It’s your child’s milestone birthday and you want to do something really memorable. You are willing to splurge a little bit to keep all of the kiddos at the party entertained, but on what? If you are like a lot of families in my area, the go-to party rental is the bounce house. I’ve been to lots of fun parties with a bounce house, but I’ve also been to many where the bounce house fun deteriorates into tears and contention. If your child just loves those big bouncy things, then you may have already found your perfect party rental, but before you make that reservation, take a look at a few other options that I have found that will bring the wow factor to your party for around the same price point:
1) The Pony Cart
My 7 year-old daughter is obsessed with horses and would like to have one for a pet, if only it could live in her bedroom. When she and I settled on “Princesses and Pumpkins”–a Cinderella-inspired pink and gold soiree–as the theme for her 7th birthday party, I knew just what I wanted to do to surprise her and make the occasion one she would never forget. She needed horses, or rather ponies…given the size of the birthday girl and her guests, to transport our petite princesses to the ball! Tracking down our Cinderella carriage took a bit of leg work and sleuthing. There are several companies that have beautiful horse-drawn Cinderella carriages designed for weddings, but splurging or not, these were simply out of budget and seemed a little overkill since the ball was just in a different part of the same property as “Cinderella’s home, not across town.”
I was so excited when I finally found Doug from airccarriage.org. He has this cute white pony cart and two adorable ponies that come dressed for the occasion. They wore pink party hats at our party. They were the perfect size for our guests and the space we had to work with. His hourly rate put the pony cart rental in the same price range as a bounce house rental but it was so much more magical for this event. Doug was flexible to work with us and allowed us to add our own decorations to the cart. The top “pumpkin” part of the carriage, is actually something my husband created out of balloons and tied to the cart to make it even more like Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. Getting to ride on the pony cart was the highlight of the entire party-outshining the royal ball, and the girls wanted to go on ride after ride. They were also able to pet and take pictures with the ponies. It was a night they all will remember. I will be sharing the full party details on my blog soon. Watch for the post there.
2) Mobile Laser Tag
I’ve already shared with you how much fun we had when AZ Mobile Laser Tag brought laser tag rentals to my son’s 10th birthday party. What made this such a great investment is that AZ Mobile Laser Tag not only provided the equipment, but stayeds to run all of the “missions” and games. It can pretty much be the entire party. Just add cake and presents (unless you want to get fancy with glowsticks and such like I did). The boys had so much fun, I am tempted to do this for my husband and his friends sometime.
3) “Snow” Bubble Machine for Frozen party
I bet you know at least one little girl or boy who requested a Frozen themed birthday party this year! I have leant out the decorations I created for my Frozen party to at least three friends who were hosting their own parties for their own little Elsa’s. But what fun activity can you have at a Frozen party in keeping with the theme…especially when it is summer in Phoenix and there is no snow to play in? I recommended my neighbor rent this “snow” from Southwest Parties for her daughter’s Frozen birthday last summer, after seeing it featured on a local TV show. The snow is actually bubbles and they can fill a backyard full of it in no time! This would be fun for a lot of other parties, too, but our kids had a blast playing in the “snow” and never got cold. It also made the party look a lot more like a winter wonderland.
4) Food Machines
Depending on the age and interests of your child, sometimes the food can take center stage at a party. Consider renting popcorn and cotton candy machines to turn your party into a carnival or County Fair. Add a small tent and some signs and you have a concession stand. This would be great for a baseball or sports-themed birthday as well. If you have sporting equipment, a concession stand would be all you need to make it feel like a professional sports event. I’m looking into renting a slushy machine for my teenager’s upcoming birthday, since they all love to stop at the local QT for icy drinks.
5) Gladiator Inflatable
If you are still looking at inflatable rentals, look around a bit to see what options they have besides the bounce house. Inflatable watersides are a big hit in Phoenix in the summer. Some companies have other inflatable games like this gladiator jousting arena. This was a perfect activity for my Brother-in-law’s superhero party, as the superheroes could battle it out and see who really was the most super. (Note: I don’t think all of the children were supposed to be running around on the inflatable while they were jousting, but there weren’t any injuries, as I recall).
We also had a really fun couples’ New Years Eve party one year where the hosts rented a similar inflatable, plus giant sumo suits to wrestle in. It was hilarious and a lot of fun!
One thing to keep in mind: The fans that keep inflatables inflated can be rather noisy. We had this one indoors, but would have preferred if it was outside or in a room apart from the food and conversation at the party.
So, do those ideas get your imagination running? Or bouncing?
Have you ever rented an attraction for a party that was a big hit? If so, please share your experiences in the comments. And check out my blog, My Insanity, for dozens of birthday party themes and ideas to make your celebrations even more memorable!
Disclosure: I received a discounted rate from some of the vendors presented in this post in exchange for blogging about their services.