Category Archives: Birthday Parties

The KFDC Top 16 of 2016

The Mothership at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

The Mothership at the National Museum of African American History and Culture



This year is really getting a bad rap, and I can’t say it isn’t warranted. But while 2016 wasn’t generally stellar, there were some pretty great moments, including on the KFDC front. Here’s a recap of the best of them, our Top 16 of 2016. What were some of your family’s faves of the past year? Let us know in the comments below!

The NMAAHC is a Must Do

The NMAAHC is a Must Do

1. National Museum of African American History & Culture
The newest addition to the National Mall is one of the most remarkable attractions to open in DC in recent years. As I shared in a Facebook post about my visit there, the museum is “phenomenal, an emotional experience that is at once heartbreaking, poignant, uplifting, and hopeful.” I’ll be posting a full write-up after Owen and Sasha visit soon — I was on my own that first time — but for now, take my word that this should top your DC Must Do list. And FYI: While advance passes are unavailable until April, it’s now easier to get them same-day — a limited number are up for grabs online starting at 6:30am daily.


I believe I can fly...

I believe I can fly…

2. Soaring at iFly Loudon
I flew! Like, in the air as if I’d just jumped out of an airplane, except I didn’t have to risk my life and conquer what’s probably my biggest fear. iFly, the simulated skydiving experience is so much fun and such an incredible rush. Flights take place in a vertical wind tunnel, where a smooth cushion of air enables people to float (read my post for more details on how it works). While it’s a pricey venture, it’s worth it in my opinion, but perhaps for a special occasion. Which is just what we’re planning for the kids’ upcoming birthdays (shhhh!).


Hangin' at the Obamas

Hangin’ at the Obamas

3. White House Tour
Considering the many, many years I’ve lived in DC and all the adventures I’ve experienced in this city, you’d think surely I’d been in the White House at some point. Nope. Until our family visited last week for the Christmas tour, I’d only been to the gardens outside. Even the kids had already been! So, although we only got to stroll through the East Wing to view the seasonal decor, it was a mini thrill for me to finally go. And the timing was perfect. 🙂


Over 16,000 diapers bundled that day!

Over 16,000 diapers bundled that day!

4. Volunteering at DC Diaper Bank
This amazing organization started by local mom, Corinne Cannon, provides diapers and other essential items to families in need. Even better, volunteers of all ages are welcome to help make this possible. I had been aware of DC Diaper Bank for years and had promoted their drives and Boogie Babes shows, but we had never volunteered at the warehouse ourseleves. That changed this fall when we spent a morning there helping bundle and stack diapers — over 16,000 of them just that day! — along with a great crew of volunteers from little ones to grandparents. It was great way for the kids to actively give back, and we’re planning to make it a regular thing. If you’re interested in volunteering, sign up here.


Happiest girls on the Hill

Happiest girls on the Hill

5. Snowzilla
Now, this was a perfect storm. The Blizzard of 2016 blew through DC, blanketing the area with two feet of snow. The good kind of snow — soft, dry, and fluffy, not wet and slushy. Then it blew out, and a beautiful, sunny day followed. And what seemed like all of the people of DC got out their sleds and headed to the U.S. Capitol, where the sledding ban was lifted (not that it ever stopped us, anyway), so we could enjoy some quintessential winter fun at one of our city’s country’s most iconic spots. But all around the area, folks were enjoying Snowzilla’s remains, as seen in the Snowzilla Photo Contest. A couple of days later it was 60 degrees and sunny, and while the snow melted swiftly, the memories of a couple fantastic days are permanent.


They escaped -- and had a blast!

They escaped — and had a blast!

6. Escape Lounge Birthday Party
Owen turned the big 1-0 this year, and we wanted to celebrate the milestone with something unique, befitting a newly-minted adventurous tween and his crew of like-minded friends. A party at The Escape Lounge was the key to an excellent birthday bash. The H Street venue offers interactive escape experiences, where guests solve a series of clues to make their way out of a locked room. It was a blast for everyone, and I know several people who have booked parties there on our recommendation and enjoyed it just as much. I know even more folks who have gone just for a fun escape adventure and loved it, too!


