Location: 11368 Strang Line Road, Lenexa, KS 66215
Cost: We had a very affordable birthday party for Peanut at the Mad Science Lab in Lenexa. They also have a variety of camps, workshops, etc., so there are all sorts of activities you can do if a party’s not in your budget. Check their Web site (below) for details and prices.
Web site: http://kansascity.madscience.org/
Having a party for a small child with a winter birthday is difficult in Kansas City. Our house is small and not terribly wheelchair-friendly, so I needed to find a venue that was both affordable and accessible for Peanut and his friends. Shelter houses at local parks were out, as, for some reason, they don’t build them with walls in this area, or they turn the water and electricity off come winter-time. The local community center’s room for rent seats 150 people, which was far too large. Other venues were out of our price range, with some charging as much as $25 per child.
Enter the wonderful, amazing people at Mad Science. To make a long story short, their Mad Science Lab in Lenexa is small but accessible, and they were excited to put together a program for a little VI scientist and his friends. We had Peanut’s party this past Saturday, and Efrit and I couldn’t be happier. More importantly, Peanut and his friends had a great time.
As guests arrived, our Mad Scientist encouraged the kids to sit at the tables and color on the paper tablecloths. One table had a big box of building blocks, and the other had a big box of round connecting building toys. She made sure the kids were instantly comfortable, even drawing on the tables herself so it was clear to them that they could, too. The construction toys on the tables were an excellent activity, as you didn’t need to see to be able to play with them.
When we were ready for the show, our Mad Scientist had the kids come up and make a circle in front of her on the floor. She had an excellent rapport with the children and did a great job making an accessible program for them. The kids got to hear a quarter vibrate and scream against a piece of dry ice, and they got to feel the cold of the quarter. They got to hear dry ice boil in a beaker of colored soapy water, see the foamy bubbles gush out of the top of the bottle, and feel the bubbles in their hands. They got to feel a chemical before and after water was added to it: before, it was dry and powdery and small. After, it was puffy and moist and huge. The kids got to smell vials to guess what was in them–vanilla, lemon or peppermint. It was a great show introducing them to and exciting them about science.
After the show, each child got to make his or her own take-home experiment: they got to mix two liquids together to make slime. The kids got to feel the scientist’s slime before they went to the tables to make their own. It was a very tactile activity, and it was doable for the kids that came to the party, although some needed more help than others.
We then had an hour at the facility to have the rest of the birthday party: presents, cupcakes, orange soda, balloons, treat bags and a lot of high-sugar running around. Our party took an easy two hours, was easy to set up and clean up, and was a lot of fun for everyone involved. Many of Peanut’s school mates came, and, like Peanut, many have vision impairments; I feel confident that all of them had a good time. Peanut and Sprout certainly did.