Bridges Rock Gym
Bridges Rock Gym in EC offers drop-in option, although it's more expensive. I'd recommend trying it together at their afterschool class if you haven't been before; apparently rock climbing is a love it or hate it activity for kids! (both my 6 yo daughter and 8 yo son love it).
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My daughter had her 9th birthday party at Bridges Rock Gym in El Cerrito, and it was great. All the kids had a blast -- one of the kids even told me ''this is the best birthday party I have ever been to!'' Their layout works really well for parties -- there is an upstairs loft area where you can set up cake, snacks, etc. Bridges is also smaller & less crowded, and the layout of their bouldering wall is more kid-friendly, too. At the time (this was in 2010), their prices were competitive and their service was good. I don't have any more recent experience with their parties. Haven't been to an Ironworks party in years, but my daughter is on the teen girls' climbing team there and likes it. Staff is definitely friendly and professional. I haven't been to the gym in Oakland. Jennifer
We held our daughter's 6th birthday party at Bridges Rock Gym in Richmond (right behind the Pacific East Mall). They did a great job coaching the kids and letting them climb. The pizza from the cafe was also very good! Camille
Maybe your son would enjoy a party in a climbing gym? I heard that Bridges Rock Gym in El Cerrito hosts birthday parties and even slumber parties... Meg
Is $100 too expensive for the entertainment part? We just got back from holding a 5 year old birthday party at the brand new ''Bridges Rock Gym'' and Yoga place in El Cerrito. The party worked great. The staff provided a brief orientation, climbing harnesses, and up the walls the kids went. All of them. One 4-year-old guest got scared halfway up, but she had a great time later on the tightrope, and said she wanted her own 5 year old party there. Cost is $100 for first five kids. There is no upper age limit, but 5 seems a reasonable lower limit. Having parents learn to ''belay'' ropes for kids is very helpful, but is not required. http://www.bridgesrockgym.com/ Bryce