We are lucky to have several local nature centers, all of which are awesome. We chose the bigger one because they have a nice party room and it's still less than $200 including the nature program and access to the exhibits. Such a great deal! Bonus - no 5 year old boys tearing up my house!
To bring in the TMNT theme, I bought some supplies on Oriental Trading Company and also some turtle themed crafts that I knew the girls would really like but the boys would totally ignore (I was right!). I used a green table cloth I already had and added some of Alex's beloved TNMT action figures.
Here's a "happy" customer...
The cupcakes were a bit of a splurge - super tasty and adorable! Everyone loved them - especially the nature center volunteers (we gave them the leftovers). They were made by Amanda at Esquire Confections in McLean in case you are looking.
Fun fact - I keep the candles for each year and try to use them for both kids. The only exception was the first birthday candle (Elizabeth's was pink with flowers; No idea what Alex's was but not pink with flowers).
We started with a 30 minute nature program geared to silly 5 year olds - turtles and snakes. All big hits.
Then we served some mini pizza bagels which were really popular and everyone ate some (including the adults)! Then we ate those luscious cupcakes.
Alex and one of his many girlfriends...
Dang - they are cute together!
For the first time, we told guests not to bring gifts. It was AWESOME. Everybody was happy not to bring a gift although a few felt guilty. My kids don't need a single thing and neither could think of things they wanted for their birthdays. Elizabeth had kids bring family DVDs to her party to donate to a local battered women's shelter that takes in displace women with their kids.
Each kid went home with a Magic Ink TNMT activity book - perfect for summer travels, pool breaks, or rainy afternoons!
All in all, this was one of the simplest, inexpensive parties I have ever had for either of my kids. Everyone had fun, especially Alex which is the most important thing - of course!
I'm now addicted to having parties at fun locations. A little more work at the front end makes the party so much more enjoyable. I didn't do a post about Elizabeth's rock climbing birthday but if you have a sporty 8-year old girl - take her rock climbing. She'll LOVE it!