Who says science has to be confined to the classroom, or that laboratories are for trained scientists only? At these unique venues, lab coat-clad kids can explore and experiment their way through beakers of fun with their friends. Whether it's a rocket launch or a private romp through the Morian Hall of Paleontology, this will be one birthday for the books...textbooks, that is. And for more birthday party ideas, check out our directory of local businesses.
Mad Science - Bellaire (or at your home)
Who: Parties are geared towards 5-12-year-olds, but a Little Top Party is offered for the youngsters ages 3-4
When: Any time on weekdays and holidays (yes, open on holidays); times slots on the hour from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on the weekends.
What: 45-60 minutes of a Mad Scientist-led, interactive show complete with make-your-own slime; 45-60 minutes of pizza, cake, you name it.
Extras: Party add-ons include cotton candy experiment, dry ice experiment, and/or build and blast a rocket. Goody bags can be purchased and free downloadable invitations are available. Want a party pic of all the kids looking like real scientists? Purchase white lab coats at the venue (birthday celebrant's coat included with party fee).
Anything else? 15-minute set up time; no decorations allowed; outside food is only allowed during certain time slots and incurs a fee.
Little Beakers -The Woodlands and Cypress
Who: There is no max number of kids (comfortably holds around 25, but parties as large as 40 have taken place here; no limits on age, but the typical age is between 4-10-years-old).
When: Weekday evenings, Saturdays from 10-5:30 p.m., Sundays from 12:30-5:30 p.m.
What: One-hour Scientist-led session with four hands-on experiments, including take-home slime and snow, and an "explosion" for the birthday celebrant; one hour for general merriment
Extras: Last minute party planning? This place has you covered from the cake to set-up to goody bags.
Anything else? You can bring your own food or have the venue order pizza for you. Bonus points for a searchable date-availability calendar on their website.
Photo courtesy of Little Beakers
Houston Museum of Natural Science - Museum District & Sugar Land
Who: 20 kids and 20 parents (additional charge for a larger room that holds up to 40 kids and 40 adults)
When: Basic party times are 9-11 a.m., noon-2 p.m. and 3-5 p.m. daily. The Deluxe Party can be held at any two-and-a-half-hour timeframe during regular business hours.
What: The museum really pulls out all of the stops. With a basic package, you chose from one of seven themes (some themes are recommended for older kids). The two-hour party includes a 30 minute craft, 30-45 minute tour or exhibit, and then 45 minutes for cake and confetti. A deluxe party includes everything from the basic package, plus exclusive access to the Dinosaur overlook and one add-on (see below). Invitations and thank you notes are also part of the Deluxe package.
Extras: You think of it, and they offer it as an add-on. Magician, balloon artist, face painter, live animal presentation, bug presentation, and simulated space mission to name a few. Professional photography is even available.
Anything else? Note that some of the themes are only available at the museum-district location. You get a 30-minute set-up.
Club SciKids - Various Locations
Who: Children ages 4-13
When: Parties are one hour.
What: Pick a theme, a science demonstration (elephant toothpaste anyone?), and a make-and-take experiment. Goody bags are included in the base price.
Extras: Paper party supplies are available for $2 per guest. The birthday kid gets a shirt and science gift with the party.
Idea Lab Kids - Various Locations
Who: The lab offers themes based on age: 9 and up, 8 and under, and preschoolers.
When: Saturdays and Sundays
What: Pick a theme (such as Jr. Scientist, Aliens vs Astronauts, Rockin Robots. In addition to science parties, Idea Lab offers other party themes such as art parties and cooking classes) and then a package (Deluxe, Premier, or Ultra). Parties last two-and-a-half hours.
Extras: You can bring outside food, and there are a variety of optional amenities, including a candy station, chocolate fountain, a photographer with a memory book option, a character visit, and karaoke.
Anything else? What else do you need with a chocolate fountain and karaoke?!
Top image courtesy of Mad Science