Birthday Bash: Bowling, Golf and Arcade Games for a 9 Year Old


Mom posing in front of a birthday cake with her son and two daughters

Having a kiddo with a birthday smack dab in the middle of holiday season (beginning of December) can make planning a birthday party daunting. 

Some years it just doesn’t work out with schedules and all of the holiday chaos. 

One of the unintentional benefits though, is being able to take advantage of those sweet Black Friday steals and deals (more on that later).

This year was one of “those” years– it seemed like we weren’t going to have a party for his 9th birthday. But after the last two years of covid chaos, we decided to go big and went with the platinum package at Fat Cats of Mesa.

The party was booked from 5:30 to 7pm on a Sunday night, which was nice to have such flexibility in more of a ‘non traditional’ birthday party time that’s usually smack dab in the middle of a weekend.



The Venue

Everyone knows and goes to the Gilbert location, but please don’t sleep on the Mesa location nestled off Longbow parkway and the Red Mountain 202. 

This location is my new go to. Not only is it bigger, newer, and less crowded, but they have a wonderful staff and the amount of space this location has makes the chaos of a birthday party feel less confined.

Since we did the bowling package, we got set up with two lanes of our own, and the high top tables right behind the lanes. We have attended parties that were hosted in the party room before (which they do have), but for me and the age of the kids who attended, the space felt so much better. It was open, but tucked into the end of the lanes the kids could come and go as they pleased with a wonderful line of sight. 

The Theme

We hadn’t been to a birthday party there previously, and honestly, it was even better than I expected because they literally took care of everything. 

Prior to the party, they contacted me for the birthday kid’s favorite colors to coordinate with, they gave me a timed itinerary so I knew just what is going on throughout the party.

Since we chose the platinum bowling package the theme set itself. We did add a little extra flair with some Minecraft plates, napkins and extra balloons from Party City.

The Food

The food was a HUGE hit.

With the party for 10 kids we had three pizzas of our choosing included in the package. 

What I didn’t know prior to this party is that Fat Cats offers a whole host of catering options. 

Since a lot of my family is from the west side of the Valley, I wanted to splurge by adding more catering menu options for the adults beyond just pizza.

The catering add-on menu offers fresh fruit and veggie platters, chips and salsa, salads, an appetizer trio, meatballs, sliders, wings, dessert platters and even the option of an ice-cream bar. 

They had so many options to choose from it was really difficult to pick. We ended up going with a fruit platter, a caesar salad, the bistro sliders (which were the biggest hit) and the appetizer trio. 

Everyone raved about the food and the portions were generous, so we even ended up going home with some extras after everyone had more than enough to eat. 

Plus, Fat Cats Mesa has a full bar, so parents could grab a beer or glass of wine during the party as well.

The only thing that I brought was the cake (which we got from Walmart).

The Fun

The entire location screams fun, the party included bowling which kept the kids plenty busy for the first hour. 

When they began to get bored of bowling, as only nine year olds can, it was easy to transition to a round of mini glow golf and then $5 arcade gift card, which were all included in our party package as well. 

Each party is assigned a party host who guided us through everything. She was available for questions and handled any other needs we had during the party.

She kept the kids entertained and they even brought out the Fat Cats mascot (did you know they had a mascot?). 

The party host even had two extra special surprises for us. While the kids were running around, she managed to corral them for a quick picture which we were gifted at the end of the party and while they were playing in the arcade she had an extra unlimited game card for the birthday boy to use.

My son was so thrilled with that extra surprise and ended up spending most of his time in the virtual reality area. (If you haven’t tried it, highly recommend it). Fat Cats Mesa not only made doing a birthday party easy, but fun as well. 

Some additional tips and tricks 

They will call and confirm with you the guest numbers, color theme and all the other details 24 hours out which can be a bit of a stressor for those like me who are a little Type-A. Don’t stress, they will get it all done and it will be right! 

Another little nugget that I was thrilled to find out was that they allow you to use gift cards to pay up to $100 towards the balance of your party. Which was awesome as I took advantage of the Black Friday gift card deal and ended up with an extra $40 in gift cards that we used to play games with. So please, if you see those buy $50 get $20 deals definitely take advantage of them. 

If simple, easy and fun is your style, Fat Cats Mesa is your location for just that!

Want more birthday party ideas? Check out more from our Birthday Bash Series.

This post is a sponsored post written by East Valley Moms on behalf of some of the brands featured in the post, but all opinions are 100% ours. Thank you for allowing us to partner with brands we believe in to continue to bring you free content!


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