New neighbor at the NGA

New neighbor at the NGA

7. Reopening of the East Building
Many of us really missed the National Gallery of Art’s modern and contemporary collections while the east wing was closed for renovations. But the wait for them to return was worth it. The upgrade didn’t just enhance the interior; it also added over 12,000 feet of space. There is now a rooftop with views of the Capitol, Smithsonian Castle, and downtown DC, as well as two tower galleries — one of them dedicated to Alexander Calder’s mobiles, the other showcasing Mark Rothko’s abstract works. Both wonderful additions to an already remarkable place. And, of course, there’s the giant blue Cockrel sculpture, which had to be one of the most Instagrammed DC attractions this past year.


Concert in a living room

Concert in a living room

8. Sofar Sounds
This one is filed under the KidFree section of the blog, where you can find recommendations for things to do when you’re sans children. Sofar Sounds is a unique concert series that offers both a nice, intimate setting to see a show along with a fun element of surprise. See, you don’t know who will be performing until you get to the venue. Which could be anywhere — someone’s living room, a shop, a warehouse, even a museum. And you don’t find out the location until shortly before the show. It’s all about discovering and enjoying new music and mingling with others (including the performers!) who are interested in the same. A cool experience, indeed. Keep it in mind for your next evening out.


What a wonderful spin

What a wonderful spin

9. Carousel at Arena Stage
The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic that ran (or make that spun!) at Arena Stage was my favorite of all the shows we saw this year (and we caught quite a few). Owen and I saw the musical this fall just days after the election, and it was a great boost to the spirits during a really intense time; we were both completely captivated and moved by the show. Brilliant performances by a talented cast, a simple yet beautiful theatre-in-the-round-setting, and a story that is emotional and hopeful made for a great theatre experience. And a neat side bit: The next week when Sasha and I went to The Secret Garden, we saw the leads of Carousel there. I was totally star-struck, but think I managed not to seem like a freak when I gushed to them about how much I loved their show.


A perfect Mother's Day at Quiet Waters

A perfect Mother’s Day at Quiet Waters

10. Quiet Waters Park
We discovered this fantastic locale in Annapolis kind of literally by accident when a wreck on the Bay Bridge thwarted our Mother’s Day plans for an Eastern Shore hike. That serendipitous element is partly what made the outing special. The other part is the park itself and the myriad options for outdoor recreation there — hiking, biking, paddling, picnicking, art explorations, and just hanging out in a really beautiful natural setting. And because it’s in Annapolis, you have to pair it with a crab feast, which is a huge bonus anytime.


Get a peek at this exhibit

Get a peek at this exhibit

11. Ragnar Kjartansson at the Hirshhorn
This exhibit is a must-see for modern art fans. The mix of performance art, video installations, paintings, dioramas, and more inspired works is beautiful and bizarre and moving. My favorite installation called The Visitors, is absolutely mesmerizing and just unlike anything I’ve seen before. I should note that I’ve heard mixed things about young children seeing it — some have been captivated, while others were totally freaked out. (But the beauty of visiting museums on the National Mall is how easy it is find another to visit if one doesn’t work out.) The exhibition is only running through January 8, 2017, so go soon!


They dig Yosemite

They dig Yosemite

12. KFDC Does Cali
So, it’s not in DC, and I didn’t write about it on the blog, but our vacation in California this summer was easily a standout for us this year. We spent time in San Francisco, saw some old DC friends who’ve moved out there, and spent time on the gorgeous coast at Half Moon Bay. But the highlight of the trip was the Yosemite leg, inspired by both Obama’s Every Kid in a Park initiative that gave every 4th grader a free National Park Pass as well as the National Park Service Centennial. It was the first visit to Yosemite for all of us, and it was even more spectacular than I ever could have imagined.


