While wedding and event venues seem to be around every corner in the Holy City, finding affordable places to throw your kid’s next birthday party is a little more difficult.
Whether you’re just looking for a bigger space than your home to host the party, or for some fun food or activities, here are some of the best — and most affordable — kids’ birthday party venues in Charleston, South Carolina:
Charleston County Parks
This Charleston County Park in Mount Pleasant has a ton of amenities — from nature areas to trails to playgrounds and sports fields/courts, plus a waterpark. For kids’ birthday parties, the park’s rentable shelters are great venues:
Big Toy Tent — Located near the “Big Toy Playground,” this fun party tent can accommodate up to 75 people and includes six picnic tables. Besides the playground, there are also nearby restrooms, a charcoal grill and plenty of nearby parking. The rental fee is only $200.
Meadow Tent — Along the meadow near the Big Toy Playground is the Meadow Tent, which is another fun party tent that can fit up to 75 people and has all the same amenities as the Big Toy Tent: six picnic tables, nearby restrooms, charcoal grill, nearby parking and a $200 rental fee.
Additional Party Tents — Palmetto Islands County Park offers smaller party tents near the Big Toy Playground as well. These tents can fit up to 30 people and include four picnic tables. You have access to all the same amenities as with the Big Toy Tent, and the rental fee is only $150.
Shelters — There are also rentable wood shelters in the park. The largest of these shelters can fit up to 200 people and have more expensive rental fees (up to $350).
Another large county park, Wannamaker is located in North Charleston and includes over 1,015 acres of beautiful woodlands and wetlands, multiple playgrounds, a sprinkler water play area, a sand volleyball court, a disc golf course, a park center with a snack bar, and a waterpark.
Covered rental areas include:
- Party umbrellas — Located between the Snack Bar and Sprinkler and close to restrooms, bike and boat rentals, and playground, the two Party Umbrellas accommodate up to 25 people each, have four picnic tables each, and one charcoal grill each. The rental fee is only $75 per umbrella.
- Dogwood Canopy — If you want your kids’ birthday party to include time in the Whirlin’ Waters Adventure Waterpark, the Dogwood Canopy is the best rental for you at Wannamaker County Park. Located within a short walking distance of the waterpark, the Dogwood Canopy Tent provides a fence-enclosed area under a canopy of large trees. The canopy can fit up to 75 people, and includes picnic tables and charcoal grills. Dogs are also allowed off-leash while in the enclosed area and at the discretion of the person responsible for the rental.The rental fee is $200.
- Lakeside Canopy — If you’d rather be closer to the playground and sprinkler play area than the waterpark, check out the Lakeside Canopy. It’s the same size as the Dogwood Canopy (can fit up to 75 people, and includes picnic tables and charcoal grills), but it’s located along the edge of the lagoon. Picnic tables are located both under the tent and set among the trees (including one that is wheelchair-accessible), and there are nearby accessible restrooms. The rental fee is $200.
- If you’re having a large party, you can also reserve one of the larger wooden picnic shelters
This county park on James Island has open meadows, spots for saltwater fishing and crabbing, paved trails, a spray play fountain, a playground, sand volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, a campground, a climbing wall, a waterpark, disc golf, bike and boat rentals and more.
Covered rentals include:
- Fun Yard Tent: This tent sits on a concrete pad with multiple picnic tables and can fit up to 100 people. It’s located next to the Fun Yard playground, and has a charcoal grill. Rental fee is $250.
- Picnic Center Stage: This is a fun raised shelter with picnic tables and the capacity to fit 75 people. It’s located near the Fun Yard playground, Spray Play area, a grassy meadow, restrooms, parking and nearby grills. Rental fee is $275.
- There are bigger covered shelters available, plus the uncovered picnic center porch.
*If you’re just looking for space, you can also check the City of Charleston & City of North Charleston’s Community Centers. There are small rooms and auditoriums available to rent for events.
