We held my daughter's birthday party at Jump Zone this past weekend. It was great. There were 17 kids and a couple of parents stayed. While at first I wasn't super excited to have it there, it ended up being great. We've had parties at Pump It Up before and I would recommend that for younger kids, as you get the jumping room to yourself, but it does cost more.
At JumpZone, they have one big room filled with huge inflatables with 4 party rooms off to the side. Our party happened to be at the same time as one other and also during free play time. This can make it hard to keep an eye on your guests when there are so many other kids running around. While kids as young as 3 are allowed to go on the equipment, I was a little nervous that they could get trampled by big kids. Then I learned that they actually try to schedule birthday parties of similar age kids at the same time, so it's not an issue. Since my daughter and her friends were 7-8 years old, they were fine. My younger daughter (almost 6) was fine too. My little guy had a tough time climbing some of the bigger inflatables but still had fun. They also had a small area for younger kids with Duplo Legos and other things to play with.
The kids were given an hour and 15 minutes to play before heading into the party room. I went in a little early to check out the party room and to my pleasant surprise, the room was already set. Plates and drinks were set, kids coats were hung up and shoes lined up on the floor. As soon as the pizza was delivered, the kids were asked to come to the party room, and the coordinator served. I helped, but really she did most of the work. She was great about giving seconds of pizza and juice to whoever wanted it. She handled the cake so my husband and I could take pictures and video.
After all the kids were done eating she handed out the balloons and cleaned up. While I did help with some of the serving and cleaning up, she did most of the work. I've hosted quite a few kid birthday parties at this point and this was the first time the assigned party coordinator actually worked, and therefore the first time I actually tipped. I also told the manager I was impressed with her staff and setup.
Funny moment of the party - as the big kids were all eating the pizza, my son was just wandering around the party room. He saw the cake, studied it for a minute then swiped some frosting off the corner with his finger and licked it off. He even got a small sprinkle but didn't freak out, just swallowed it. Progress :)
My younger daughter's birthday is coming up in May and originally she wanted her party at Pump it Up but has now changed her mind and wants it at Jump Zone, I'm all for it.
All in all a good party. 17 kids was a bit much as she didn't get to play with everyone in that short time span. I felt a little bad as one of her friends from preschool (her BFFWL) no longer goes to the same school as her, but was the first name on the invite list. She doesn't know any if my daughters other friends and is pretty shy. I encouraged my daughter to include her, which she did, and introduced her to her new besties, but the old friend definitely looked left out. Sad as it is, they're probably just growing apart and there is no reason to force the friendship. As Gordie said in Stand By Me, friends come in and out if your life like busboys in a restaurant.
We went home and opened presents and she got some nice gifts. One nice thing about kids getting older, the presents get better. She got 2 Lego sets, some crafty things, a gift card to Barnes & Noble and a couple of other things.