Only in DC

Only in DC

13. Biking Field Trip to the Capitol
A couple of things make this one special. First, I love that it stemmed from a program launched last year to introduce DCPS 2nd grade students to biking as fitness. Sasha’s PE teacher continued it this year, and combined it with an excellent field trip to the U.S. Capitol, where the class got to take a tour. Yes, we rode bikes to the Capitol for a school field trip! That “Only in DC” element is also why I love this. There aren’t many cities, or neighborhoods for that matter, where you can ride down the street with a class of 7-year-olds to one of the most iconic places in the country for a really fun and educational outing. It’s just one of so many reasons why our kids are so lucky to grow up here.


Just another day at the Yards

Just another day at the Yards

14. Light Yards
Yards Park seems to have become the place that embraces the zany — and I so dig that. In this case it was an event over a couple of weekends that featured creative and inspired light installations. The first evening we went, there were large sculptures constructed of steel and light with a display pulsing to the beat of a live DJ set along with an oversized Lite-Brite — rave-y and family-friendly at the same time. The next weekend there were giant luminescent bunnies to ogle and a whole event with fun kid stuff, to boot. The kids were wowed, and I always appreciate an opportunity to show them what great and wild things can come from imagination.


Huzzah for Ren Fest!

Huzzah for Ren Fest!

15. Maryland Renaissance Festival Because, Ren Fest. 🙂










Take ride down Sing Street

Take ride down Sing Street

16. Sing Street
So, this one is pretty random and I’ve never mentioned it anywhere KFDC related before, but I really wanted to give this movie a shout out, because it was practically our anthem this year. Owen discovered this film back in January, and we all watched it together and loved it. If you haven’t seen Sing Street yet, put it at the top of your movie list. (It’s rated PG-13 — you can read the Common Sense Media review here.) The story set in the 80’s about a boy in Dublin starting a band with his friends to impress a girl is fun, dramatic, innocently romantic, and heartwarming. And the soundtrack, featuring both 80’s hits and original tunes, is absolutely brilliant. The new songs especially. I can almost guarantee you’ll be singing, “The boot’s on the other foot now…” after watching.


And there it is, the Top 16 of 2016. Don’t forget to let us know your tops of the year, too!

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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Birthday Parties, Date Night, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Festival, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Movies, Music, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia

Sample a Class, Sign up for a Session at CityDance POP! @ Tenleytown DC

Photo credit: media4artists

Photo credit: media4artists



Is your tiny dancer ready to move, groove, and have fun? Or maybe you are? CityDance POP! offers classes for all ages in a variety of genres! Conveniently located in Upper Northwest DC, POP! is THE destination for high quality, fast-paced fun.

POP! has more than 20 dance classes for all ages, starting as early as 15 months, including: Mommy & Me, Creative Movement, Pre-Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop, African, Break Dancing, Contemporary, Zumba and more. See the schedule below for days, times, and rates. Register by December 31 and use the code EARLY16 for 10% of.

Want to try a FREE class to get a feel for POP! before you commit to a whole session? RSVP to ivy@citydance.net with the subject line KidFriendly DC!

Something else to note: The space available to rent for birthday parties! Email ivy@citydance.net for more details.

CityDance POP! is located at 4435 Wisconsin Avenue NW 20016 in Tenleytown. Metro: Tenley/AU (Red Line). For more information contact tenley@citydance.net or call 202.545.7207.