This is a great venue for younger kids’ birthday parties! Kids will be able to create their own donuts by picking from a number of toppings, plus enjoy the party room — which includes a safe play zone with toys, games & puzzles, video games, a play kitchenette, musical instruments, a giant chalkboard wall, basketball hoop, reading Area with books & comfy couches, and a giant Connect Four game. Annie’s Hot Donuts also cleans up the mess for you afterwards, so the adults can enjoy the party, too. The package is $250 for a 2-hour party.
Does your kid love to bake? Throw them a cupcake decorating party! Cupcake Downsouth offers fun cupcake parties for kids ages 6 and up. From the website: Partygoers learn how to bake and decorate their own cupcakes, and then – the best part – eat them or take them home along with goodie bags filled with fun cupcake surprises. (We also offer ice cream, balloons, sparklers, cards, and more… like cupcake-themed, unicorn-themed, and mermaid-themed items kids love.) Each kid also receives their own cupcake apron to wear and take home with them. The cupcake party package is $275 and includes an hour and a half of party time for up to 10 kids.
If your kid loves pizza, book a Mellow Mushroom pizza party! You can reserve the Private Mezzanine Area for up to 45 guests. Kids will love the cinema-themed decor in the restaurant, and of course the tasty pizza and appetizers (like pretzel bites). Certain Saturdays also have kid-based events that include movies and entertainment like face painters. The rental fee for the private party room varies (call to inquire).
*Just looking for general kid-friendly restaurants in Charleston? Check out the Charleston Moms blog.
Charleston County Parks has multiple waterparks that offer party packages. Pictured above is Splash Island Waterpark at Palmetto Islands County Park in Mount Pleasant. Photo from Facebook/Charleston County Parks.
Did you know that a few of the Charleston County Parks include waterparks? All of the county park waterparks have party packages:
This waterpark at North Charleston’s Wannamaker County Park is great for kids of all ages! There are thrilling water slides, a huge wave pool, the Rip Tide Run mat racer, a lazy river, the Big Splash Treehouse — which has 66 interactive play elements including pinwheels, troughs, body slides, jets, waterwheels, and a giant bucket that dumps 1,000 gallons of water — plus a play area for smaller kids and a separate toddler play area.
The party package at Whirlin’ Waters includes all-day admission for 10 people, a party area with tables reserved for two hours, and a special gift for the birthday kid. You can add on pizzas for $18 each, which also come with pitchers of lemonade and water, and you’re also allowed to bring in your own cake and ice cream — the staff will hold onto the desserts for you until it’s party time. The package is $220. If you want to invite additional guests, it’s an extra $18.99 plus tax for each person (you can have up to 30 guests).
The waterpark at James Island’s Palmetto Islands County Park includes a 200-foot body flume (48″ minimum height), 16-foot otter slide (30″ minimum height), Sprays, geysers, and raindrop waterfalls, a Cyclone swirling water ride, and activity pool. The waterpark is staffed with lifeguards, and includes concessions, restrooms, a shower/changing area and locker rentals.
The party package at Splash Island includes admission into both Palmetto Islands County Park and the Splash Island Water Park for 20 people, pitchers of lemonade and water, a party hut for two hours, party supplies (cups, plates, utensils and napkins), and a special gift for the birthday kid. The package is $250. Additional guests (up to 30 people total) can be added on for $8.99 plus tax each. You can also add on party platters (a minimum of two platters at $30 each), which include food for 5 children — choose between chicken fingers, corn dogs, Smuckers Uncrustables PB&Js, or grilled cheese sandwiches; each platter also includes fries, Goldfish crackers, or seasonal fruit. You’re also allowed to bring in your own cake and ice cream — the staff will hold onto the desserts for you until it’s party time.
The Splash Zone Waterpark at James Island County Park includes a 200-foot tube slide, a 200-foot open slide, a 500-foot lazy river with an adventure channel of sprays and water walls, a leisure pool, and a Rainforest play structure with slides, buckets, sprays, and more.
