Planning a birthday party for a pre-teen can get expensive quickly, which is why we only have big parties every few years or so. My son loves retro video games and wanted to have a birthday party with lots of friends this year. I looked into the video game truck, but to be honest, I didn’t have the time to get our house company-ready and wanted to look at off-site options. So when I heard about Rocket City Arcade at NerdCon (formerly Classic Game Vault), I was pleased to find they host birthday parties!
This arcade is also a buy & sell trading post for retro games and their consoles of all sorts. It was pretty nostalgic for this GenXer. You can buy a cleaned-up NES and all your favorite childhood games there if you are so inclined!
Birthday Party at Rocket City Arcade
Age & gender of child: Boy, 12 years old
Party Theme: Retro video games
Party Location: Rocket City Arcade (map)
Facility Rental Costs*: $120 for up to six kids, $10 per child for any over that. Includes private use of the Party Room for two hours and unlimited game play for guests.
*These costs reflect price at time of party. Prices may vary.
Number of Party Guests: 16 kids, and a few parents. Because these were older kids, and the Party Room was crowded, I encouraged parents to drop off and pick up after the party. We had ours on a Sunday afternoon.
Invitations: Evite invitations – these are free and they had a cool retro gaming template.
Decorations & Food
The arcade’s Party Room had lots of video game posters and artwork on the walls. The only decorations we brought with us was a “Happy Birthday” banner. You can also bring balloons if you want but we didn’t.
We brought in pizza and drinks, as well as plates, cups, and napkins. We brought a cooler with ice. My very talented aunt made the birthday cake and it was Undertale themed. Don’t forget: hand sanitizer, cake candles & lighter, and utensils to cut & serve cake.
Favors & Activities
The arcade itself was the main attraction and the kids had a blast playing as much as they wanted! None of the games required tokens – you pay at the front desk for unlimited play. In the party room, there is also 7-8 home consoles with televisions set up to play NES, Sega, Playstation, and Xbox games. Even though our party was from 1-3 PM, kids could technically stay and play until closing if they wanted.
For favors we just had some candy, but there are tons of cute favor ideas for video games on Pinterest if you’re more creative than I am.
This is a great low-key party venue, and the staff was super friendly and helpful. However, be prepared to facilitate the party yourself – no staff are assigned to work it or clean up. We were prepared for this but it is worth noting. Because of that, we were sure to bring Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, paper towels, and garbage bags for trash. It was a cinch to do ourselves and definitely worth not having a home party and all the headaches that includes. Because pizza and game controllers can get messy, I made sure to wipe down controllers afterward.
The bathroom at the arcade was in a back stockroom, and not super accessible, but there was a changing table to my pleasant surprise, which already makes it better than a lot of restaurants in town.
Final thoughts: from start to finish we spent no more than $225 on everything – food, drinks, venue, and invitations – for a party with over 16 kids and adults. That’s pretty impressive. My son had a fantastic time with his friends and said he never wanted the day to end. I’d definitely recommend a party at Rocket City Arcade for kids ages 10 and up.
You Might Also Like…
- Rocket City Mom’s Ultimate Birthday Party Planner
- More Great Party Ideas for Kids on RCM
- How to Throw an Epic Birthday Party in a Huntsville Park
Stephenie has worked with and around books and authors for over 12 years, both at retail booksellers and public libraries. She is a rare Huntsville native, mother of two high-energy boys, wife of one, and eerily addicted to community volunteering. When she's not being the Managing Editor for RCM she likes to stalk her favorite authors online, cook with way too much butter, and also manages to conduct freelance marketing and PR work.