CityDance_Logo_TempSign_030615

CITYDANCE POP! Spring SCHEDULE:

January 30- June 10, 2017 (18 Weeks)

Ongoing Enrollment

MONDAY
Jazz (Age 7-10) | 3:45-4:45pm | $425
Jazz (Age 11-17) | 4:45-5:45pm | $425
Hip Hop (Age 11-17) | 5:45-6:45pm | $425
Adult Contemporary Jazz | 7:00-8:00pm | $270

TUESDAY
Pre-Ballet | (Age 5-6) | 4:00-4:45pm $346
Beginning Ballet | (Age 7-9) | 4:45-5:45pm $425
Adult Zumba | 6:30-7:30pm | $324

WEDNESDAY
Creative Movement (Age 2.5-3) | 10:30-11:15am | $346
Break Dance/B Boy (Age 6-10) | 3:45-4:45pm | $425
Break Dance/Hip Hop (Age 11-17) | 4:45-5:45pm | $425
Adult Fit Hop | 7:00-8:00pm | $324

THURSDAY
Creative Movement (Age 3-4) | 10:30-11:15am | $346
Creative Movement (Age 3-5) | 4:00-4:45pm | $346
Hip Hop (Age 8-10) | 4:45-5:45pm | $425
Jazz (Age 8-10) | 5:45-6:45pm | $425

FRIDAY
*Mommy & Me (Age 15 mos-2.5) | 1:30-2:00pm
Pre-Ballet (Age 5-6) | 4:00-4:45pm | $346
Jazz (Age 11-17) | 4:45-5:45pm | $425
Contemporary African (Age 11-17) | 5:45-6:45pm | $425

*2 Sessions / $140 per session
*Session = 9 classes

SATURDAY
Creative Movement (Age 3-5) | 9:00-9:45am | $346
Hip Hop (Age 4-6) | 9:45-10:30am | $346
Hip Hop (Age 6-8) | 10:30-11:30am $425


This post is sponsored by CityDance, however, I only promote programs, places, and events that I genuinely believe in and think would appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under All ages, Birthday Parties, Class, DC, Parents, Professional Service, Sponsored Post, Weekdays, Weekend

A Birthday Party Giveaway, Classes, & Open House from My Gym Bethesda & My Gym Potomac!

mygym_bday1

Yes, you read that right… it’s a birthday party giveaway! One lucky KFDC reader has a chance to win a celebration for their child at My Gym Bethesda or My Gym Potomac, an opportunity you definitely don’t want to pass up.

Parties at My Gym Bethesda and My Gym Potomac cater to both kids and parents. Tailored to delight each birthday boy or girl, they take special song and game requests and incorporate them into activities that reflect their regular offerings for families. Even better, they include just about everything — set up, decor, staff to lead activities and serve refreshments, and clean up — so parents can relax and enjoy the celebration along with their child.

mygym_bday2

Three levels of birthday party packages are available, Grand, Deluxe, and Preimer. All of them give party-goers exclusive use of the space.

mygym_climb

Birthday packages are just part of the great offerings from My Gym Potomac and My Gym Bethesda. They also have age appropriate classes for ages 3 months to 10 years. There are Mommy and Me movement and music classes for babies and preschoolers, and older kids love tumbling, sports, and parkour classes. Plus, they have school holiday camps and special events. Read more about everything offered at My Gym Bethesda and My Gym Potomac.

mygym_play

You can all go scope it all out for yourself! This Saturday, September 10, My Gym Bethesda and My Gym Potomac are hosting their Free and Fun Fall Open House. From 9:30am – 1:30pm, stop by either location to learn more about their programs and parties firsthand, meet the staff, and get the year’s best prices when you sign up!

My Gym Bethesda is located at 5110 Ridgefield Road and My Gym Potomac is located at 11325 Seven Locks Road.

* * * * *

Giveaway: For a chance to win a Grand Birthday Party package at My Gym Bethesda or My Gym Potomac, simply leave a comment below telling me what theme your child would pick for a birthday party. To be eligible to win, you must like My Gym Bethesda or My Gym Potomac on Facebook and follow KidFriendly DC on Facebook as well. This giveaway will run through Friday, September 16, 2016, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by My Gym Bethesda and My Gym Potomac, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.

