My 13-year old was not interested in a special party room with hats and decorations, although they do offer such a service at John's Incredible Pizza Company in Newark at a reasonable price. Instead, we just loaded our two family cars with as many kids as we could transport legally, and headed to the indoor entertainment destinations where the kids could eat, play, and earn prize tickets for a couple hours before we headed home.
John's Incredible Pizza Company, as previously documented on this website, has countless high-tech arcade games, indoor rides, including bumper cars, and a mini-bowling lane. We had about eight 12-and 13-year old boys with us in addition to my 10-year old daughter.
After about an hour of gaming and riding, we directed the kids into the all-you-can-eat buffet area. They loved it, but more than that, I loved it because all the kids helped themselves and ate exactly what they wanted. Unlimited pizza, pasta, salad, fries, and more. I ate a baked potato with cheddar cheese and broccoli.
The kids then went back to the buffet for dessert. Since my birthday boy wasn't worried about a cake or a big happy birthday moment, it was all very relaxed. They made themselves mini-soft serve cones and plates of brownies. The seating was abundant and the kids delighted in the sports-themed dining room, one of several to choose from.
After eating, we returned to the game floor for them to finish using up their game credit cards, which also tracked their prize ticket credits. One card! Don't lose it, kids!
I naively had budgeted 15 minutes for the game ticket prize redemption counter. We needed thirty minutes for this.
It was a rush to get back out the door and head back to our house where parents were picking up their sons, but a good time was had by all.
The economics of taking a car full of kids to John's Incredible Pizza Company
The mid-level birthday party package is a fine deal: $23.99 per kid includes a card full of game credits, three rides, all-you-can eat buffet visits, including dessert and fountain drinks, and some things we didn't care about: a private room, personalized centerpiece, access to a TV that you can play DVDs on, balloons, games and music.
Total: $240 for 10 kids, inclusive of entertainment, lunch, and treats.
Since everyone can choose their own prizes with game tickets they've earned, no party favors are needed.
You can spend a little more or a little less per guest, which impacts the value of their game cards. Even the least expensive party pricing model, at $13.99 per guest, includes the buffet and a party room.
Pro tip: We took advantage of a random school closure to hold the party on a day when most kids are at school and had the place almost to ourselves.
Note: A minimum of one adult paying admission is required for a party, of course, and a minimum party price of $250 on weekends. (Weekdays, minimum party investment is $110, depending on demand, so one adult could take four kids and still call it a party.)
John's Incredible Pizza Company is located in the NewPark Mall. Learn more >>