Celebrate your next birthday at the Nature Center or Coogan Farm!

Nature-themed parties for kids of all ages.

Make your birthday extra special by celebrating at the Nature Center. Our birthday parties feature your choice of live animals, natural crafts, nature walks, outdoor free play and more. See a list of inspiration ideas below. DPNC educators customize each party to age, group size and season, so each celebration is unique.

Birthday parties are scheduled for two hours, beginning with a one-hour nature program in the theme of your choice, run by an educator. The second hour is unstructured, and allows for exploration, cake, gifts or free play. Birthday party guests are welcome to enjoy DPNC’s trails and natural history exhibits during that time, but must be supervised by adults.

We host birthday parties on weekends or weekdays during regular Nature Center hours, with the exception of the Nocturnal Notions parties, which are scheduled from 5-7 pm or 6-8 pm.

Nature-Themed Birthday Parties

Critter Encounter

Our most popular party theme! Meet the animals who live at DPNC, including turtles, frogs and snakes. Then, head out for a hike and visit the resident birds of prey and finish with a scavenger hunt or nature craft.

Owl Prowl

Meet a live owl, learn about their unique adaptations and visit the bird of prey enclosures before hiking to look for signs of wild owls on the trails.

Pond Adventures

Use nets to explore Duck Pond led by one of our DPNC naturalists, and discover the amazing world of frogs, fish and insects. Plan on getting a little muddy! This party theme is available from April to December.

Bugs & Butterflies

Meet a live insect, spend time in the meadows using insect nets and learning about some of our tiniest critters and create a bug craft to bring home. This party theme is available from May to December.

Nature Fairies

Hear a story about nature fairies before heading outside to create fairy houses in the woods. Create a fairy craft to bring home.

Coogan Adventure Party

Great for kids who like to hike and explore. Hike the trails at Coogan and spend time discovering the hilltop Stillman Mansion Foundation overlooking the Mystic River. This party meets at Coogan Farm.

Woodland Survival (Ages 8+)

This exciting birthday adventure includes lots of time outside and your choice of learning campfire building, shelter building or tracking. Learn about surviving in the woods and end the party with marshmallows around a campfire.

Nocturnal Notions

Find out which animals wake up when the sun goes down! At this party we’ll head outside for a night hike to test your senses and wrap up the evening around a campfire. Nocturnal Notions parties are scheduled from 5-7 pm or 6-8 pm.

Snakes Alive!

Meet the Nature Center’s resident snakes and learn how to identify some of our native Connecticut snakes before heading outside for a snake scavenger hunt! Then, complete the party with a special snake craft.

Rocks Rock!

Take a close look at some of the amazing rocks, minerals and fossils in our collection before heading outside to explore the rock formations in DPNC’s woodland sanctuary.

Beaks, Feet & Feathers

Meet DPNC’s resident birds, examine feathers up close and use binoculars to go bird watching in DPNC’s woodland sanctuary.

Create Your Own Party

We’ll partner with you to create a unique party suited to your child’s particular interests, from bats and geology to flowers, gardening, amphibians and more. Our Nature Center educators have a wide body of natural history knowledge to draw from and can design a custom party experience just for your child.

To book your party, contact us at [email protected] or 860-572-6800.

Birthday Parties

Members: $250
Non-members: $295

(Become a member and enjoy member rates on programs, events, summer camp and birthday parties!)

Additional children are $10 each, with a maximum of 25 children total. If siblings will be attending, please include them in the count of 12 children. No charge for adults during children’s parties, but due to the size of our party rooms, we limit parties to 40 people total.

A $100 non-refundable deposit is due at booking time. With your party booking you’ll receive a link to download a DPNC graphic to use in a printed or electronic invitation to your party guests.

You may come 30 minutes before the start of the party to set up, and you have 30 minutes after the party to clean up.

Want to use a Nature Center Birthday graphic in your electronic invitation or print a paper version?

Click here to download a jpg for your electronic invitation.

Click here to download a printable invitation.

Event Rental Spaces


The large classroom at DPNC is our most popular children’s party location with easy access to the Nature Center’s exhibits.

At Coogan Farm:

JX Barn at Coogan Farm is another popular party rental site for children, adults and family parties. This beautiful private space with original wooden paneling and river views has easy access to Coogan Farm’s miles of trails, Stillman Foundation, the Giving Garden and Coogan’s fire pit, but no access to natural history exhibits.  

Additional event spaces:

For meetings, small gatherings, weddings and other events, please inquire at 860-536-1216 for rates, availability and a tour. Coogan Farm offers limited rentals at JX Barn, Avery Farmhouse, Avery Courtyard and the Coogan Barn foundation.

Parties for Teens & Adults

Planning a party for teens or adults or just want to rent a space for a meeting, a dinner, a shower or another occasion? Please contact us at 860-536-1216. We’ll help you design your event to include the perfect blend of indoor & outdoor activities, live animals and time around the campfire with s’mores! Call for details.

What to Know for Children’s Birthday Parties

We provide:

  • A private room for two hours
  • A one-hour nature program of your choice led by a DPNC educator (we can help you choose your program or design one based on your child’s interests!)
  • Tables and chairs, garbage can, recycling container
  • A DPNC graphic to download for use in a printed or electronic invitation to your party guests.

You provide:

  • Food, drinks and ice
  • Tablecloths, napkins, cups (no Styrofoam, please), plates and utensils
  • Decorations (no balloons or confetti, please) and party favors if you like
  • Excited kids and supervising parents

Most forgotten items:

  • Candles
  • Lighter or matches
  • Knife to cut cake and a utensil to serve cake

Sample party schedule for a 1-3 pm event

12:30 pm
Host arrives and sets up party supplies

1-1:15 pm
Guests arrive

1:15-2:15 pm
DPNC educator leads nature-themed program

2:15-3 pm
Host oversees snacks, cake, gifts or free play

Host cleans up party supplies