logo for the great adventure lab, science and stem enrichment for kids in DC and Deerfield, Illinois.

If you are looking for a fun, different and yes –  affordable ! – hands-on birthday party for up to 12 kids, try ours! (Or bring us to your Scouts troop or your school or camp!!) Parents and kids love us. Check out our reviews.

Book Now: Our price? Our 75-minute parties start at $215 for up to 12 guests. For 13-24 guests, the price is $325. Read on for information about discounts.

Distance charges apply if you are more than 20 minutes from our base. In DC, our base is Wheaton, Maryland.  We reserve the right to reject any venue where we feel safety and security cannot be maintained. Details below.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If I want a robotics party, how do I choose between Basic, Robo Challenge and Mindstorms?

    Our Basic Robotics party is best for 7- to 9-year-olds, though plenty of 10- to 11-year-olds enjoy it too. You can read all about it here.

    If your child or several guests have already participated in our basic Lego Robotics or parties, consider our Robo Challenge party.

    If your child is 10 or older, or has significant previous robotics experience (Lego or not), you may want to consider a Mindstorms party. Keep in mind that Mindstorms parties are capped at 10 guests.

  • Where will the party take place?

    In your home or at a public venue you rent, as long as your home or venue are within a one-hour drive of our base. In the Washington DC metro area, our base is Wheaton, Md.  Distance charges apply for venues that are more than a 20-minute drive from our base.

    If you would like to host the party outside of your home, consider renting a residential clubhouse/ community center, or a community center from your local parks & rec department. If you live in Montgomery County, here’s a link to community centers you can rent.

  • Are there places you won’t do a party?

    The safety of our workers, clients and guests are of the utmost importance. We reserve the right to reject any venue where we feel that safety and security can’t be maintained. However, we can suggest alternate venues if this is a problem.

    Note: we can’t do any of our Lego robotics parties at swimming pools or other venues that aren’t suitable for electronics.

     

  • Are there days or times you won’t do a party?

    We are not accepting party reservations for the following dates: November 22-30, Dec. 20 – Jan. 2. Most of our parties start between 9am and 7pm. Almost all of our parties are on weekends. We will consider a Friday evening party, but instructor availability is extremely low for that time. In general, unless our schools are having school holidays, we can’t host parties on weekday afternoons because we are using our equipment to lead after-school LEGO robotics clubs.

    Note: we CAN do Storybook Science parties during school hours in your home (for age 4+). We also book weekday parties during some school holidays and summer.

  • How long is the party?

    Our part of your Basic Robotics party runs 75 minutes (90 minutes for Robo Challenge or Mindstorms robotics parties) including 5 minutes for clean-up, which involves properly shutting down netbooks and stowing all our Lego pieces.

    Exception: If you are redeeming a party voucher for a 60-minute party, the party will run for 60 minutes. If you’d like to upgrade to a 75-minute party (it may not be necessary, depending on the age of your participants), contact us for information on how to upgrade.

    Our part of your Crime Scene party runs 60 minutes, including five minutes for cleanup. (We pay our instructors a little extra to stay longer for any additional cleanup). 

  • How much time do you need to set up and clean up?

    Setup is simple: Before a Basic Robotics or Robo Challenge party starts, we will need about 5 minutes to unpack our netbooks and Lego robotics kits, ideally while you are entertaining your guests in another room.

    For Crime Scene parties, we require 15-20 minutes to set up.

    For Storybook Science parties, we require 10 minutes to set up.

    After our activity ends, we need the participants to stow their parts. Please give us ten minutes to pack our equipment before setting out food near our equipment.

  • What happens if my guests are late?

    Many of our instructors perform several parties a day, so unfortunately we must start and end at the scheduled times. We encourage you to start your party at least 20 minutes before our scheduled start time.
  • What do you provide?

    For Basic Robotics parties: We provide one instructor, six netbooks and six Lego robotics kits for use during the party. (For larger parties of 24, we provide two instructors, 12 netbooks and 12 Lego robotics kits). For Robo Challenge parties, we also supply Nano Hexbugs for use during the party only.

    For Crime Scene parties, we provide crime scene clues and all the equipment needed for analysis, including microscopes and professional fingerprinting tools.

    We do NOT provide goody bags, invitations, cakes or other items.