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Filed under All ages, Birthday Parties, Camp, Indoor Play, Maryland, Ongoing, Party, Professional Service, Sponsored Post, Weekdays, Weekend

The Escape Lounge is Celebrating One Year with a Party Discount for You!

Book a party this week to get this great discount! Call to make a reservation: 202.399.0900.


escape_kids-party-discount

This post is sponsored by The Escape Lounge, however, I only promote places, programs, and events that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under Birthday Parties, DC, Discount, Party, Sponsored Post

Party On, Kids: Ideas for Birthday Celebrations Around DC

A very happy birthday boy at his Escape Lounge celebration

A very happy birthday boy at his Escape Lounge celebration



I may have slacked on the annual birthday party post for a few years, but this one, hopefully, will make up for it. It’s full of ideas for hosting children’s celebrations around the area, with recommendations for varying ages, interests, and budgets. And though I’ve changed my tune a bit about having parties at home (more on that below) since I first started these posts, I do still love finding great places to throw a good kids bash, and this round-up of party places reflects that. Happy planning!

A Great Escape
Owen turned the big 1-0 this year, and we wanted to celebrate the milestone with something unique, befitting a newly-minted adventurous tween and his crew of like-minded friends. A Clue Party Package at The Escape Lounge was the key to an excellent birthday bash. The H Street NE venue offers interactive escape experiences, where guests solve a series of clues to make their way out of a locked room. Owen and his friends had a blast mastering the Escape the Classroom option, plus enjoyed loads of other fun activities — a craft project, karaoke, goofy dress-up, and dancing — in a cool party room that was set up nicely and stocked with everything we needed upon our arrival. They even took care of ordering the pizza and supplying drinks, all we had to do was bring a cake. It was as easy to execute as it was enjoyable. Read more about it and see photos here. The deets: The Clue Party Package for kids is $475 and includes pizza, treats, drinks, and all party supplies for 12 kids and three adults. A wide age range could enjoy it — they say ages 6 and up.

Play & Party
Finding good party places for the littlest people can be challenging when it comes to celebrations in the District, since there just don’t seem to be a lot of venues that cater to small kids with age-appropriate activities and child-friendly environs. This makes Gymboree DC a rare gem here. The space full of soft mats and play structures is perfect for tiny revelers (and older children can enjoy them, too). Plus, parties have cute themes and are led by a teacher. You get an hour of exclusive use of play facilities, then party time in a separate room. Set up, clean up, and goody bags are all taken care of, to boot. The deets: Cost of a 1.5-hour party is $375, a two-hour party is $400. And right now there is a special spring offer for 20% off parties through June!

Parties with Natitude
If your kid is a Nats fan, then this party is sure to be a hit. An all-inclusive birthday party package at Nationals Park is full of pregame and game time fun. Parties begin an hour before the first pitch and include an indoor party space, games for guests, pizza & cupcakes, a mascot visit & photo ops, party favors, and a gift for the honoree. From there, the party moves to the Mezzanine Level, where you have a good view of the game as well as a personalized birthday scoreboard message and a video clip of the party featuring the birthday kid. (I seriously think I may start start celebrating my kids’ half-birthdays to get in on this one!) The deets: Cost is $30/party-goer, and chaperone tickets are available in the same seating section for $20. A minimum of 20 guests is required (excluding chaperones), and parties should be booked at least two weeks in advance. This could make for a good shared party to meet minimum guest requirement and curb costs.

