Scheduling - Both of our Party times, mornings and late afternoons, are really all-day parties because guests can play as long as they'd like.
For morning parties, you have exclusive use of the space from 9am - 10:30am, with setup beginning at 8:30am. The guests don't have to leave, but at 10:30am we begin to clean up, removing the decorations, etc., and transition the space back to use by our members at 11am.
For late afternoon parties, the official party time is 5-6:30pm, but guests can arrive anytime during the day and the hosts can begin party setup as early as 4:30pm.
For evening parties, they can run as late as you want, we just charge an additional $65 for each additional 30 minutes.
Capacity - We recommend 20 children because our total comfortable capacity is around 60, and usually each kid comes with 1-2 adults. You book the entire space - so an exact count is not necessary in advance.
Registration & Check In - Everyone will need to check in at the front desk upon arrival.
To speed things up at the time of the party, we recommend you ask guests to read and confirm our liability waiver online prior to arriving. They can do this online by using this link: skillzonedc.com/parties. They can also find this page by going to our homepage and selecting "Parties" on the top menu.
The waiver stresses that the parent or caregiver is responsible for watching the children throughout a visit.
If your guests have not been able to read and e-sign the waiver prior, we have a process to do so when they arrive.
Socks - We strive to keep SkillZone sparkling clean. Everyone is required to take off their shoes and to wear socks (kids and adults alike), so please remind guests to wear socks. We have some socks to loan out and can also provide shoe covers for adults who prefer to keep their shoes on.
Parking - Pay parking (via Parkmobile App or machines on the sidewalks) is available on all of 8th Street. Free 2-hour parking is available on all side streets. We recommend looking on G Street or 7th Street for free parking within 2-3 minutes' walk to our front door.
Metro - The Eastern Market Metro stop is 3 blocks away (just head straight South on 8th Street).
Older children - children over 6 are not allowed to play. Generally, older children are too large and easily bored with our equipment and space that is designed for the young ones.
They are allowed to attend, however, and may enjoy helping watch the younger children. It's frequently a chance for them to practice care-giving and teaching to younger siblings or friends.
Slideshow - Our system is designed to for seamlessly "air-playing" Apple products. If you don't have an Apple computer or phone, you can send us a file or store it in the cloud for us to play from our device. We recommend testing this in advance, if possible.
Custom music - we provide various play lists via our cloud music service, or can let you play your own via Bluetooth. Most parties play music for the adults, versus the children, as the kids don't notice but the adults seem to appreciate some good tunes. Throwback music seems to be the most popular since it makes the adults feel young again - something like 70's, 80's, 90's music channels or playlists.
Alcohol is allowed - Most private parties include wine, beer, mimosas, or similar to help the parents and friends relax and socialize.
Customized lighting - We can customize a few different lighting systems for you if you have a preferred color or theme.
Timing - We recommend doing the cake ceremony around the 1-hour mark of the party. We close the FocusZone at that point to encourage the children to enjoy the food and cake, as well as keep the little ones from taking food into that space.
Food - You're welcome to bring snacks / cake / drinks / etc. We are a nut-free facility so please nothing containing nuts. Please keep all food on the dark surface between the Focus Zone and Open Zone. We can provide coffee, tea, water, (with requisite cups and accessories) and a refrigerator for small items.
Tables and Chairs - We have child-sized tables and chairs that we can set out as well as buffet tables for refreshments you want to keep out of the kids' reach. We provide plastic tablecloths, but if you'd like something more festive you're welcome to bring it.
We have one adult table and chairs set, but usually the adults prefer to mingle about the space and take advantage of our scattered seating and socializing areas.
Toys in the FocusZone - Please help us keep all of the smaller toys in the FocusZone, behind the glass doors. These small toys can cause someone to get hurt if they are brought out into the OpenZone and end up underfoot.
Decorations - are not allowed on the walls, but freestanding decorations or those that can attach to our glass walls are welcome. We also allow hanging decorations, but they must be light and can attach to paper clips that we can hang from the drop ceiling.
Water Table - New guests to SkillZone may be surprised we have a water table and not prepared for how wet the children can get. Please help advise them to take advantage of the little smocks and the shoes we provide, and bring extra dry clothes & socks if they think it’s necessary.
Extra items to remember - People most frequently forget a cake knife, bottle opener, and candles.
SkillZone is in high demand for private parties and often books up months in advance. Accordingly, to be as fair as possible to all our families, Private Party reservations can only be refunded with more than 4-weeks’ notice and can only be refunded at 80% of the fee. Private Party reservations can be rescheduled, subject to availability, between 4 and 2 weeks in advance of the party date. No changes or refunds can be made to any party reservations within 2 weeks of the scheduled party date. Active membership required for 2 months to receive member discount on parties.