  • What am I expected to provide?

    • For Basic Robotics or Robo Challenge parties of up to 12: one adult who can focus exclusively on assisting children who need help. For the best possible party, this person should be actively involved, not using a cell phone, not managing other aspects of the party and in the room with us for the entire length of our activity. If you prefer not to provide a helper, we can provide one for an additional cost of $50 per hour ($62.50 per helper per 75-minute party). We’d rather keep costs low for you, though! The helper’s chief job is to help kids find the right Legos for their robots (Our Lego robotics kits are in constant use, so yes, parts tend to hop from one kit to another).
    • For Basic Robotics or Robo Challenge parties parties of 13 to 24, we’ll need you to provide two attentive and present adult helpers, or we’ll provide them for an additional cost of $50 per helper per hour. Save money and provide your own!
    • Adequate table (or floor) space. Table must be clear of all items, especially food! You should be able to put one seat around a table for each participating child. So for 12 children, you should be able to fit 12 adult seats comfortably around the table/s you plan to use. This ensures that each pair of children has enough room to work comfortably with our netbooks and Lego robotics kits. If you’re short of table space, a coffee table will usually accommodate two children. (For Mindstorms parties, we’ll need floor space: about 6-feet by 8-feet on a wood floor is ideal).
    • Access to an outlet – for those rare times when our netbooks run out of battery power. We provide our own power strips and extension cords.
    • For Crime Scene parties: time on the phone with our instructor before the party to discuss the mystery to be solved and logistics for setting up the clues at your venue. No, we do not splash fake blood all over your walls! We use only the types of evidence we discuss with you on the phone. Everything is non-toxic and everything gets cleaned up. Many of us are moms, too, so we know this is important!
    • For Storybook Science parties, featuring all non-toxic materials! If we’re doing the volcano project, we need a space where you would feel comfortable having children work on say, a messy art project. We will clean up when we go, but we will not conduct these parties near expensive flooring, furniture or tapestries, etc.
    • Please keep your own Lego pieces away from the area where we’ll be working, so we don’t take any of your pieces home!
  • What’s not included?

    Our party fees do not include distance charges (if applicable), party venue, invitations, decorations, cake, or goody bags, etc. – but you’d probably rather do those anyway!  Want some Lego cake or invitation ideas? Or if you want to get really fancy, ask about our Mindstorms robotic (non-edible) cake! We can build one for your party for $25, but we have to take it home with us, unless we build it with your child’s Mindstorms kit.

    Repeat: we do not provide any take-homes. We have to take all of our Legos with us so kids in other parties and classes will have the pieces they need to build their robots.

  • What’s your service area?

    There is no distance charge if your party venue is located within a 20-minute drive of our base, as calculated by Google Maps. In the metro DC area, our base is Wheaton, Md. Parties at venues locate more than 20 minutes from our bases are subject to a distance charge per instructor.

    **For the safety of our instructors and party guests, we reserve the right to decline invitations to lead parties at venues where security cannot be guaranteed. However, we will happily work with you to identify alternative venues that you can rent for our parties.

  • Who has to pay a distance fee?

    For parties more than 20 minutes’ drive from our base (as calculated by Google Maps), we add a distance charge based on round-trip driving time.

    Note: if your party requires a distance charge, that charge applies for EACH instructor. So if you are in a location that requires a $25 distance charge, but your party is for up to 24 guests and therefore requires two instructors, the distance charge for your party will be $25 x 2 = $50. That is because the distance charge compensates each person for commuting time and costs.

    For examples of distance charges, look here**Actual charges will vary depending on your address. In rare cases, when the fastest route requires tolls, we add the cost of the tolls to the distance charge. We won’t take a route that requires tolls without your approval.

     

  • What’s the maximum number of guests I can invite?

    We can book parties for up to 24 guests. For these parties, we provide two instructors, 12 netbooks and 12 Lego robotics kits. To ensure maximum fun, we’ll need you to provide two adult helpers who are dedicated to assisting children with our activity for an hour (or we provide them for an additional $50 per helper per party hour).  Note: in our experience, children enjoy our part of the party more when there are 12 children or fewer. Our best parties have eight children or fewer.

