My daughter’s birthday is early September, so I can typically rely on the weather being nice enough to host a backyard party. My son’s birthday, however, is at the end of April. Due to his being smack-dab in the middle of Spring, there is a really good chance it will be raining. This is why I am forever on the look-out for great birthday party locations in the Central Vancouver Island area.

We have hosted our fair share of away-from-home birthday parties over the years, as well as attended many more. I am here to share with you the best of the bunch.

(This article has been updated to reflect 2019 prices. However, it’s always best to check with the hosting location for up-to-date information).


Bowling - great birthday party ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

Bowling Party

We have been to quite a few bowling parties and always have a great time. There are three mid-island locations to choose from.

Brechin Lanes

Location: 1870 E Wellington Rd, Nanaimo.

There is a reason Brechin Lanes was voted “Best Place for a Birthday Party” in the Nanaimo News Bulletin’s 2014 Best of the City. This 5-pin bowling alley throws a great, fuss-free party!

They offer Kid’s Parties, Teen Parties, and Adult Parties.

There are two kinds of Kid’s Parties available.

Please note: all of the package prices are based on 10 children attending the party. Further charges apply for additional guests.

  • Bowling Bash – $160.99
  • Super Bowling Bash – $189.99

Both packages include:

  • 1 hour of bowling
  • 1 hour of party time
  • Party host
  • Unlimited soft drinks
  • Invitations and thank you cards
  • Tableware
  • Balloon bouquet
  • T-shirt for birthday child
  • Free game pass for each child (for their next visit)
  • Coffee, tea, pop for Adults
  • Ability to bring your own snacks – only certain snacks are permitted (fruit, veggies, chips & cake)

The more expensive package includes hot dogs and fries for each child OR 2 large pizzas.

Brechin Lane offers many additional add-ons to make the party extra special at an additional cost. Check their website for further details.

You might also be interested to know that Brechin Lanes recently added “Escape Rooms” to their location.
Escapism Nanaimo is the premier escape room facility in Nanaimo, with Hollywood-style special effects. They are the first escape room in Canada located in a bowling centre. 



Location: 171 Calder Rd, Nanaimo.

Splitsville is a 10-pin bowling alley. You might think your little ones won’t be able to handle the large balls used for 10-pin bowling, however, you will be happy to know that you have the choice of light balls, bumpers to keep the ball on the lanes, and ramps for little ones who can’t quite throw the ball themselves.

Splitsville offers a variety of party packages.

  • Basic Birthday – $69.99
  • Classic Birthday – $99.99
  • Deluxe Birthday – $149.00
  • Ultimate Birthday – $179.00
  • Ultimate Arcade Birthday – 139.99

Please check their website for details of each party option.

You might also be happy to know that you have the ability to book the birthday party online…which is great for those of us who tend to think of these things at 11:00 pm!

Sunset Lanes 

Location: 678 Island Hwy E., Parksville.

Sunset Lanes is a bit smaller than the other bowling alleys mentioned but is equally as fun. Their birthday party packages are a-la-carte, which makes it easy for you to customize the party to suit your needs.

Pricing is based on a maximum of 6 people per lane and includes shoes and taxes. You can either choose regular bowling or Cosmic bowling (glow in the dark).

  • $58 – for one lane and one hour of bowling time, plus 45 minutes of party time

Food Options

  • 12″ Pizza – $17.50 each
  • Hot Dogs – $2.25 each
  • Pop or Juice – $1.75 each

You are able to bring in a birthday cake, but no other outside food or beverages are allowed. They will provide plates, napkins, and forks.
Important: No gum,  Confetti, Sparkling Candles or Light Balloon allowed


Gymnastics - great birthday party ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

Gymnastics Party

Flipside Gymnastics

We have been to several gymnastics birthday parties over the years, and have hosted one ourselves. All of them have been with Flipside Gymnastics at either their Parksville or Nanaimo location. The kids are always eager to go to one of these parties.

Parties can be booked for Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and are structured with one hour of gym time followed by 45 minutes in the party room. Parties have NCCP Certified staff present, one party coordinator and one instructor.  

A Flipside party costs $125 + GST, and includes the following:

  • 10 kids (including the birthday child)
  • Exclusive use of the entire gym
  • 2 certified instructors
  • Free Flipside t-shirt for the birthday child
  • Birthday invitations
  • Table cover and napkins

If you have more than the allotted guests, add on an extra $10 per additional child.

