Outdoor Adventure Center: Detroit, Michigan.
I have to say, I was never one of the moms who thought about hosting my kids birthday party anywhere but home; I know, crazy right. However, the anxiety I would get going to a bouncy birthday party left me in a state that was not so great. Plus I have a kid who pukes 8 out of 10 times when he attends a party at said bouncy environments. Nothing says fun like a bag of puke, always in the car, after hours of chaos and sugar. If you are one of those parents who can (and does) host parties in these bouncy locations, my props to you – you are way stronger than me.
Enter the year of my kids turning 5 and 8. Turning 5 in our family means a friend birthday party. The 8 year old was just a bonus party…but he doesn’t need to know. Our sons have many friends that overlap – siblings, classmates, etc. so hosting party for their community was the no-brainer. However, WHERE to do so was my next question. (Remember, no bouncy party…)
While on a work assignment, I came across the Outdoor Adventure Center in Downtown Detroit. What?! I could see the Ren Cen as I walked toward the building. I made the mental note to check it out more, as it was closed the day I was there.
After the research, planning, and the actual party – here are my top 10 thoughts:
- You have to go. Today. (well, not on Monday or Tuesday, as they are closed: check the hours HERE)
- We love being outside, all things Michigan and being Up North – however, hosting a party with that theme, in November, in Michigan was not an easy thing to pull off. Though, that day, the weather was great and we could have totally been REALLY outside. Besides the point – read point 3:
- Have the OAC host your next kiddo birthday party
- So easy, so fun. So very affordable too! They even make the goodie bags.
- The coordinator we worked with was so kind, helpful and accommodating. We were welcomed at the desk, the room was ready; we choose to bring a collection of balloons, and birthday books for table decorations; however the room was rustic and festive enough without anything extra being needed.
- There is an Elk in the “lodge room” – very cool was the reply for all who entered.
- We brought cupcakes and juice boxes. The party was between meal times, simplifying the set up.
- The program that was part of the birthday package was fantastic. The party guide brought a cart in of lots of nature discovery items: pelts, bones, skulls, etc. and engaged the kids for a good 30 minutes of questions, answers and lessons. After the program, she had the kids all gather around the table and created a HUGE collection of foot prints with ink stamps. (would suggest having a pack of baby wipes handy to quickly clean the mess…) My sons have hung this creation in their Lego room.
- Then we got to go EXPLORE! The kids (and grownups) were GONE! So much to see, explore, do and learn about on the 3 levels of the renovated building.
- Everything is HANDS ON – climbing, riding, building, sorting, all sorts of ways to learn and grow.
Bottom line – GO! Explore. Support. I am looking forward to getting back ‘Up North, Downtown’ this winter. My kids are too!
The OAC has a great video that introduces you to the center: