GAME ON at The Underground Arcade

Our Boy's Epic Birthday Celebration

By Josh & Amy Rose Stoner, MacKid Lodi Publishers May 18, 2023

Every year our boys look forward to choosing a "theme" for their birthday party and we either host it at home or decide to have it at a local venue that specializes in birthday parties. Since we have twin boys, who happen to be quite opposite of each other, it made sense that they would have different interests or ideas on the theme that they'd want. They kept going back and forth between repeating a Spiderman-themed party or having it at SkyZone. Of course they couldn't decide. Then we tried focusing in on what each of them love doing right now. We have one who enjoys video games and the other one who loves nerf guns.

So it was absolutely perfect when we discovered "The Underground Arcade" in downtown Stockton. They recently opened it up as an "event venue" option where you can rent it for a special occasion. We were thrilled to know that they were available for the date we were looking for.

Not only do they have such a fun arcade space but they have a super cool nerf zone too! Talk about a win-win especially in our case with two boys who wanted two different things. 

We reserved an early morning time slot at this incredible venue which gave us exclusive access to our own private arcade full of new and old school video games.  Most of the games are set to free play with a few that required tokens which give out small toys or tickets that can be redeemed at the prize counter.  We had about 65 guests and the space was comfortable and spacious enough to accommodate everyone.  Once we arrived the tables and chairs were already set up and all we needed to do was prepare our spread of birthday goodies and treats.  We didn't even feel the need to have to decorate which saved a lot of money.  Since the party space is located on the bottom floor, you take a flight of stairs down and  you are instantly captivated by the sight of the arcade, the flashing lights and the sounds of the games. So in my opinion, there was really no need for any extravagant decor.  However, if you decide you want to go all out with banners, balloon arches, photo ops etc...there is a ton of space to be as creative as you want to be.  And as if there wasn't enough to do already, we decided to have a face painter.  And not just any face painter. We hired the the BEST of the BEST!!! Brenda, owner of About Face 209, came out and created the coolest and fanciest face paint art on our guests. Two hours of the party and she always had someone in her seat and a line of excited kids and adults waiting for a turn. 

As we approached the last hour of the party, they opened up the Nerf Zone. The kids were pumped and so were some of the adults. The Nerf Zone is located on the same floor but in a separate enclosed area. They have windows where parents are able to watch from the main gathering area. It was set up with giant inflatables that served as barricades and they had a fog machine for special effects as the kids engaged in their epic nerf battle. Each person was given safety goggles, and an assortment of nerf blasters. Let's just say there was never a dull moment during this party. 

Another really cool perk that we had was being able to host coffee and speciality drinks for the adults. All they had to do was head upstairs where they could place an order at the Plaza Perks Coffee Shop. It was an early morning party so we hoped that the extra boost of caffeine helped give more energy to the parents.

When it came close to wrapping up the celebration, we all gathered around to sing Happy Birthday at the top of our lungs. The kiddos got to enjoy vanilla confetti cupcakes from Blessed Glutenless Bakery which were bite sized and absolutely delicious. It had been two hours of non-stop fun and games, food and face painting, and coffee and cupcakes. It was all so perfect with the only downfall being that it didn't last long enough. It was hard to get the kids and even the adults to leave. Those arcade games just kept calling their name and I'm pretty sure they were all up for round 2 of the Nerf Zone. 

So if you are looking to host an upcoming birthday or event, and you want to do something cool and different...then keep the Underground Arcade in mind. They can accommodate small events to large gatherings. And if you need other ideas as you plan your special events, check out our Birthday and Special Event Planning Guide where you will find recommendations on places that offer birthday packages, special event vendors and really cool spots to host your next party!!