the game, tickets to the game, a birthday card from the Fargo Force, a visit from team mascot Kid Bobble, a hot dog, chips and pop or water, a Cold Stone Creamery ice cream cupcake, a birthday announcement during the game and two parking passes.

For additional fees, parents can opt for extras like putting their child on the jumbo tron or private skating following the game.

What: RedHawks DQ Birthday Party

Where: Newman Outdoor Field

1515 15th Ave. N. Fargo

Cost: $140 for 10 people. $12 for each additional person

Duration: length of game

Contact: 701-235-6161

Online: www.fmredhawks.com

A birthday party at a Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks game includes third-base reserved tickets, a hot dog, chips, and pop, a happy birthday message on the scoreboard, a Dairy Queen ice cream cake, RedHawks baseball hats for all guests and two RedHawks programs.

Food is served in a birthday area by the RedHawks’ dugout prior to the game.

If you want something creative and unique …

What: Theater Tales

Where: At your home or other venue

Cost: $200 for up to 20 child-ren, $10 each additional child

Duration: About 90 minutes, not including time for cake and presents

Contact: 701-412-1533

Online: www.theatertales.com

Lynette Burgan started Theater Tales last spring because she ran something similar when she lived in Colorado and there’s nothing like it here, she said.

During a Theater Tales party, kids learn a song, dance, and play. Then they put on costumes and per-form. Their performance is recorded so they can watch it after performing.

What: Princess Party Boutique

Where: 616 Main Ave. Fargo

Cost: Starting at $175 for up to five children. Additional fees for added services.

Duration: Two hours

Contact: 701-330-5089

Online: www.fargoprincessparties.com

For children who like to be princesses, Princess Party Boutique brings fairy tales to life by offering a range of party options where children get to dress up as princesses in an array of gowns and accessories.

The basic package includes use of the dress-up room, finger foods, and party favors. Higher-priced packages include tea with a fairytale princess, use of a photobooth, a makeover, and a princess gown to use and keep.

What: Clay Your Way

Where: 4501 15th Ave. S. Fargo

Cost: $16 per child

Duration: 90 minutes

Contact: 701-356-9229

Online: www.clayyourway.com

Kids can let their creativity flourish at a Clay Your Way birthday party. They get to paint a piece of pottery, make a stuffed animal, or decorate a fused glass project.

What: Fargo Air Museum

Where: 1609 19th Ave. N. Far-go

Cost: $8 for adults and $5 for children

Duration: two hours

Contact: 701-293-8043

Online: www.fargoairmuseum.org

The Fargo Air Museum offers birthday parties that let the kids dress up in uniforms and climb around inside a large cargo plane, a WWII jeep, and the Huey helicopter. Parties also include a museum tour.

“It’s a little bit of history, culture, and class and the kids just love it,” said Fran Brummund, executive director.

Dog tags can be ordered for party favors. There is also a flight simulator for an additional fee.

What: Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm

Where: 1201 28th Ave. N., Far-go

Cost: Ranges from $4 per per-son for an hour in the museum and an hour to open presents in the lobby to $125 for up to 25 people for an hour in the museum and an hour in a party room and a party assistant to lead the children in an art activity.

Duration: two hours

Contact: 701-232-6102

Online: www.childrensmuseum-yunker.org

The Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm offers a variety of party themes ranging from a Bug Bash to a Jungle Party to a Wild West Ho Down. Some par-ties involve dressing up and others involve coordinated games. Or, for a less expensive alternative, the museum also offers a pack-age where kids can play in the museum for an hour and then have time in the lobby for opening presents.

“We try to keep our birthday parties affordable,” said Yvette Nasset, executive director. “We did price comparing and it gets to be pretty spendy on birthday parties. We didn’t want any child to miss out on having a birthday party.”

If you prefer a hotel or restaurant party …

What: Chuck E. Cheese

Where: 1202 Nodak Dr. S. Far-go

Cost: $12.99 per child

Duration: two hours

Contact: 701-232-7967

Online: www.chuckecheese.com

Kids can play in the video arcade and earn tickets for prizes at a Chuck E. Cheese birthday party.

The birthday child also gets to try to catch extra tickets in the Ticket Blaster and receives an inflatable crown with eight bonus tokens. Parties include pizza, soda, and drink tokens. More tokens, balloons, souvenirs, cake, and ice cream are available for additional fees.

What: Space Aliens Grill & Bar

Where: 1840 45th St. SW Fargo

Cost: $59.95 for six kids plus $9.99 for each additional child

Duration: 90 minutes

Contact: 701-281-2033

Online: www.spacealiens.com

Kids can have an out-of-this-world birthday party at Space Aliens where they get a personal pan pizza, soda, cupcakes with ice cream and $5 in tokens for the Galaxy Games Arcade.

Bowling alleys and hotels with swimming pools have been popular birthday party venues for years. There are a number that offer birthday packages in town. Here are a couple of examples:

What: The Bowler

Where: 2630 S. University Dr. Fargo

Cost: $39.95 for up to six people

Duration: one hour

Contact: 701-235-7588

Online: www.thebowlerfargo.com

The Bowler offers a birthday party package that includes a large 3-topping pizza, breadsticks, soda, shoes, and an hour of bowling.

What: Ramada Plaza & Suites

Where: 1635 42nd St. S. Fargo

Cost: $139 to $169 depending on the number of children.

Duration: From 3 p.m. until noon the following day.

Contact: 701-277-9000

Online: www.ramadafargo.com

Sunday through Thurs-day, Ramada Plaza & Suites offers birthday party packages that include a two-room suite, pizza, and swimming in the Coconut Cove Water Park. The water park includes a 150-foot waterslide and a children’s pool with a cascade fountain.

What: Holiday Inn Shipwreck Bay Water Playland

Where: 3803 13th Ave. S. Fargo

Cost: $110 for up to six children and $165 for up to 12 children.

Duration: four hours

Contact: 701-282-2700

Online: www.fargohi.com

The Holiday Inn of Fargo boasts a pool specifically designed for kids with five water slides built into a pirate ship.

Pool party packages include Domino’s Pizzas, soda, plates, napkins, silverware.