Our birthday party at Pump it Up

East Bay Kids Birthday Party GuideNeed more birthday party ideas? Look no further than our Oakland Berkeley Birthday Party Guide!

I’ve been a guest at Pump it Up parties before (and did the research for our birthday party write-up) but my son’s recent fourth birthday was my first time as a host-mom. Last month, my little guy had the time of his life at Pump it Up Oakland.

The children — and the parents who had never been before — had a blast (but lets admit it, when you’ve got a few of these parties under your belt, you start to feel like Ayelet Waldman). They got their ya-yas out and probably went home to a great nap.

The highs and lows of our family birthday party at Pump it Up

But as the host? Here are my main impressions:

What I liked:

  • The staff is helpful the day of the event. They keep it running smoothly from managing the bin of presents, to timing and cutting the cake.
  • The facility seems about as clean and hygenic as it could be. Considering all the sweating and slobbering my kids were doing, I’m impressed with the devotion to socks and hand sanitizer.
  • Stuff is just handled. Once you’re at the party, you can enjoy it like any other guest because it’s all out of your hands (see also what I didn’t like).

What I didn’t like:

  • I couldn’t place or adjust my order for food with any level of confidence in the days and weeks leading up to the party. I just couldn’t reach them on the phone or email. And considering you can’t bring in any outside food, this is a huge deal. I was trusting the care and feeding of my guests entirely to a non-restaurant organization! With whom I had barely communicated!
  • The food was, at best, extremely average.
  • When the clock is running, it is running! I’m sure this is true whenever you host a party at another venue, but, at one point, my coordinator told me, “you have 11 more minutes left in this room, it looks like kids are still eating but in one minute we need to do the cake.” No pressure, eh?

make a wish

Bottom line: I’m pretty sure that my kid got everything he wished for in a party. It’s not cheap, but it was a ton of fun. And, besides, nobody came for the food!

{Photos of Milo and his daddy provided by local photographer, Eric of Wm Eric Images}