    If you would like to book us for a Girl Scout/ Boy Scout or other large event, we can serve up 48 to 60 participants at one time. But we need plenty of advance notice! Please contact us for details.

  • If I pay for a party for up to 24 guests, and only 15 kids show up, can I get a partial refund?

    Sorry, no. When you book a party for 13-24 kids, we dedicate an extra instructor and an extra set of Lego robotics equipment and netbooks to your party, which means we can’t assign that instructor or that equipment to another party. And believe us, we are quite booked! We have to turn down a few requests every weekend.

    However, if you know *at least TEN DAYS in advance* that you will only need one set of equipment and one instructor (i.e. for up to 12 kids), let us know. We’ll change our plans accordingly and you will only be charged for the smaller party.

  • I’ve paid the 50% party deposit. How and when do I pay the balance?

    To your party leader, before the party starts. We accept check and cash. If you wish to pay the balance by credit card, you can pay via PayPal at least one day before the party.
  • Should I tip?

    If you feel your instructor did an excellent job, gave you a little extra time or went out of his or her way to accommodate your particular needs, a tip is a great way to show your appreciation. Obviously, our instructors will never ask or hint for a tip.

    Please keep in mind that distance charges, when applicable, are not tips; they reimburse the instructor for driving time in excess of 40 minutes round-trip, and corresponding gas and vehicle expenses.

  • Do you offer discounts?

    Yup.

    • up to 15% off selected parties for current or recent students of our after-school, evening or summer programs (or siblings of those students). See individual party descriptions for details. This discount can’t be used with other promotions.
    • OR, if you have hosted one of our parties, you and your guest are each entitled to $10 off your next party when your guest purchases one of our parties. Hosts may “stack” up to three referral discounts for a total of up to $30 off the host’s next party. We hand out these discount cards at parties; we also email them to the host/ess immediately after the party. If you hosted a party and didn’t receive one, please contact us.

    Want discount codes for our parties and other services? Join our mailing list. We won’t share your info with anyone else; we promise we won’t spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

  • Do you sell gift certificates?

    Yes. Contact us for details.
  • How can I check your calendar?

    Look here. This will take you to our booking software, provided by BookFresh. Select “First Available” and choose a date. You will then see the same calendar we see if you call us on the phone. Go ahead and request the time and date you’d like. Within a day or two of your request,  we’ll send you an email confirmation (or a note saying you need to try a different date and time).

    If you don’t see your desired time available, don’t panic. Put in a request for any time on the same day, and in the notes section, tell us your preferred time. We’ll get back to you in a day or two.

  • May I ask for a particular instructor as my party leader?

    We do our very best to accomodate such requests.

    If you want a particular  instructor, say so in the comments field. Be sure to name a second choice. Bear in mind: we are not going to ask a particular instructor to commit to a party that is more than 8 weeks away. When we confirm  your reservation, we can guarantee that one of us will be there, but you will have to wait to closer to your party date to verify the availability of a particular instructor.

    Even then, please realize that there are factors beyond our control that affect the availability of any particular instructor, including illness, family emergencies, etc.

  • Do you offer non-robotics parties?

    Yes! We also offer:

  • You’ve confirmed my party date. Now what?

    To keep your reservation, you need to pay a deposit. We will send you a note with instructions on how to pay online.  Almost done! The last thing we need is a signed birthday party contract, which includes our liability waiver. We sent you a link to the contract when we confirmed your reservation. You need to sign that to keep your reservation.
  • When will I hear from you in the days leading up to my party?

    About a week before your party, we’ll send you an email reminding you of the date, time and address on record for your party, and the name of your instructor. That reminder instructs you to call us if you have not heard from your instructor by the Tuesday before the party. We promise: a human will respond within 24 hours; and your actual instructor will call soon after, to go over any details including parking, stairs, balance due, etc.

    This is a great time to alert us to any unique needs related to your guests or venue, or any changes since you made your reservation. If you have changed your venue, we may have to recalculate your distance charge. If you’ve decided to have the party outside your house as opposed to inside, or vice-versa, we need to know. If you hope to upgrade to a larger or different party, we need to know. Tell your instructor when s/he calls!

  • Wait – I have more questions!

    We’d love to hear from you. Please contact us!

For the first scoop on classes, camps & parties, please join our  mailing list!