Big Roo turned three in February and being 38 weeks pregnant at the time, I just couldn’t muster the energy to plan a birthday party for him.
You have to know that this is VERY unlike me. I’m the mama who started a tradition of designing his birthday invites, the decorations and the party favor bags. I’m the mama who finds a bakery who will design a cake to match the aforementioned invite. I’m the mama who probably invites too many people to a kids’ party.
Despite being an otherwise frugal person, I LIVE for this sorta stuff because I get to go all crafty.
This year, pregnancy stole my mojo… and my free time. So, for the first time ever I loosened my plannerific, pseudo-Martha Stewart grip off the party and LET SOMEONE ELSE DO IT.
(By the way, this post is a LONG time coming but I think giving birth to another child two days after the party allows me some leeway!)
I looked at bounce house places, little gyms and every other place for kids but, being the outdoorsy nature chica that I am, nothing could complete with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.
Each party includes:
• A printable invitation (although I designed my own)
• 45 minutes of interactive activities, crafts and live animal presentations led by a Museum educator
• 45 minutes for the celebration, which includes cake, ice cream and beverages
• Set up, clean up and all paper products
• A private party room
• Gift bags for each participating party guest
You know what all that means?
WE JUST SHOW UP.
The Natural Sciences museum offers different themes ranging from dinosaurs to reptiles to weird science. For Big Roo’s age I only had one choice- the Young Naturalists. But it was PERFECT!
Wanna see how much fun kiddos have at this place?
First, the party table. This is just a corner of the huge room they had for us. But look! It’s decorated! And I didn’t lift a chubby preggo finger.
As we waited for all the kids to arrive, the museum had a bucket of rubber bugs, snakes and some furry critters to keep them entertained. Clever huh?
Also, see those chairs behind them? That’s for us hard-working parents to sit and RELAX while they put on the “show.” How often to you get to sit at a kids’ party?!
Well, we didn’t get to relax just yet. We first joined the kids for some craft time. They glued textured fabric scraps to pictures of bunnies, geckos and snakes. Big Roo totally rocked out with the glue stick.
The kids then hopped back to the sitting area where they learned about the animals you might see in your backyard. The museum educator brought out a few critters for the kids to pet (with two fingers so they’re extra gentle).
The kids were mesmerized! I’ve never seen kids sit so still at a birthday party before. Did I mention that us ‘rents were sitting in the background RELAXING? And taking pictures of course.
The next animal was a dove followed by a turtle. Don’t worry- plenty of hand sanitizer followed.
Once all the critters got touched by grubby kid-hands, the party goers hopped like frogs over to “the backyard” to find critters of the plastic kind. Each kid had a bucket of rice with four plastic animals buried in there to find. Brilliant!
I need to tuck this idea in my back pocket for a rainy day.
The massive fun didn’t stop there. The kids put together these frogs with one of those New Year’s blow-thingies whose name escapes me. Lots of laughs and funny faces followed as they tried to blow the “tongue” out.
Remember what I said about being a perfectionist about the cake? I admit I was a little worried the cake would look like something from Cake Wrecks. But I was pleasantly surprised to lift the cake box and see a super cute cake, free of superfluous blobs of icing.
Sugar rushes cause major cuteness.
We didn’t have time to open presents at the party because we started a tad late. The kids didn’t seem to mind!
The Final Details
To learn more about the NC Museum of Natural Sciences parties, visit their website. A few more details:
- $245 for non-members; $210 for current Friends of the Museum members (If you’ve ever done a kids’ party at a venue, you’ll know for ALL that’s included, this is a stellar price. Especially considering the cake, paper products and favors are included too.)
- Maximum of 12 children, including the birthday child
- The drinks and ice cream covers just the kids but there’s enough cake for the adults too. And you get to eat it with eco-friendly disposable silverware. The museum let us bring a cooler of drinks for the adults.
- Each kid gets a party favor bag when they leave. I thought the pencil made out of old blue jeans was a cool touch.
If you live in or near Raleigh, then I wholeheartedly recommend the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences for your next kids’ birthday party. Be sure to follow them on Twitter too (@naturalsciences). Mmmkay?
Of course, if you don’t live nearby, I’m sure there’s a place just as cool near you.
I’d say Big Roo was a happy camper, don’t ya think?
Non-disclaimer disclaimer: The museum didn’t have anything to do with this review. I just wanted to spread the word since so many people around here had no idea they did birthday parties.