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Lifestyle

Birthday bonanza for kids on Long Island

Want to feel ancient? Ask your child if he's heard of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Birthday parties have moved so far beyond living room games and a cake iced by Mom.

SLOTS-A-LOT

1100 Hempstead Tpke., Franklin Square, 516-616-7075

Why it's fun: A tab on the bottom of these 5-inch-long cars fits into a slot, and the cars are operated by remote control. Eight cars race on each of three enormous tracks inside a vast party room. "It's the only party where all of a sudden the men want to bring the kids," says owner Cathy Livigni.

For ages: 4 and up

Cost: $165 to $425, depending on the number of children (venue can accommodate eight to 24 kids).

Extras: Includes pizza, soda, Carvel cake, goody bags and coffee. Parents provide invitations and food for other adults, if desired.

THOMAS SCHOOL OF HORSEMANSHIP

250 Round Swamp Road, Melville, 631-692-6840, tshcamp.com

Why it's fun: Each child rides for 20 to 30 minutes. "We teach them how to get on the horse, how to make the horse walk, stop and steer," says Kristen Garcia, riding director. They also do crafts, such as spray-painting a real horseshoe gold and decorating it with glitter pens.

For ages: 3 and older (parties available from March to June and September to November only)

Cost: $350 for up to 14 children; $25 each additional child, with a maximum of 18

Extras: Venue provides invitations, thank-you cards and goody bags, including such items as horse-related coloring books. Parents provide all food, drinks, paper goods and cake.

CLIX

326 Walt Whitman Rd./Route 110, Huntington Station, 631-425-2900, clixlongisland.com

Why it's fun: Be a model in a runway show! The birthday child comes in before the party and gets a 20-minute pre-shoot. On the day of the party, there's a fashion show, where paparazzi-style photos are taken of each child.

For ages: 7 to 12

Costs: $389 for 10 children, plus the birthday child.

Extras: Parents provide all food and party accessories.

ISLAND FENCING ACADEMY

101 Dupont St., Plainview, 516-576-0646, islandfencingacademy.com

Why it's fun: Younger kids spar with plastic sabers; older kids get metal ones. The party is a one-hour group lesson, with instruction, masks, jackets and other equipment provided. "We explain fencing," says Boris Khurgin, an academy partner.

For ages: 4 and older

Costs: $300 for 10 children; $20 a person extra

Extras: Parents provide all food and party accessories.

READER'S CHOICE: LITTLE SUNSHINE PLAY CENTER

299 Raft Ave., Sayville, 631-563-7529, littlesunshineplaycenter.com

Why it's fun: Several readers e-mailed us about this venue, where activities are geared to younger children, such as circle time with shakers and scarves, parachute play, and a parade around the room. Kids make a seasonal craft such as a foamy snowman refrigerator magnet.

For ages: 1 to 6

Costs: $295 for up to 12 children; $10 for each additional child.

Extras: Invitations, paper goods, balloons and decorations, candy-filled piñata, pizza, juice and cupcakes for the kids, and coffee and tea for the adults. Parents can order additional pizza for adults at an added cost.

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