Friday, February 7, 2014

Baby E's Birthday Party at Imajine That {PHOTOS!}

As you know, Baby E turned 5 in January and we were so excited that Imajine That hosted her birthday party! It was everything we needed and more. As I've mentioned we never really make a big deal out of birthdays and just celebrate at home, this was her first 'real' birthday party! Our home is too small to host more than eight people or so, so this was the perfect solution. What I really loved is that there was very little planning for me to do! I just had to invite people, arrange who will make the cake, decide what we'll wear, and grab the camera. 

Easy, no hassle kids birthday party. Exactly what I needed.     

Location: Imajine That is a 5 minute drive from our house - I know, we're fortunate! It is located in Lawrence, north of Boston. It's just a half hour drive from Boston and the North Shore, and just ten minutes from the New Hampshire border. It a great location for kids birthday parties in Massachusetts! It's inside a huge converted mill building. 

Some of our guests
The Play Space: If you've never been to Imajine That, I have to tell you the play space is pretty amazing. The sheer amount of space is awesome! It's 15,000 square feet, tall ceilings, huge windows, lots of breathing room. 

My favorite thing about this facility is the encouragement of creative play by how it is designed. Nothing electronic here, no kids 'slot machines', just many areas where kids can use their imagination and do some grocery shopping, acting/theater, climbing, bouncing, caring for one another at the clinic, building, reading, drawing, painting, sailing, and burning off their energy on the large climbing structure. The perfect place to unplug with kids, especially during the seemingly endless winter months or on rainy days throughout the year. 

Huge Facility

There is great separation of space and little areas throughout where you can watch your little one play or play with them. All the kids at the birthday party had a blast and they ranged in age from 18 months to 9 years old. I really loved that the space naturally encourages kids of all ages to play together, it was wonderful to see!

3 race slides

Mini Whole Foods Supermarket

Train Table

The Party Space: We loved our party room, it was nice and spacious for 15 kids and 16 adults! No matter what the size of your party is, they have a room for you - there are several available. There was enough seating for everyone and table for the kids and food, it was all decorated - I didn't even have to think about it. You could bring some extra decorations of your own if you wanted to though. We picked Baby E's two favorite colors - pink and blue, she loved how it looked! 

Since we knew we would be eating delicious (but not very nutritious) pizza for the party, we really wanted a homemade and healthy-ish dessert. So I asked my talented sister-in-law to make the cake and it was perfect! Best of all, it was yummy and had all 'real food', pronounceable ingredients, nothing artificial. The decorations are very much representative of Baby E, she LOVES berries and flowers, two of her obsessions!

Birthday cake by my sister-in-law!

Baby T with his cousin

Inside the private party room

Baby E and her cake
Birthday Party Experience: Most kids birthday party places give you two hours beginning to end. You know that's not nearly enough time. At Imajine That you get an hour of play time, an hour in your party room, and another hour of play time. That's 3 hours! You definitely don't feel as rushed and kids get plenty of time to just play. It's also excellent for guests who arrive late, that way they aren't actually late to the party. We had a family that could only make it at 6, not 5 pm, they missed that hour of play time - but still made it to the party and the hour of play time after!

We loved having a party assistant take care of all the details from making sure we have everything we need, to cutting the cake for us. It really made for an enjoyable experience and I could focus more on enjoying the party and taking photos to preserve the memories. Our pizza arrived just a little late (there were 10 after all!), but it was nice that at the end since we were the last party of the day we were not rushed out of our party room and could finish our desserts.

About to blow out the candle

Our little family

The Value: Think about how much you spend on your kids birthday party. The food, decorations, the sheer amount of time coordinating everything. How much do you spend? $200? $300? Maybe even more? Imagine if someone would do it all for you and just let you take care of the cake and enjoying the party! At first I was looking at the packages and thinking "Man, that's expensive!" But when you do the math it's actually the same, if not cheaper, than doing it yourself. Not to mention that your guests get passes to Imajine That in their favors that are valued at half the prize of your party package. They do give you a lot of bang for your buck. 

A guest with his dad in the bouncy house

Baby T all tired out
There are 3 party packages available to fit your needs, at $199 (7 guests), $299 (15 guests), and $399 (23 guests). The guest count does not include babies under 1 and adults! So it gives you plenty of wiggle room to either invite a few close friends or everyone your kid knows. Packages include pizza and drinks, ice cream for each child, balloon and favor for each child (admission pass with each favor valued at $10 each for your guests to come back and play!), solid color paper products, party assistant, 2 hours of play time and 1 hour in party room, and free printable invitations. 

There are also many add-ons available such as an edible sand art craft, cupcake decorating, or face painting. You can also add on more food from Sal's Restaurant, they have an excellent catering menu. We ordered an extra 6 pizzas on top of the 4 cheese that we had for kids, they were all absolutely delicious. There are also six theme options for parties for an additional fee: I'm With the Band Rock Star, How Old ART You Now, Pixie Dust Fairy, Walk the Plank Pirate, Karate Kid, and Once Upon a Time Princess. 

But of course Imajine That isn't just a party place, first and foremost it's a place for play where you can come any day and enjoy watching your children play with tons of room to run around, grab a snack at the cafe, chat with other moms. Admission for children is $10 each and $1 for adults, so it's definitely a better deal to get a monthly pass or a membership for the whole family so you can come as much as you like. They also have many educational events for kids through the year that are pretty awesome.

Don't forget to take advantage of the fast it is located right above an excellent, romantic restaurant with river views. Book a Parents Night Out on Friday or Saturday night and leave your kids at Imajine That for pizza with other kids while you dine with your significant other at Sal's Restaurant!

Overall Experience: What can I say? Imajine That is everything you would want in a kids birthday party place and so much more! I think the photos speak for themselves (you can see even more on our photography blog). It's a place that will take a while for kids to outgrow, hey, even I find it fun and want to play there with my kids, not just watch! The staff there was very helpful and accommodating, the whole experience was top notch. I highly recommend this place for your children's next birthday party! Even if you don't live very close, it's worth the drive. It's a unique experience you can't get at a chain party place. 

Baby T at the end of the party using up last reserves of energy

Connect with Imajine That on Facebook and Twitter

Disclaimer: Baby E received a birthday party package for her celebration to be hosted at Imajine That in order to be featured and reviewed on Eco-Babyz. 


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