Filling Hungry Bellies
Kids can be picky eaters. But don’t be too quick to pick up the phone and order pizza. Laura Stewart of PartyWorks Catering (3337 S. Scenic Ave. #B, Springfield, 417-881-6927, facebook.com/pages/Partyworks-Catering) has a bold thought: “We have a tendency to underestimate what kids will eat,” Laura says. “If the adults around them are eating it, they will try it.”
While Laura happily caters hot dogs, hamburgers and macaroni and cheese, she urges parents to try food that you may not expect to see at a kid’s party. The key: adding what you know kids like to something they may not have tried before. For example, try mixing chicken with pineapple, or wrap little smokies in bacon. Laura also says that cupcakes go farther than sheet cakes, and they are easy to incorporate into a theme and simple to serve.
Bring on the Fun
Ted Amberg of Amberg Entertainment recalls one party that took a common theme (pirates) to a whole new level. The party had a giant inflatable pirate ship, party-goers dressed in pirate gear and a buried treasure chest, scavenger maps and hidden pirate-themed goodie bags. Amberg says the typical bounce house inflatables are always available, but they are losing popularity and being replaced with high-tech fun. How about a wax hands machine where kids can make their own hand molds? Or green-screen photography where guests can be on magazine covers? “Parents are looking for something unique,” Amberg says.
Not up for hosting a birthday party on your own? There are numerous 417-land businesses to help you out!
2745 S. Kansas Expy., Springfield, 417-881-5867, jumpmaniaspringfield.com
Let the kids jump their hearts out on large indoor inflatables. Parties range from $150–500 and include a private party room. Custom invitations are available as well as pizza, cake, cupcakes, a party host and ice cream. If you don’t want to share the play arena, parties can even be arranged after-hours for an addition fee.
Incredible Pizza Company
2850 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield 417-887-3030, incrediblepizza.com/springfield
What could be better than a pizza buffet and an indoor arcade? Prices start at $9.99 per guest and include the buffet and a $5 game card for each person. Private party rooms are available.
438 E. St. Louis Street, Springfield, 417-862-9910, discoverycenter.org
Give your kid’s friends the gift of knowledge and fun at this downtown hands-on museum. Parties start at $65 for a one-hour rental of the private party room and include a party planner and as much time as the kids want to play in the center. Special goody bags are also available from the Gizmos, Gadgets and More by Gold Minds starting at $3.
3825 W. Farm Rd. 146, Springfield, 417-837-5949, parkboard.org/info/city_parks/rutledge_wilson/index.html
Roll up your sleeves, grab your jeans and cowboy boots and introduce your party-goers to life on the farm. This Springfield Park Board facility is available for party rentals for $175. You receive a room for 2 hours and a party pack for up to 40 people. The best part? You get to pick from these themes: John Deere, horses or barnyard. Kids also get a meet and greet with farm animals.
Oogles n Googles
2121 W. Republic Rd., Suite B, Springfield, 417-887-8744, ooglesngoogles.com
Editor's Note: Since the initial publication of this article, this business is no longer open.
Want a party your kids will never forget? Parties are designed based on the age of those attending, and parents get to pick from 15 different themes. Each theme comes with a complete birthday party experience, including pictures for the guests. Each Oogles n Googles party lasts two hours and is lead by a trained party professional. You sit back and watch the fun.