I’ve never really been that “into” science (as evidenced by my C in Chemistry 101 freshman year of college), however I have ALWAYS been “into” science centers – which is why I was SUPER STOKED when my daughter was invited to a fourth birthday party at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum in downtown Champaign.
I have two young girls, neither of which have shown an inordinate amount of interest in “science” per se at this point in their young lives either however, I would not hesitate to book their next party at our local Orpheum Children’s Science Museum given how much fun their friends’ parties were, and how much they look forward to going back again.
For starters, as a parent, I LOVE options and this venue has no shortage of options at extremely reasonable prices (as low as $75 for members for a two-hour party during public hours and $125 for a private party).
Let’s start with the attractions that are available every day, listed in order of importance to my 5-year-old. First stop, Water Works … who doesn’t love to get a little wet and experiment with flow rate and water volume? Next on her list is the sand table, followed closely by the SS Ackerman Tugboat (she loves the life vests and attempting to pilot the large water craft!). The party would not be complete without copious amounts of time spent at the Castle Workalot as well.
If you have never been to the Orpheum, keep in mind that this is just my daughter’s top four and only a portion of the activities available for kids to enjoy and learn from. In addition to the myriad of hands-on exhibits that party participants are welcome to explore, your children can also have an Animal or Science Magic Show for only $10 more and I can tell you, petting the reptiles is a show-stopper for my girls!
A big bonus for me as a parent is that I get to bring my own food and decorations – so I can both accommodate (allergies, preferences, etc.) and economize this portion of the party.
The cake eating and boisterous singing occur on the mezzanine overlooking the science center – so party guests can check out what is happening below while they blow out their candles – a truly fun atmosphere. And while the museum does not provide decorations, I personally feel the environment is all the decoration that is needed for the science-loving crowd.
Last but certainly not least, this party can literally be almost anything you can dream of, from a Pirate theme to a Princess theme and everything in between (Spy, Art, Harry Potter and Dinosaurs, oh my!). You may not believe this, but there are even overnight options for a TRULY memorable birthday event (can you say “Spa Night” for junior high girls??).
If you have never thought about a party at the Orpheum – you better start… this venue is NOT to be overlooked in C/U!
Erin (Trent) Tarr made the three-hour drive from Southern Illinois to Champaign in 1997 to attend the University of Illinois and never left. Mother of two beautiful girls (2 & 5 years old), her passions for leadership and education have led her to start “Be the Benchmark” – a coaching/mentoring business for teen and college -aged girls. She also blogs about leadership and motherhood at www.erintarr.com. You can often find her (with two kids in tow) at Champaign Centennial sporting events where her beloved husband of ten years, Adam, works as an Athletic Trainer.