Mari's Moments

Planning a party for a teen? Avoid the angst with these DFW options

Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen addresses those attending media day at Epic Waters.
Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen addresses those attending media day at Epic Waters.

If you thought planning a birthday party for a toddler was hard, try finding the right option for an opinionated teenager.

Here's the positive side: You don't have to invite everyone in the class. That point alone allows you to explore pricier options with less guests.

Let's face it, teens can be picky about their friends and what they want to do.

Here are some options in Dallas-Fort Worth that may alleviate that teen angst.

Sophisticated bowling at Pinstack

The experience: Once you walk into one of the three DFW locations (Allen, Plano, Las Colinas), you'll immediately notice a different atmosphere than the bowling parties you planned when your kids were younger. Aside from the state-of-the art bowling lanes, there's also a two-level laser tag arena, bumper cars, a ropes course, rock climbing wall and a video game room that includes a 16-person Giant Foosball table.

What teens will like: The vibe is definitely more adult than most centers, so teens will feel comfortable celebrating. Plus, the sheer number of activities will keep them from getting bored. They'll also like the eclectic menu, which includes macaroni-and-cheese pops, braised beef short ribs, a "grown up" grilled cheese and honey Sriracha chicken stir-fry.

What parents will like: There's a lane-side food and beverage service and if you want to impress their guests, you can rent private VIP lanes.

Cost: Birthday packages, which require a minimum of 10 guests, range from $19.99 per person to $34.99 person and include 45 minutes in a private room and 1 hour of bowling. Some packages include food, drinks and player cards. You could also opt for lane rentals starting at $18 per hour for non-peak hours and $34 for peak times (5 p.m. Friday through Sunday and all holidays).

Locations: 635 Central Expressway North, Allen; 2750 West I-635, Irving; 6205 Dallas Parkway, Plano


Guitar exhibit at FWMSH

The experience: Start at the IMAX theater to see "America's Musical Journey," which stars Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc, then head to the new exhibit "Guitar: The Instrument That Rocked the World." The exhibit runs through May 6.

What teens will like: If you've got a rock fan in your house, this would be a perfect way for him or her to have a fun outing with friends who share their passion for music. Aside from the exhibit and film, there are plenty of interactive activities in the Innovation Studios.

What parents will like: A party that's educational, too? Yes, please. Plus, you could bring younger siblings who don't have to hang out with the teenagers.

Cost: A combo ticket for the exhibit and documentary is $21 for adults, $17 for 18 and younger. A party of six teens would be $102.

Location: Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, 1600 Gendy St., Fort Worth, TX 76107


A swimming celebration at Epic Waters

The experience: If your child's birthday falls outside of the school year, it's sometimes hard to rally the troops. The newly opened Epic Waters offers a year-round possibility. The $88 million indoor water park, which has a retractable roof, has a lazy river stretching more than 650 feet.

What teens will like: Pools. Slides. Lazy River. What more could they ask for? Of the 11 slides located in the mammoth aqua park, three are the first of their kind. The facility also will have a 6,000-square-foot arcade, restaurant, and bar.

What parents will like: A heads-up for parents: Birthday parties for weekends book up months in advance so you'll have to plan ahead or go as a small group without a package.

Cost: Birthday packages for up to 10 guests start at $250. Daily admission for folks under 48 inches is $14 for Grand Prairie residents, $24 for non-residents; over 48 inches is $19 for Grand Prairie residents, $29 for non-residents.

Location: 2970 Epic Place, Grand Prairie, TX 7505


Get the royal treatment at Medieval Times

The experience: If you haven’t been to Medieval Times in a while, the show is new and more spectacular. The food has also gotten better. Inside the walls of the medieval castle, you will be assigned a banner color and sit on your side’s section in the stadiumlike seating area. Then, you will be whisked into a world of knights, royalty and real-life jousting and battles.

What teens will like: Our 16-year-old got a kick out of the spectacle and the storytelling of the fast-paced tournament. Of course, everyone loves eating food with their hands.

What parents will like: The menu has a vegetarian option, and the food was well-seasoned and tasty. It’s nice to have a venue where food and entertainment is included in one price.

Cost: Tickets start at $36.95 for children 12 and younger, $60.95 for adults. The “Celebration” package can be added for an additional $18 per ticket. The package includes VIP and priority seating; a cheering banner and rally towel; group photo for each member of the party; birthday cake; and a personalized announcement during the show. Tip: If you limit the number of guests to two of his or her closest friends, this isn't a bad option.

Location: 2021 N. Stemmons Freeway, Dallas


Spinsanity at Six Flags Over Texas

The experience: Do you remember walking around Six Flags as a teenager? Yeah, it was cool. With more than 100 rides, attractions, shows and events, there's plenty to keep teens occupied. But you know they just want to hang out and talk.

What teens will like:Later this spring, the park will unveil Harley Quinn Spinsanity. The gyroscope-inspired attraction will feature unpredictable, gravity-defying flips, twists and turns — all while 70 feet in the air.

What parents will like:This would be a good option for besties or couples. Parents have a choice to join in the fun or drop them off for the day to have some much needed "me time."

Cost: Tickets start at $60.99. Discount tickets are available for groups of 15 or more.

Location:2201 Road to Six Flags, Arlington, TX 76011.