Roxy’s Best Of… New Jersey

The Best of the State of New Jersey, from entertainment and events to kid stuff (including birthday party venues and summer camp) to restaurants to art galleries and shopping

Nov
08

Feels Like Kids’ Birthday Party Season Is In Full Swing in Morris and Somerset Counties, New Jersey

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When London and Maddie were in pre-school at Westmont Montessori in Mendham, NJ, and the birthday tradition was to invite the entire class, it felt like we were out at Toys With Love in Chester, NJ buying presents every week, and attending one or two kiddie birthday parties every weekend, particularly in the late fall and winter seasons.  It was actually a great way to get to know our children’s friends, as well as a great bunch of parents….many of our “Westmont friendships” have lasted through the years.  Thankfully, as my girls have gotten older, Mendham Township Elementary School birthday parties have been fewer and farther between, frequently same-sex, and smaller “productions.” This weekend, however, was remarkably hectic with kids’ birthday parties for the girls in Maddie’s class.

After our Girls’ Afternoon Out with my friend Susan and her daughter, Abby, to see High School Musical 3 at the Clearview six-plex in Chester yesterday, Maddie attended a birthday party at Stuff-a-Roo and Teddy Too on Main Street in Chester, NJ. Today, we were off to the Florham Park Roller Rink for a rollerskating, rollerblading birthday party.  Both turned out to be good fun in a hometown setting, instead of driving to a chain store in the mall.

All of this birthday activity has reminded me to make a list (and check it twice) of all the best kids’ birthday venues in Morris and Somerset Counties, and to encourage our loyal Roxy’s Best Of… readers to leave a comment to add your own raves and recommendations to the list.

Garden State Ballet in Randolph, Rutherford, and Newark, NJ.  For Maddie’s sixth birthday party last March, Miss Katie from Garden State Ballet actually came to our home and gave a ballet lesson for twenty girls in our basement ballet studio.  For those who don’t have our sweet setup at home, Garden State Ballet would be happy to host your ballerina’s birthday party at one of their three studios.

Randolph Gymnastics and Randolph Rock Climbing in Randolph, NJ. Our family first discovered Randolph Gymnastics at a pre-school birthday party there back in the Fall of 2004. Since then, our girls have enjoyed the giant slide, tarzan rope and jumping castle with their friends at countless Randolph Gymnastics birthday parties. More importantly, we were inspired by the amazing “Olympic size” facilities to start gymnastics classes, and this year marks London and Maddie’s fourth year of lessons at Randolph Gymnastics.  If you’re interested in hosting your child’s birthday party at Randolph Gymnastics, call (973) 584-4111 and tell ‘em Roxy sent you… you’ll save $50 off the price of a Sunday birthday party. Speaking from experience, I can also say that Sunday, particularly late morning into early afternoon, is the best time for a gymnastics birthday party. It just feels a lot less hectic than weekday evenings or Saturdays, and I’ve enjoyed catching up with the other parents while our kids get their ya-yas out with the exceptional staff of Randolph Gymnastics.

The Little Gym in Randolph, NJ.  Not nearly as amazing as Randolph Gymnastics, but perhaps more comfortable for toddlers and pre-schoolers who are reluctant to let mom or dad out of their sight.

Time In, Randolph, NJ. We spent a lot of time in Time In during London and Maddie’s toddler and pre-school years, when climbing for an hour in a safe, padded environment followed by pizza, hot dogs, and birthday cake, was just their speed, and the Roxiticus Desperate Housewives could catch up on the latest gossip while our kids played together. When we went back to Time In last June for a 7-year-old girl’s “late-over” birthday party on a Saturday night, however, it was clear that our girls, as well as everyone at the party, had outgrown Time In. Free Willy on the enormous HDTV couldn’t save the day, and our family couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Pump It Up, Randolph, NJ.  Giant pumped up inflatables where kids from about age 4 through maybe the first or second grade bounce, run through obstacle courses and let off some steam.

Aspen Ice, Randolph, NJ

Mennen Arena (ice skating), Morristown, NJ. We had London’s seventh birthday at Mennen Arena last January, and give it a huge rave. We had attended one of my friend Hope’s daughter’s birthday party at Aspen Ice in July, but I learned that we couldn’t get a party room there without paying for pizza and hot dogs. What you may or may not know about Roxy is that I cannot, absolutely cannot, stand to see children eat, with all of their disgusting habits….I’ve successfully scheduled all of London and Maddie’s parties from 2:00pm - 4:00pm and celebrate with a spectacular birthday cake from Carol Falcone (our Cake Lady) in Far Hills, NJ.

Pastime Lanes, Mendham, NJ.  You can rent out this four-lane bowling alley for your child’s birthday party.  It would be great for adults, too, but no kegs are allowed.

Chester Riding Club, Chester, NJ.

Studio U, Chester, NJ.

Stuff-A-Roo and Teddy Too, 54 Main Street in Chester, NJ  07930. Phone: (908) 879-7978

Annie’s Playhouse, Far Hills, NJ

Great for fair weather birthday parties in the spring, summer, or even the early fall…think apple picking, pumpkin picking, pony rides, farms in the area, including Alstede Farms, Riamede Farms, and Stony Hill Farm, all in Chester, NJ, or Valley Shepherd Creamery or Ort Farms in Long Valley, NJPony Share will bring their ponies and horses to your house (the kids had a great time riding around our paddocks at Rex’s big birthday bash a few years back), or you can arrange a party at one of their locations – Catch-A-Breeze Farm in Califon or Seaton Hackney Stables in Morristown, NJ.

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