Planning your child's birthday party when it's in the dead of winter can be a hassle. Here's some ideas on how you can make their big day extra special.

Winter vs Summer Babies

I'll be upfront, both my sister and I were born in the winter. I remember being so envious of my friends who had parties in the warmer months because it felt like their venue options were limitless.

Also, a part of me was upset that I couldn't spend part of my special day playing outside because it was always too cold. (Years later, I learned my parents also envied those summer babies because it meant their parents could kick the party outside and keep the mess contained to the great outdoors.)

In addition to all that, I remember how all the winter kids in my class strove to have their own unique party. If Amber had her party at Discovery Zone (remember those?), no one else wanted to hold their party there because it was already done. Imagine my parents' dismay when they thought they came up with the best idea ever only to have their second grader shoot it down because "so-and-so is already doing that."

No one in my grade wanted to go through the so-called nightmare of throwing their party at the same place, only to have some snobby classmates make remarks about how someone else did it better and be called a copycat.

Not sure if kids these days are as sensitive or as judgemental, but I look back on those days and see how silly it all was. However, my parents did put in the extra work to come up with fun ideas to make my celebrations unique and, most importantly, fun.

That all said, New York winters are hit or miss when it comes to the weather. If you don't want to host another indoor birthday at your home because the kids are all trapped inside due to rain or freezing weather, here are some alternative ideas for your child's winter bash.

1. Roller Skating

To this day, my favorite birthday was held at the Ron-A-Roll in Vernon, Connecticut. I was in the 4th grade, roller blades were on the rage, and I had a cake that paid homage to my favorite movie at the time - "Hercules".  Gosh, I even remember the outfit I wore because of how memorable the experience was.

In all, roller skating lets children do a summertime activity during the dead of winter with the added bonus of making them do an activity that burns all their pent-up energy. Plus, all the host parents need to do is bring the kid, the cake, and some decorations. There are several roller skating options around Central New York, bit it seems Skate-a-While Longer in Rome is the runaway favorite. I checked and, yes, they do birthday parties.

2. Ice Skating

Take everything I said above about the perks of a roller skating party and just add in neat jackets. Heck, one of your kids' birthday presents can be a new coat and hat for them to show off to their friends.

Also, this option comes with the added bonus of being able to take your kid out for hot chocolate after the party ends so they can tell you all about how much fun they had. You know you want that sweet validation that you did a good job and it's okay. Enjoy those moments.

3. The Zoo

attachment-RS36135_Utica ZOO Upload-scr

The Utica Zoo offers Safari Birthday Parties, as well as Nocturnal Expeditions for the bigger kids. The memorable experience lets kids sit in on a private presentation with 2 ambassador animals and enjoy a bounce session.

What's great about this option is that parents don't have to worry about cleaning up after since the zoo offers free garbage removal. Also, the zoo will hook each kid up with a meal and lavish the birthday kid with a special gift.

Also, the zoo knows how to party. Staff there will make your kid feel like a king or queen because of how much they love their jobs and bringing smiles to children's faces.

4. The Movies

A birthday party at the movies may seem campy to some, but to the birthday kid, they will feel like a celebrity to watch a movie with their friends in their own private theater. Most theaters also let the birthday kid pick the movie they want to see and, sometimes, even make special birthday slides to celebrate the guest of honor on the big screen.

Also, parents don't need to worry about cleaning up once it's over. You just need to bring the cake or cupcakes, gifts, and the birthday boy or girl.

5. Pool Party


Okay, hear me out on this one. I used to work at a gymnastics stadium back in my high school years and was in charge of hosting the birthday parties since I was the lifeguard. That aside, kids would go absolutely bonkers that they were able to go swimming in the winter.

I also speak from experience since a classmate of mine had a pool party in the winter. And, let's be real, a party has to be seriously cool if I remember it above all the other partis I went to all those years ago. Shout out to Meredith.

Pool parties in the winter just hit different because kids know they won't be able to enjoy the water again for a long time, so they make the most of it.

Also, the cake cutting is held after their time in the water ends, so they are mostly dry by the time the last present is opened and it's time to head home. And, again, parents don't have to worry too much about cleanup. While most parents did stick around to help me sweep up, I didn't mind since the mess was contained to one room.

As for pools that offer parties in Central New York, the Delta Hotel in Utica is open, as are local YMCAs and nearby swim clubs.

6. Laser Tag

For older kids who still want to throw a party during the winter, laser tag is an excellent option because it lets them enjoy a bit of competition while burning all their energy. Several places around Central New York offer birthday parties like the Family Fun Factory in New Hartford, the Ultimate Dropzone in Clinton, and The Fun Warehouse in Camillus.

7. Half Birthday Party

Artem Kniaz via Unsplash
Artem Kniaz via Unsplash

When I entered middle school, I stopped holding my birthday parties in winter and instead invited friends over in the summer to celebrate my half-birthday. By then, school was out and I wasn't stressing about all the homework that awaited me once the last guest left the party.

Sometimes winter kids want to have a party in the summer and they are willing to wait for it. On their actual birthday, they blow out some candles and open presents from their family while, during their summer birthday, they get a dessert and open presents from their friends. In the end, they get two birthdays.

To be honest, after holding my first half birthday, I never went back to throwing winter parties.

Honorable Mentions

I picked options that could work for all ages. However, sometimes parents want something a little more tailor-made for their kid.

More targeted ideas include a spa day, slumber party, tea party, basketball party, bowling, or craft party at a local art studio or pottery class.

Read More: Did You Know America's Third Oldest Pizzeria Is in Central New York?

In all, winter parties are a lot of fun - the only downside is parents just have to get a wee more creative with their ideas since they can't fall back on throwing the kids outside.

If you were born in the winter, how did you celebrate your big day as a kid?

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