March 6, 2012

Shoreline Birthday Parties


coE-list readers write in often for children’s birthday party ideas, so we nosed out some of the best on the Shoreline. Here’s my list.




Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme

One of my daughter’s (and my) favorite parties was here: take a kid-friendly tour of the museum and then create arts and crafts projects in the Hartman Education Center. Party times are available Monday through Friday afternoons for two hours. Cost: $250 for up to 10 children, $10 each additional child. Bring your own refreshments, cake and papergoods.


Lyman Allyn Museum, New London 

A two hour birthday party package includes a 20 minute eye-spy tour or scavenger hunt in the museum and a 40 minute art project. Choose from painting on canvas, mask-making, clay sculpting, printmaking or parasol painting. The second hour is reserved for lunch or cake, games and presents in a private party room. Cost is $130 for museum members and $150 for non-members for up to 12 guests. Downloadable email invitation available. Bring your own refreshments, cake, and papergoods.


Guilford Arts Center, Guilford

For children with a passion, choose a theme at Guilford Arts Center: create a fairy flower crown, make finger puppets or marionettes, stencil tee shirts, craft a Knight’s crown, sword and coat of arms, design jewelry using beads, shells or polymer clay, explore outerspace by making a rocket or space creature, throw a princess or pirate party. New offerings include a sports (make your a pennant or tee) or circus theme. The cost is $100 for a minimum of 5 children and $15 for each additional. Bring your own refreshments and smocks for the kids. Call 203.453.5947 to reserve. to download the Birthday Party Brochure.




Stay and Play, Old Saybrook

For 90 minutes of fun and no fuss, buy the Stay and Play Party Package. $18 per child (minimum $180) includes private use of party space and unlimited use of the Playspace before during and after the party, invitations, balloons, eco-friendly plates, cups and napkins, and one juice per child. Bring your own food and cake and for a reasonable fee, goodie bags may be purchased. For older kids, the Big Kid’s room is available after hours at $25 per child.

For more info:, or call 860.395.4446


Shoreline Gymnastics, Old Saybrook

Your party enjoys a one hour session of fun activities in the gym tailored to the ages of the children involved, and a half hour of refreshments and presents. Fee is $165 for up to 12 children and $10 for each additional child. Bring your own refreshments, cake and papergoods. For more info:


Dinosaur Place, Oakdale

My assistant, Emery, who did research for this list, said SHE wants to have her party here! If you’re planning a boy/girl party AND you don’t want to lift a finger, this is your answer. Indoor or outdoor parties cost $24.99 per child and include everything: food (pizza hot dogs or chicken nuggets), drinks, hands-on activities, and take home treasures for all participants. Kids can search for gems in the Jackpot Mine, pan for gold in Thunder Creek or uncover a dinosaur skeleton in the Bone Zone. Everything is included but the cake. Check out the website for more info and call 860.443.4367 to reserve.



Jennie Fresa Makeup and Skincare Boutiquerie, Clinton

Throw a Beauty Social at Jennie Fresa Makeup and Skincare Boutiquerie. For $35 per child, Jennie and her team will provide a makeup application and paraffin hand treatment plus one sweet treat (milkshake or cupcake). Bring your own refreshments and drinks and an ipod for music. 2 hours, 15 girls max.


Pinc! New London

Crafty kids, head to Pinc! and pick your activity from any of the classes listed on the website (if the instructor is available). Sew pillows, create a collage, try origami or make your own earrings. Pricing varies but is generally about $20 per child with a 20 kid maximum. Bring your own refreshments or Pinc! can provide food from one of the many fantastic restaurants in New London. For more info:


American Girl Tea Parties at Gather, Ivoryton

For American Girl fanatics, Gather in Ivoryton holds American Girl Tea Parties. Little girls and their favorite dolls are invited to make a craft (adorned hair elastics, wee doll pillows or matching necklaces), and feast on tea sandwiches, fruit salad and cupcakes. Parties are available on Sunday afternoons and last two hours. Cost is $15 per child. Appeals to the 7 – 8 year old set.


Sundae Spa, Waterford

If you’re willing to trek to Waterbury for an over-the-top girly experience, head to Sundae Spa. Birthday packages include everything from hair styling, manis, pedis, and glitter tattoos, to make-your-own body spray, bath fizz or lip balm. Prices range from $280 to $595 depending on treatments and add-ons chosen and include a 2 – 3 hour private party, personalized email invitations, party favors and a sundae dessert.