You are allowed to bring in any outside food and/or beverages as you wish – as long as it’s peanut free!

Please note: they don’t allow you a lot of set-up time prior to the party starting (10 minutes at the most). So unless you are willing to do it while the kids are enjoying their one hour of gym time, I suggest nothing too elaborate.

The Nanaimo Flipside location can be found at 1911 Wilfert Road.

Flipside Parksville is located at #5 – 1137 Smithers Road.

RDN Gymnastics Parties

Another great option for a gymnastics party is through the RDN.

Leah Lollipop will lead games and activities for one hours on the Gymnastics equipment. Parents will have space to set up a snack and cake break while Leah is leading the kids in a parachute activity. Tables and chairs are provided.

Please note, parties are offered one day per month. Please check the current RDN Active Living Guide for more details.

Cost: $200

Great birthday party ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

Art Party

Art parties at 4 Cats Nanaimo are so much fun!

Your child will most likely get messy, so no fancy party attire allowed.

4 Cats offers several different Kid’s Party activities.

  • Clay Party
  • Collage Party
  • Oven Bake Clay Party
  • Painting Party
  • Pouring Party

Party details vary depending on activity chosen, however there are a few similarities among them all:

  • Party cost is $225 for up to 10 guests, including the birthday child
  • Additional participants are $17.00 each
  • 1 hour of studio time, plus 45 minutes of party time
  • The party is suitable for ages 3 – 16, with instructions, scaled accordingly
  • You are allowed to bring in food and beverages of your choice
  • Please note: you are in charge of bringing in your own plates, napkins, cutlery, table cloths, etc.

4 Cats Nanaimo has two locations:

  • Lantzville – 7217 Lantzville Rd
  • Downtown – 101-115 Chapel St


Great birthday party ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

Climbing Party

Do you have a child who loves to climb? Then the Romper Room might be a good fit!

The Romper Room has been Vancouver Island’s premier indoor rock climbing destination since 1996. It is a safe and fun experience for everyone!

The “Vertical Party Package” is $100, and set up for 5 kids (there is an extra charge of $15 per additional climber if your party is larger than that).

Party Package details:

  • 2 hours of climbing
  • A staff member to do all the rope work for you and guide your process
  • 1 hour in the party room
  • Invitations (upon request)
  • Ability to bring in outside food and beverages of your choice
    • There’s an onsite fridge and freezer to keep your food fresh
  • Birthday parties get 10% off at Chico’s Pizza (if that’s an easier option for you)

The Romper Room Indoor Climbing Centre is located at 4385-B Boban Dr., Nanaimo.


Great birthday party ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

Open Gym Party

I am sure there are a few different facilities that offer open gym time for a birthday party, but we have only ever been to Oliver Woods…and it’s fantastic!

When renting the gym and a room for your party from Oliver Woods Community Centre you need to contact the City of Nanaimo (250-756-5200). You can also go into Oliver Woods and book in person.

The cost to rent the gym is on an hourly basis, but it’s at a very reasonable price point. On top of that, you will also need to rent a party room (also at a great price), which you get for 4 hours. So when booking, you would schedule your one hour of gym time during that four-hour period.

As you have the party room for quite a long time, I have seen parents set up craft stations to keep the kids occupied while waiting for the gym, or after gym time is over.

Not all of the party rooms available for rent at Oliver Woods have kitchen facilities, so if having a fridge and/or stove is necessary, make sure they know this when booking.

The gym is equipped with plenty of open-ended activities for the kids to enjoy. Set out the equipment and let them run and play at will!

If you prefer a bit more of a plan…set up a floor hockey area, or maybe split the kids into two groups and have a basketball tournament. Play dodgeball, tag, or maybe even some classics like “What time is it Mr Wolf” or “Go, Go, Stop”.

The possibilities are truly endless!

Hosting a party at Oliver Woods is a popular choice, so make sure you are reserving the gym and party room well ahead of time (at least a few months before the scheduled party).

Oliver Woods is located at 6000 Oliver Road, Nanaimo.

Dart Party

Another great idea for an open gym party is to use Dart Party as your host.

They are a Nanaimo based company with a passion of sharing NERF with others. Kids will have a blast using front loading blasters to play a variety of games, including Capture the Flag, Humans vs. Zombies, All-for-One, and many more.

