By Emily Harrington
Pizza. Games. Booze. These three components make a crowd-pleasing birthday party—for little ones and adults.
Jupiter’s At The Crossing, 2511 Village Green Place in Champaign, lives at the bustling family weekend spot—Village at the Crossing. I’ve been there more times than I can count! I’ve attended events on each end of the celebration spectrum—kid birthday to retirement parties.
My sister-in-law chose Jupiter’s for her son’s third and 4th birthday parties. She stated the parties were just “so easy” to put together. She chooses to pick items from the regular menu. Picking items à la carte creates a party that is just right for her guests. She offered her guests a pizza and appetizer buffet. Each child was given a preloaded game card with a set amount on it. If the kiddo ran out of credits, the parents could easily reload it at one of the kiosks.
If you want a party template that is already created for you, you can choose a package.
Regular kids’ party package is $12.99/child (12 and younger):
- one-topping large pizza/five children
- refillable soft drinks for each child
- guaranteed space in basement game area for 1 hour and 45 minutes
- Reservation times for the basement area are 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Areas can be reserved for longer times for additional fees.
- Game cards are available for parties in any quantity/denomination. They can be loaded prior to the party. This cost will be added to the party tab. Guests can keep their cards, and they can reload them at future visits.
The premium party package is $15.99/child (12 and younger). In addition to the regular package items, you are provided with an undecorated, plain chocolate or vanilla birthday cake (one piece/child).
Jupiter’s is a big place, but it is popular. Check first to see if they have space when your anticipated party date is. Return a form to secure your reservation—no fee to reserve. There is a $50 fee, however, if you must cancel less than a day from your party time. Also, your table will be given away if you are 15 minutes late.
Each year my sister-in-law was able to take whatever her son was interested in at the time (last year Cars, this year SpongeBob) and customize the party theme to work for them. She used the theme with her supplied invitations and favor bags. All paper products were provided by Jupiter’s, by the way. Although, you could carry the theme through these items, too, if you wanted to supply them yourself. For cake, my sis-in-law brought in her own. They allow cake or cupcakes from a store. This is ONLY allowed for reserved parties. There is a $1 fee/person in party for the cleanup, and the fee goes toward the paper products they provide. This fee would be waived provided that a party package is purchased. She also brought in decorations. You can bring in any décor (except for glitter/confetti)—you just can’t tape, tack or hang anything to walls or furniture.
What about entertainment?
Jupiter’s implemented a literal game-changing process tweak. No more tokens and tickets! Welcome reloadable card system! THANK YOU. You will no longer pull your hair out while mentally losing it at the prize machine. I literally had to do deep breathing exercises whenever waiting for kids in front of us to feed the prize machine ticket after ticket after ticket. Now, add credits, receive tickets and redeem prizes—all on your card. Money/credits can be added to each card as long as you have credit/debit card or cash. Each card costs $1, and they can be preloaded for your guests if you let the party organizer know in advance.
For reference, $20 will yield 100 credits, $5, 20 credits. Each game is two to four credits (except the photo booth is a dozen), so you can play a lot of games with twenty big ones. By the end of the night, we found ourselves trying to get rid of our credits. You can also purchase more credits at kiosks, as needed. You can register the cards with names/emails. This way if they are lost or stolen, you can recoup.
Jupiter’s has kindly agreed to put old paper tickets and tokens on a card. However, this courtesy will end soon! You will also notice bowling is gone. In fact, many of the games have been rearranged. The entire basement arcade seems much less congested—even on busy nights.
For what it’s worth, I would recommend this type of party for kids 4 and older. This recommendation is based on game appropriateness and the motor skills needed for the games.
Take Jupiter’s for a test run on Monday’s Family Night. This includes half-price arcade games, one large pizza (each topping is 70 cents more), four soft drinks and one basket of breadsticks for $25! Double Ticket Thursdays sounds like a winner, too!
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie. She left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job in communications so that she could be a 24/7 mom to two busy boys. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Emily usually finds herself engulfed in balls, blue and belly laughs.