The Busy Parent’s Birthday Guide
We did the research on go-to party venues so you don’t have to.
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Last December, I was in a pinch. Twenty-four hours before my son’s backyard, outdoor birthday party, the weather took a drastic turn. The forecast changed from a mild December day to sleet and freezing rain. Scrambling to find an alternative, I turned to the internet. It was full of lists with ideas, but the important details were missing: Was the place in our budget? Would it accommodate our friends and be age appropriate? Is it convenient for guests?
With these questions in mind, we present a list of birthday party ideas, including essential stats for each, to jump start your party planning so you can save your time for reading bedtime stories instead of researching birthday party venues. Remember, most places fill up fast, so plan to book in advance.
A party at Discovery place includes nitrogen-made ice cream.
Photo courtesy of Discovery Place
Cool factor: Nitrogen-made ice cream while you watch — an intersection of science and yumminess.
Details: Prices start at $215 for members and $235 for nonmembers with party size ranging from 20 guests — of which five adults are required — to $570 for members and $610 for nonmembers that includes up to 50 guests, ages 3 and older. Depending on party package selected, parties are held in the party room under the guidance of a partyologist for 60-90 minutes.
Who’s cooking? Cakes can be purchased through Discovery Place or bring your own.
Notes: Enjoy the museum after the party as general admission is included for all.
Discovery Place Nature includes museum admission in its birthday party packages.
Photo courtesy of Discovery Place
Cool factor: You can rent the museum, if you’re into that kind of thing. A $750 option gives you and your group exclusive access.
Details: Prices start at $195 for members and $215 for nonmembers for 90 minutes in the party room. Party sizes can range from 20 guests, 10 spots for children age 3-9 and 10 spots for adults, to 35 guests with a maximum of 15 children.
Who’s cooking? They provide lemonade and party ware. You bring snacks and cake, or pay them to supply a Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream cake.
Notes: You must book two weeks in advance. General museum admission is included for all in your party.
Cool factor: Like Discovery Place Nature, a $750 option gives you and your group exclusive access to the museum. It’s like a big indoor playground just for your group.
Details: Prices start at $195 for members and $215 for nonmembers, up to $750 to rent the museum. For children age 1-7, party size can range from 30 (12 children and 18 adults) up to 75 (35 children and 40 adults) for 90 minutes in the party room.
Who’s cooking? Cupcakes are available to order, or bring your own cake. Juice boxes are provided.
Notes: Theme party rooms are already decorated, so no work for mom and dad. And Museum admission is included for all guests.
Cool factor: Besides being in an actual hangar with airplanes kids can sit in, it is nearby one of Charlotte Douglas International Airport’s very active runways.
Details: Designed for ages 5-12, pricing ranges from $250-$275 for up to 25 people.
Who’s cooking? You are, but you can bring your own food or have food delivered from your favorite place.
Notes: Parties are available Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., or Sunday at 2 p.m.