You book the venue and let Dart Party do the rest.

All parties are a flat rate depending on the time of year and location. The rate includes enough to gear up 15 people with extras. The fee also covers a party leader who will be responsible for leading a variety of games. The party leader will be prepared to take care of the party, while you sit back and enjoy the fun!

Please note: Eye protection is recommended, but not provided.

Contact Dart Party for pricing.

Other Rental Facitlities

The City of Nanaimo offers a LOT of options when it comes to finding a place to rent for a gathering. During my research I happened upon this extensive list (click the link to access): Other Rental Facilities


Great birthday party ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

Swimming Party

No matter what time of year, pool parties are always fun!

The Ravensong Aquatic Centre in Qualicum Beach is a great place to host a birthday party.

They offer three different party packages.

Package #1 is $124 and includes:

  • Swim admission for up to 10 children
  • One hour of birthday fun in the pool with a party leader
  • Parents can use the lobby to set up a snack and cake break after the pool party
  • Saturdays and Sundays only from 1:30 – 3:30

Package #2 is $136.53 per hour and includes:

  • the rental of all three pools
  • up to 79 adults and children
  • Saturday’s and Sunday’s from 5:00 – 6:00

To book a birthday party at Ravensong Aquatic Centre please call the RDN at 250-248-3252.

The Ravensong Aquatic Centre is located at 737 Jones St, Qualicum Beach.

Other Location ideas for Pool Parties are:

Nanaimo – contact the City of Nanaimo for details: 250-756-5200

  • Beban Park Pool – 2300 Bowen Road, Nanaimo.
  • Nanaimo Aquatic Centre (wave pool) – 741 Third Street, Nanaimo

Ladysmith – I have heard great things about hosting a party at the Ladysmith pool

  • Contact Ladysmith’s Parks and Rec for details: 250-245-6424


Great birthday party ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

Skating Party

The RDN offers great skating party options at Oceanside Place.

Plan your party during open skate times for extremely reasonable rates using 10x Active Pass. For even further savings, utilize the lobby for your “party area” at no additional cost (must be booked in advance).

For a bit more privacy you can book a party room at a reasonable fee. The private party room has a sink, refrigerator, freezer, tables, and enough chairs for 12 guests.

For a private rink rental, there’s an option for Disco Skate. You provide the music and friends, and they supply the disco lights, skate rentals and admission. Cost is $180 per hour.

To book a skating party at Oceanside Arena please phone the RDN at 250-248-3252.

Oceanside Place is located at 830 Island Hwy W, Parksville.

Nanaimo Ice Rinks

Nanaimo has three skating rinks that offer skate parties: contact the City of Nanaimo for more details.

Great birthday party ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

Movie and Popcorn Party

Heading to the movie theatre is a fun way to celebrate your child’s next birthday!

The Galaxy Cinema (Cineplex) in Nanaimo offers a great party package.

For $13 per child (plus tax) the package includes the following:

  • Your choice of movie selection
  • Kid’s tray combo for each child (kid’s sized popcorn, drink and treat)
  • Popcorn Party host (the host will meet your group upon arrival at the theatre, take you to your seats, and provide each party child with their snacks)
  • Reserved theatre seating (so you can all sit together)
  • Gift for the birthday child (free admission for the birthday child’s next visit to Galaxy Cinema)

Please note:

  • A minimum of 8 children is required to book a party
  • Parties are limited to children 13 years or under
  • Minimum one parent or legal guardian must accompany children throughout the duration of the Popcorn party and film.
  • The party package does not include the accompanying Adult/Party Chaperone’s regular movie admission and food costs.
  • Outside food and beverages are not permitted

Galaxy Cinema is located at the Nanaimo North Town Centre, 4750 Rutherford Road.

Great birthday party location ideas for the kids in the central Vancouver Island area

A Mini-Golf Party

Mini-Golf is always a great way to spend a few hours. Hosting a mini-golf birthday party is even better! Parksville has two great mini-golf attractions to choose from.

Paradise Fun Park

Paradise Fun Park offers three party packages.

Package #1: Silver Birthday Party ($13.00 per child, plus tax.)

