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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Birthday Party at the Watkins Nature Center

Hosting a fun kid's birthday party during the winter can be challenging, especially when you live in a smallish house. Lucas's birthday is just a few days before Christmas and with the birth of Nathaniel we have an early January birthday as well so I have years of doing some creative-thinking for birthday parties ahead of me!

Back in October, I wrote about several indoor birthday party venues in Prince George's County. Based on that research I decided to host Lucas's fourth birthday party at the Watkins Nature Center at Watkins Park. It was a fantastic success and the venue exceeded my high expectations.

Here are the details.

The birthday party rental fee is $100 for residents of Prince George's or Montgomery counties. You get exclusive use of the party room which includes tables, chairs, a sink and refrigerator for a total of 3 hours (that timeline must include set-up and clean-up). You and your guests can also enjoy non-exclusive use of the nature center itself (though on our party day no other visitors came and we did have it all to ourselves!). One of the best parts, though, is that one of the staff naturists leads a 30 minute "Wild Things Animal Show" in the classroom for you and your guests. They also provide Watkins Nature Center coloring books for each of your guests (which we used as the basis of our favor). You also get 15% off in their gift shop on the day you make your payment or your party day if you want to purchase additional favors for your guests (or gifts for the birthday child!). You can have up to 25 children and up to 50 people total--by far the largest number allowed at any of the locations I researched. All the details can be found here (scroll down to the bottom).

This is how we set-up and decorate the room. You can read more of the
specifics about the theme and decor I chose for Lucas's party here.

The naturist did a great job with our Wild Animal Show--she really kept
the children's attention and 30 minutes was just long enough.

Lucas loved touching the snake--he still talks about the "proper" way to pet a snake!

If you are looking for a great, indoor birthday party location, we'd definitely recommend the Watkins Nature Center! And, even if you're not looking for a party venue, don't forget that the Nature Center has awesome weekday and weekend educational programming for kids all year long!

Watkins Park Nature Center
301 Watkins Park Drive
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Disclaimer: We hosted and paid for this party with our own funds...the Nature Center had no idea I might blog about the event (and for all I know may never even discover this post!). I am just hoping this is helpful to other parents looking for indoor party venues or just a fun, educational activity for their kids.

Original post by Out by Ten. Thanks for reading!


  1. Wow! This sounds great! I'll look into this for my 6 year old. Thanks Aimee!

  2. My wife was familiar with the Nature Center, but she didn't know about the party venue until I read your blog post. We had my son's birthday party there yesterday (he turned 5). We extended the invitation to siblings of my son's friends as well because there is plenty of room. There is also plenty of parking, and the weather was good enough that the kids also ran down to the playground for a bit (a short walk from the Nature Center). The kids had a great time. It was a definite success.

    There was also a second function room being used for a bridal or baby shower when we were there. I had the impression that they just needed a room, and they were not partaking in any Nature Center activities. I could be wrong.

    Thanks so much for the idea.

    I came across your blog about six months ago, and I have been reading it regularly.


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