Bouncy Birthdays
Sport Bounce of Loudoun has been voted “Best Place to Have a Birthday Party” by Loudoun and Fairfax parents. With giant inflatables to play upon, the exclusive “Big Red Chair Photo,” massive jumping pillow, and more, ages 2-10 can celebrate here, though I’d say it’s best for the younger end of that. The venue is not open to the public during parties, so your time on the equipment is just for your group. You also have access to your very own party room the entire time as well as a dedicated party assistant throughout the celebration. And Sport Bounce makes it easy from the start — they provide invitations and will even mail them for you. On top of all that, the birthday child gets a free Open Bounce pass plus a buddy bounce pass to return for even more fun. The deets: Parties for up to 16 children cost $325 on Saturday & Sunday, $275 Monday – Friday, and two pizzas are included in the weekday rate. Additional guests are $10 each. Parties are 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Tea Time
Pinky’s out! If you want to keep the party small but special, this is one to consider. Starting May 1, the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City will offer a “Petite Socialite” Afternoon High Tea experience certain to add extra sparkle to any birthday. Created to delight young social-etts, the package includes a private Afternoon Tea reservation for four in the hotels’ fyve Restaurant, edible glitter dipped fruit, delicate French macaroons, assorted miniature cupcakes, sparkling cider served in a champagne flute, a $20 Simon Gift Card and tiara for each guest, and complimentary parking. A pre- fixe lunch menu and overnight stay accommodations are also available for an additional rate. The deets: The package starts at $65 per guest under 12 and $75 per guest over age 12. And “Petite Socialite” can be accommodated to celebrate any occasion and is offered to guests of all ages.

A Super Fly Time
Give your child and guests their Superman moments at iFLY Loudoun. The brand new facility in Ashburn, VA, offers simulated skydiving experiences for ages 3 to 103. Flights take place in a vertical wind tunnel indoors and are as safe as they are thrilling. This is not a cheap venture, so parties here are probably best for a small group or for those who are happy to splurge. Packages include a party coordinator for your event, a flight training class, all the necessary gear, hands-on instruction with each flyer, and a video of the flight session. Extras include a party room, catering, and a few more services. You could also consider just taking a crew for flight sessions (sans party package) and having the celebration part elsewhere. For more about iFLY and photos of the experience, see this KFDC post. The deets: Party packages for up to 12 people start at $659.95. This includes two flights each, plus twelve video clips of the session.

Aviation Celebration
If you’re into the flight theme, but not necessarily actually flying, consider a party at the College Park Aviation Museum. Kids ages 3 -12 can celebrate at the cool space full of old airplanes and other exhibits showcasing the history of flight located next to the oldest continuously operating airport in the world. A few party packages are available, all of them including museum exploration, an aviation-themed craft, a private party room, decor and party favor bags. A couple of them offer a flight simulator, too, so kids can get somewhat of a feel for flying without their feet leaving the ground. The deets: The Junior Aviator Party is $350/non-member, $300/members; the Signal Corp Party is $375/non-members, $325/members for 10/children, 12/adults ($15 per additional child) and both include the flight simulator, cost difference is the craft. Wilbur’s Workshop Party for ages 10-12 only is $400/members, $350/members and features rib making as the activity.

Birthdays that Go Boing
Kids of all ages can jump, play, even flip for joy at Flight Trampoline Park. The huge space in Springfield, VA, resembles a skate park, with an industrial look of exposed pipes and cinder block walls sprayed with graffiti. But where you’d find ramps, rails, and concrete to facilitate skills and tricks, there are trampolines instead. They offer several birthday party packages at varying rates, depending on what it includes and when you host it (weekday or weekend). The Flight Birthday, includes an hour of jump time for 10 jumpers, socks and $1 in tokens for all guests, 45 minutes in a party room, two pizzas, and 10 bottles of water, and a t-shirt and jump pass for the birthday kid. The bigger packages offer more jump time and pizza at higher prices. For more about Flight Trampoline Park, see this KFDC post. The deets: The Flight Birthday is $280 Monday – Thursday, $330 Friday – Sunday for 10 jumpers, $16 for each additional jumper. Add on another $60-65 for the Fight Pro package and $160 for the Ultimate package. There is also a Mini Flight available Monday – Thursday only for up to 6 jumpers for $210.