  • Birthday party in the Old Woman’s Shoe
  • Exclusive Paradise birthday cake
  • 18 holes of mini-golf for each child
  • Special gift for birthday child
  • Party favours for each child
  • Soft drink for each child
  • Birthday invitations
  • 2 free game tokens for birthday child
  • Free 18 holes of mini-golf for another day

Package #2: Gold Birthday Party ($16.50 per child, plus tax)

  • All of the above mentioned, plus
  • 2 extra free game tokens for birthday child
  • Bumper boat ride for each child

Package #3: Platinum Birthday Party ($19.50 per child, plus tax)

  • All of the items mentioned above, accept these differences
  • 36 holes of mini-golf for each child
  • 6 free game tokens for birthday child

Special notes:

  • All packages prices are based on a minimum of 8 children attending the party.
  • In order to drive the bumper boats, your child must be at least 44 inches in height.
  • In order to be a bumper boat passenger, your child must be at least 40 inches in height and the driver must be a least 18 years old.

Paradise Fun Park is located at 375 Island Hwy W, Parksville.

Riptide Lagoon

Riptide Lagoon also has three party package options for you to choose from.

Option #1 ($12.95 plus tax per person)

  • 18 holes of mini-golf
  • 1 hot dog per person (additional hot dogs are $2.50 each)
  • 1 bag of chips per person
  • 1 juice box per person
  • 18 hole mini-golf pass for future use for the birthday child

Option #2 ($15.95 plus tax per person)

  • 18 holes of mini-golf
  • 1 round of bumper cars
  • 1 hot dog per person (additional hot dogs are $2.50 each)
  • 1 bag of chips per person
  • 1 juice box per person
  • 18 hole mini-golf pass for future use for the birthday child

Option #3 is a self-catering package and based on a group rate of 10 or more people (you need to call for rates)

  • 18 holes of mini-golf
  • Free use of BBQ
  • 18 hole mini-golf pass for future use for the birthday child

Please note: the per person rate for options #1 and #2 are for ALL persons attending the party (adults AND children). Spectators get in free of charge, but food and/or beverages will not be available for them.

Riptide Lagoon is located at 1000 Resort Drive, Parksville.

Want even more ideas?

Head on over to Part 2 of this post, for recommendations from our readers.

CLICK HERE to read Part 2.

All prices mentioned in this article are posted as of April 2018 and may be subject to change at any time. Please assume taxes will be charged on top of any price mentioned, unless otherwise stated. It is always advised to contact the individual location for exact pricing before booking. Please note: the businesses mentioned in either Part 1 or 2 of this list have not paid an advertising fee to be included in this resource. They are mentioned only due to genuine recommendations from myself or others.

Do you have a favourite location for hosting a birthday party in the Central Vancouver Island area?

Let me know in the comments below.

If you would like to keep this post handy for future reference, make sure to Pin this image:

Looking for birthday party ideas on Vancouver Island? Check out this extensive list from Vancouver Island View.


    • Looks great, Laurie! I am so glad to see another option available. Thanks for sharing!

  1. Pingback: Tiger Lily Farm - Vancouver Island View

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  3. Creative Escapes does awesome art parties also!

    We attended a swim party at the pool in Ladysmith and that was great – you book the whole pool!

    • Thank you for the information Sue! I will look into adding both of these to the next list.

  4. Thank you for laying it all out for us 🙂 I have always wondered the cost of these places as it always takes so much time and effort to create the “themed” parties my kids request, I often wonder if renting something would be worth the cost. With the request of a Star Wars party looming I have some food for thought 🙂

    • Well, having done both I do feel that renting a location definitely has its benefits. There is no cleaning of the house prior too, nor cleaning of the house after. The details are taken care of (with the majority of the places), and you don’t have to think about how to entertain all the kids! As for a Star Wars themed party…we were at one hosted at Oliver Woods and it was fantastic! The highlight for the kids were the light sabers. The host made them out of piping insulation, wrapped in colored duct tape. And the best part is they had LOTS of room to use them in the gym. Best of luck in your party planning. 🙂

    • I am so glad you find this list useful! Thank you for leaving a comment.

    • Thank you for letting me know! I will be adding it to part 2 of this post, and will let you know when the article is up and ready.

    • Thank you so much! Lots of other suggestions from FB readers, so stay tuned for a ‘second edition’!

  5. Michael’s does a craft party! We’ve only attended so i don’t know all the details. Thanks for all the great ideas!

    • Hi Shelby, for some reason your comment went to my spam folder, so I am just getting it now. I have Michael’s prepared for the next list. Thank you for the input!

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