Creativity can be part of the fun when it comes to throwing a children’s birthday bash. If you want to do something different, the Island is full of venues to have the party of your child’s dreams.
Seasons in Oak Bluffs, a large restaurant and bar on Circuit Avenue, tries to accommodate as much as possible. They supply gift bags for the guests, which include tokens for the Game Room, the arcade right next door. Cost depends on the size of the group, and it is recommended to call ahead and make reservations.
The FARM Institute in Katama offers a celebration rate if they are able to accommodate the day. Celebrations must be booked two weeks in advance, with a maximum of 10 children with at least two adults. Parties can be held Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 pm, or on weekends.”The party can be interactive with the farm or can be preplanned by parents,” said Emily Duncker, education resource coordinator at The FARM. Activities at the farm include taking care of animals, working in the garden, or taking a tour of the farm. The base fee is $150 for two hours and a hayride is an additional $50.
Native Earth Teaching Farm in Chilmark also works with parents who are throwing children’s parties. They offer a make-your-own-tail workshop using wool from the sheep, a self-guided tour of the farm, along with other workshops. The tail workshop is $10 and children get to keep what they make. Since the farm is outdoors, there is no capacity limit. Visiting the farm is free, but there is a donation box.
Island Alpaca likes to party, too. They can host your baby shower, birthday party, anniversary parties, book signings, and weddings, and they can also come to you with their alpacas in tow. They deliver two of their most social alpacas accompanied by a farm assistant, along with halters, leads, and snacks to feed them with. Rates vary: a basic two-hour party is $200 for up to 12 people; $250 up to 24 and includes picnic tables, alpaca meet and greet, set up, clean up, trash removal, optional Farm Discovery program where guests can help feed and care for animals, decorations, and more.
Island Alpaca is a venue that features outdoor activities in a pastoral setting. The farm includes a guest and viewing area with tables where guests can interact with the alpaca. Parties include set-up and clean-up time, trash removal, games for children, farm admission, and a host to welcome. Catering and beverage services are also available, or make arrangements to bring your own. Tent rentals are available as well.
Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary features a variety of different themes for birthday parties, such as turtles, insects, and nature detectives, and they can also accommodate customized programs. “We recommend ages four and up,” says Suzan Bellincampi, sanctuary director. “We charge $125, which includes up to 15 children, an hour program with a naturalist, our trails and butterfly garden, and full use of our nature center and facility for cake and presents.” It is $8 extra per child after 15 have signed up. Felix Neck can also make accommodations for weddings and other family celebrations, along with kayak tours and different programs and tours for families.
Sharky’s in Edgartown has a VIP room specifically for small dinner parties with groups of 6 to 10 people. The closed-off room is located in the back of the restaurant with its own TV and music set-up.
An outdoor patio at Sharky’s can hold at least 100 people. There is an open buffet for the adults and kids menus. “It’s set up to be a party spot, and we do a lot of fundraisers and parties out there, so we can also accommodate for kids,” said Sharky’s owner JB Blau. “It’s a pretty big spot and it depends on how many people the group has. There’s usually no charge for the patio unless they’re renting out the entire place, which we don’t do very often because the patio is separate. We can also close it off from the restaurant.”The Ice Arena charges $200 to rent the ice per hour, but most people tend to go during a public skating time. The rink also has picnic tables available to set up with food. Capacity isn’t an issue; rental skates are not included in the rate.The Mansion House offers its pool and function rooms. The pool is $175 for non-members or $159 for members, with up to 25 children with one adult for every four to five children at the pool. It costs $25 to rent a function room, and the group must bring own their own food. The Mansion House supplies setups such as utensils and napkins.Other locations worth considering are The Flying Horses; YMCA (once they open on May 29); Waters of the World; the Chilmark Community Center; and Island Cove Mini Golf.The Spindrift Marionette troupe performs at schools, libraries, festivals, parties, weddings and for fundraising events. They have shows appropriate for a variety of age groups, and cost varies depending on the length and complexity of shows and on the venue. An average 20- to 30-minute folk or fairytale show is $300. For more information, contact Marsha Winsryg or April Thanhauser.You may also consider ABB Moonwalk rentals, prices depending on the size of the moonwalk rental. For more information, visit abbmoonwalks.com.
Caitlyn Clark, a senior at the M.V. Regional High School, is an intern at The Times.