Birthdays With Pizzazz


Birthdays, and the festivities that go along with them, symbolize important rites of passage for both kids and adults. While the size, scope and theme of the celebrations may vary, the focus is always on fun.

For busy parents,  it can be tricky to come up with new and different ideas that don’t require a lot of time and effort to put together (and clean up after). Fortunately, the North State is full of opportunities for a wide variety of ways to celebrate your loved one’s special day, without needing extensive set up or recovery.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Sweet Spot in Redding offers a tasty and creative birthday party option where guests can decorate cupcakes or make their own cookies or pizzas. With petite-sized furniture for little ones and an entire chalkboard wall, young guests will have fun being creative and making their own treats.

Owner Charmaine Yu says that since the shop relocated and expanded with more space, Sweet Spot is hosting more teen parties, as well as adult events in the new wine bar.

Parties include gelato, and parents can enjoy coffee or tea from the espresso bar while children play.

Sweet Spot is located at 1675 Hilltop Dr. Suite P, Redding. Call (530) 226-8086 for more party information.

A different type of creative party can be found aboard the Siskiyou Arts Bus in Mt. Shasta. The renovated 40-foot school bus is an art studio on wheels, and hosts parties for ages 3 and up.

The space is designed to nurture creativity. “Expect messy fun!” says Arts Bus Coordinator Pamela Newman. “The parties are about enjoying special time with friends, being creative, and celebrating the birthday boy or girl.”

Parties aboard the Siskiyou Arts Bus can be customized with just about any theme – from dinosaurs to pirates – and feature two creative projects led by an art instructor.

Grown-ups enjoy the time to play with art too, and often do so during their children’s parties. The space is also available to adult groups for events such as ladies’ nights and bridal showers, or special events for older children and teens.

For more information about the Siskiyou Arts Bus or to book your party, call Pam at (530) 859-2309 or visit

Kinetics Academy of Dance in Chico offers movement and a bit of a sophisticated touch with tea and dance parties based on themes such as fairies or “Fancy Nancy” books. Geared primarily towards 3- to 7-year-olds, guests are treated to a formal tea served with fruit and cupcakes.

Owner Hayley Horn notes that using fine china, along with a personalized theme and a hostess in fairy character, all make the children feel very special. Two-hour parties include a thematically chosen dance class with the use of tiaras, wands, scarves and other dress-up materials, as well as a coordinated craft.

“My daughter’s 7th birthday party at Kinetics Academy of Dance was a big success,” shares mom Jenny Maiorano. “Not only did Hayley make sure all details were taken care of – refreshments, decorations, activities and crafts – she also insured the party theme fit my daughter’s personality. All guests participated in a choreographed dance as well as a tea party. My daughter had a wonderful time being ‘fancy’ on her special day.”

Kinetics Academy of Dance is located at 627 Broadway Ste. 100, Chico. To book a party or learn more, call (530) 345-2505 or visit

The Redding Arts Project combines creativity with movement for dance parties. Artistic Director Diana Christensen says that princess and ballerina themes are always popular for girls in the 3- to 12-year-old range, and that many other options are available, including teen parties, superheros, and Western themes.

Christensen shares, “My favorite party was one where the guests were mixed, boys and girls, and they ranged in age from about 1 to 10. The parents all joined in with the dancing and party games – it was great fun to see them dancing the Hokey Pokey and pretending to be animals with their kids. The atmosphere is contagious, especially when there is dancing involved … it’s our specialty!”

Following her 3-year-old daughter’s birthday celebration with the Redding Arts Project, Erin Salazar noted that not only did the children have fun, but after the party many parents let her know they had a terrific time as well! And parent Alexandra Egan shares that her daughter loved the idea that she could have her birthday at the dance studio: “It was a dream come true for her to dance around in tutus with all her friends. She felt like a princess and loved the games, craft, and all the dancing. She had an amazing birthday.”

Redding Arts Project is located at 1726 Market St., Redding. For party information call (530) 245-1019 or visit

KidsPark in Chico offers a great way for kids to expend energy with parties focused on play. A party host plans personalized group games, along with plenty of time for free play on a variety of indoor play structures. Parties also include face painting and art projects, and meals can be arranged.

KidsPark is located at 2477 Forest Ave. #190, Chico. Call (530) 894-6800 for more information or visit

For a party that combines science, natural history and art, try Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding. Parties include park admission for up to 20 guests, and use of a reserved area in the park for an hour and a half. Facility Rental Manager Carrian Harwig says there is something for everyone, ages 1 to 100.

Harwig notes, “Birthday party guests have free roam of our ‘300 acres of fun,’ which include the park’s Botanical Gardens, museum and Paul Bunyan Forest Camp.” Harwig adds, “For a small fee, you can have your child be an Animal Training Assistant, helping our animal care staff present an arachnid, bird or reptile to their friends and family at the party. The fee goes directly to the care and feeding of our animals, and of course we tailor parties to our guests’ specific needs.”

Turtle Bay Exploration Park is located at 844 Sundial Bridge Dr., Redding. Find out about their parties by calling (530) 242-3180, or visit

For even more birthday party ideas, visit North State Parent’s online birthday section at !

Pamela Llano
About Pamela Llano

Pamela Jorrick is a northern California writer and homeschooling parent.

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