The party package for Splash Zone includes admission for 10 or 20 people into James Island County Park and Splash Zone Waterpark and a cabana with two picnic tables for 3 hours. You can add on pizza for $18 each, which also comes with pitchers of lemonade and water. you’re also allowed to bring in your own cake and ice cream — the staff will hold onto the desserts for you until it’s party time. The party package is $160 for a 10-person party or $280 for a 20-person party.
Splash Zone also gives you the option of just renting a cabana for a 3-hour party for $75. The open-air cabana is 16’ x 16’ with a canvas roof, located in a shaded picnic area. Each includes two picnic tables and can seat up to 16 people. There is a 50 person maximum per cabana. Cake and ice cream be brought in if you purchase a cabana rental. Admission tickets must be purchased separately.
For the animal lovers
If your kid loves animals, check out the Bee City Zoo! Bee City Zoo is a small, family-owned interactive zoo and bee farm. The goal of Bee City is to educate everyone on the importance of honeybees and provide unique animal experiences.
Kids can hand-feed monkeys, ringtail lemurs, alpacas, deer, goats, sheep, and pet bunnies. The zoo also has wallabies, antelope, tigers, Snow Leopards, Serval Cats, Cavies, as well as many farm animals: Miniature horses and donkeys, turkeys, chickens, pheasants, and much more!
Bee City Zoo has two different party packages: Package A is $275 and includes up to 15 guests in the base price (with additional guests $7/person, with up to 30 guests total). This package includes access to a classroom or gazebo for an hour and a half, plus 2 pizzas, 2 gallons of lemonade or water, 10 cups of monkey o’s and a birthday gift for the birthday child (shirt). Package B is only $75 for the classroom or gazebo rental. Guests ages 3 and up with Party Package B are $9/person if there are 25 guests or more, or $12/person with less than 25 guests.
Outside food and drink is welcome, but no alcoholic beverages are permitted.
Venues with fun activities
This restaurant/arcade is a classic for kids’ birthday parties. In fact, they call themselves the “Birthday Capital of the Universe™.” Chuck E. Cheese has a ton of fun arcade games and interactive play elements. There are a variety of different party packages available, but all include pizza, cake and game passes. Learn more here.
Mellow & Play Cafe (Ages 0-8)
Mellow & Play Cafe is a playplace with bounce castles, obstacle courses and more designed for kids ages 0-8 years old. It’s designed to be a place “where adults mellow and kids play!”
Their party package includes 2 hours in the party room for festivities, plus 2 hours in the play area. Parties can host up to 10 kids, at $9 each. Party hosts must provide food, cake and decorations, but there is an option to upgrade the package to include decorating the room.
The Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry is “a non-profit organization whose mission is to engage young children’s potential by inviting families of all backgrounds to explore environments and experiences that spark imagination and stimulate curiosity through the power of play.” The museum has nine different interactive exhibits — including an art room, theater area, kids’ garden, an air exhibit with sailboats and planes, an infant and toddler playspace, a pirate ship, a Publix market, and the Boeing Brightlab.
There are two different party package options — one designed for kids 1-10, and another for kids 4-10. The Basic Party Package (Doo Dash Bash) for kids 1-10 covers up to 10 children (with up to an additional for $9/each). The package includes one dedicated PLAY Specialist as your party facilitator who will set up, serve your food + refreshments and clean up after the party; 2 hours exclusive use of our large, private party room to celebrate in your own style; unlimited PLAY time in the Museum with all-day access to the entire Museum for all guests; free parking for the Party Host in our CML Employee Parking Lot during your party time; and a Birthday Parade in the Museum. The package is $200 for members or $225 for nonmembers.
The second party package can be the theme of your choice: Pirates, knights and princesses, superheroes, paint ‘n play, sensational scientists, unicorns, or sharks. The package is also for up to 10 children (with additional children $12/each, up to 20 children maximum). The party includes everything in the basic party package, plus a themed craft led by a PLAY Specialist, a Scavenger Hunt in the Museum led by a PLAY Specialist and one party favor for every child. The themed party package is $270 for members or $305 for nonmembers.
A few bonus venues:
The following venues are all highly rated for children’s birthday parties, though some are a little more expensive than the venues listed above.