Arts Center Killingworth

Bring the kids and cake and let Arts Center Killingworth throw the party. Choose from a host of creative ideas: Hip Hop Dance Party, Fashion Design, Felting Party (make a critter or flower), Clay Discovery, Be a Rockstar or Personalized Perfume Making. Prices range fro $280 to $410 depending on the number of children and the activity you choose and include customized decorations, games and a party bag for each child. For more info:

Children’s Museum of Niantic

The Children’s Museum offers two easy choices; for a bargain-priced birthday, pay $200 for admission to the museum and a private space for festivities, decorations and a downloadable invitation template. You and your guests have full use of the museum before during and after the party. Bump up to the Deluxe Plan and add in a 30-minute teacher-led themed program including a craft. Choose Animals, Pirates or Magical Science. Paper products and a goody bag for each child is included. Bring your own refreshments for both parties. $300 for up to 12 children, each additional child is $16, up to a maximum of 18 children. Members receive a 10% discount on total price. To rent the museum for a private party for up to 50 people, add $125 to the plans above.



Every Body Hoops

This one’s as much fun for moms as kids! Learn cool hooping tricks, have a hooping contest and even make your own hula hoop with Every Body Hoops and the Shoreline’s best hula hoop teacher, Maia Bingles. “Just Hooping Party” is $85 for 2 hours, “Make Your Own Hoop and Hooping” is $235, supplies included. Pricing includes up to 10 children, each additional child is $10 and Maia comes to you.  Call Maia at 860.759.5520.


Corner Music School, Old Saybrook

Here’s one for your budding rockstar! Corner Music School offers a Silver, Gold or Platinum Record Party (from $199 to $329 for 2 hours and up to 10 kids, additional kids are extra) that includes live musical entertainment, games, activities and an opportunity to play instruments. Depending on the package you choose, you can provide the cake and accoutrements or leave the whole shebang to the school including a custom music cake, pizza, drinks and music-themed goody bags.


Sweetwater Farm, Clinton

While I missed most of it due to my allergy to all things horsey, my daughter LOVED her pony party here. Parties are offered for two hours on Sundays, either indoors or out. Children take turns riding for the first hour (an additional pony can be provided for $25), then retreat to the outdoor gazebo or indoor party room for cake and presents. Bring your own refreshments and decorations. Cost is $75 plus $8 for every child who rides.

Chef Kimberly

Invite Chef Kim to your kitchen for a cooking party. Ten to twelve budding chefs  will learn to cook a signature Chef Kim sweet: choose from chocolate souffle, apple Tart Tatin, whoopie pies, peanut butter and jelly cake or (my favorite) vanilla ice cream “spaghetti,” topped with strawberry “tomato sauce” and served with butter pound cake “garlic bread”. The birthday girl or boy chooses the menu, mom and dad are provided with an ingredient shopping list and Chef Kim does the rest. Cost is $175 for up to 12 children and for a small additional cost, Kim can provide aprons and chef caps for party favors. Best news: Kim cleans up. Tested out by e-list team member, Pam and her daughter, this party was a huge hit.

Contact Chef Kim at
Local Party Resources:
Z Facepainting
Z is famous on the Shoreline for her magical, whimsical facepainting. Think superheros, unicorns, tigers and kitties or, frankly, anything your child dreams up. A professional make-up artist and body painter, she’ll come to you and paint or apply glitter tattoos to up to 30 kids in two hours, depending on the difficulty of the design.  She’s a pro at Henna hand tattoos, too, but save those for the older kids (10 and up) who have patience for the drying time.  See her work and find out more at:
Contact Z at
Locally owned moon-bounce and waterslide rentals: Silly Feet Inflatables.
Photo Booth Planet, a local photo booth rental, offers a fun new product: mini flip books! They take 60 superfast pics of you and your guests being fabulous, then print them into a cool flipbook in 90 seconds.
Helpful Party Websites:
Literally hundreds of party ideas for DIYers:
I’ve written about Paperless Post and Pingg, but Punchbowl has especially sweet email invitations for kids.
Adorable buntings, centerpieces, plates, napkins and more at Meri Meri.
All manner of packaging for the minimalist (straws, goody bags, boxes and more):
Party blog and shop in one:
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From Florence Griswold Museum

Home of American Impressionism

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Lyman Allyn Art Museum

625 Williams Street
New London, Connecticut 06320


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Visit our museum to see our impressive collection of more than 10,000 objects and works of art.

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411 Church Street
Guilford, Connecticut 06437


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Jennie Fresa Beauty

693 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443


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104 Main Street
Ivoryton, Connecticut 06442


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Gather carries an eclectic mix of old and new, ranging from antiques to novelties and fine decor, housed in an 1800’s-era general store in downtown Ivoryton

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Arts Center Killingworth

276 North Parker Hill Rd.
Killingworth, Connecticut 06419


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Teach. Exhibit. Perform.

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The Children’s Museum of Southeastern Connecticut: where discoveries are made & fun just happens!

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