Revel & Rappel
Host a great active party for an energetic crew at ClimbZone. The enormous facility is filled literally floor to ceiling with colorful themed climbing walls and moon bounces. Climbers can ascend Mt. Rushmore, reach the Jolly Roger on a pirate ship, conquer a game of Tetris, shimmy up a giant guitar, scale Jack’s bean stalk, negotiate a rope wall, and experience peak fun on a variety of other climbing areas. Party guests have access to all of it, plus a dedicated area for your group — and while you get the party space for two hours, climbing time is for three. You bring supplies and can BYO food or have it delivered from an area eatery. This might seem like it’s for older kids, but children ages 2 and up can climb! Read more about ClimbZone and see photos in this KFDC post. The deets: There is a 10-person minimum to reserve a party area, and that also gets you the 10% group discount (cost per person is regular price $25/ages 6 and up, $12/2-5 years). Cost for the room is $30.

Party in the Treetops
Literally a lofty way to celebrate, parties at The Adventure Park at Sandy Spring take place in the trees. That’s right, ropes courses and zip lines make up the largest aerial forest in North America, and navigating it is an amazingly fun pursuit for adventurous kids. The park is closed during winter, so this one is for spring, summer, and fall parties (again, I’m thinking half-birthday celebration). Kids ages 5 and up can climb in the park, and a couple of party packages are available, one for ages 5-9, the other for ages 8 and up. Find more about what’s included in both here. And read more about The Adventure Park and see photos in this KFDC post and this one. The deets: Cost per climber is $25 with a minimum of 8 and maximum of 24 for parties. There is a 30-minute orientation session, then climb time for 90 minutes or two hours, depending on the package. Picnic tables will also be reserved for your group.

Home Sweet Home
For the past couple of years, Sasha has requested parties at home. And despite my ramblings in past years about why my kids’ birthday celebrations had to be out of the house, I readily obliged. Hey, things change… as the kids get older, I find it’s much easier to host groups of friends without massive chaos; not only are they more mature and independent, I’m no longer a baby about handling it. So, both this year and last, Sasha invited about 10 friends over to help ring in her new years — and both were very sweet and fun celebrations. I set out beads and string, stickers, and snacks for the kids to enjoy as things got stared, then they moved on to a bigger craft later. Last year, they made these fairy jars (and the kids made doily crafts for the lids), this year they decorated tea cups for a tea party theme. (Pinterest is a bible for that kind of stuff!) They noshed on tea sandwiches and other finger foods, ate cake, and finished up with a dance party as they often seem to do. Sure, set up and clean up took a little time, but we also saved a ton of money — I probably spent $100 total when all was said and done, much less than if we’d had a party elsewhere.

Home grown party fun

Home grown party fun



I Second That!
There are a few places that I’ve talked about before and want to bring attention to again, both because we loved the parties there and they deserve an extra shout out:

Watkins Nature Center – One of my very favorite birthday party spots for kids in this area. Parties are fun, engaging, great for all ages and all seasons with indoor and outdoor elements, plus it’s relatively inexpensive for the DC-Metro. Read the original review here.

Labyrinth Games & Puzzles – We celebrated Owen’s birthday here last year, and a fantastic time was had by all. The party was led by a staff member who introduced the kids to all kinds of cool board games. There was lots of enthusiasm and laughter, too. Read more about Labyrinth here.

H Street Country Club Sasha had a great birthday here a few years ago, with indoor mini golf keeping the guests entertained and yummy food keeping bellies full (plus, a bar for parents who might enjoy a Bloody Mary…after all, it was a brunchtime party). Read the first mention of their parties here.

Canal Park Ice Rink – We celebrated here a few years ago, and it was a perfect pick for a large group. Also a great option for a winter birthday, it actually felt like the season worked to our advantage for a change. If your winter-born child likes to ice skate, definitely consider this. Read an earlier write-up about parties at Canal Park Ice Rink here.

For even more birthday party ideas, be sure to check out posts from years past — you can find links to all of them on the Special & Seasonal page!


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Birthday Parties, DC, Maryland, Virginia