When a little girl turns one, she invariably gets a sweet, girly party. When Brooklynite Eloise celebrated her big day, she was thrown a pink ballerina party at Jane’s Carousel, in Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO. Want to throw a memorable birthday party for your kiddo? Read on for our guide to planning the perfect carousel party.

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Location, location, location
The beauty of a venue like Jane’s Carousel – no decorating needed! The stunning Manhattan skyline, framed by the Brooklyn Bridge on one side and Manhattan Bridge on the other make for a picture perfect view that no decorations could possibly enhance.

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Keep the little (and big!) kids occupied
A first birthday party needs to walk a fine line between being geared towards kids (well, it is their day after all!) and the adults, who make up a bit portion of the guest list. The beauty of a venue like Jane’s Carousel is that everyone loves a pony ride. There’s also a big expanse of lawn next to the carousel for kids that are walking to run around.

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Booking Jane’s Carousel
The carousel has great packages for parties – just make sure to book yours well in advance, as they’re popular and book up fast. How far in advance? As of May 1 for example, they are completely booked for June, starting to book up for July, and have just opened up reservations for parties in August. Birthday parties can be arranged during the carousel’s regular open hours for 5 – 30 children. Cost is $20 per child for weekdays and $25 per child for weekends, and includes unlimited rides on the carousel for all guests, two hours of reserved seating in the picnic grove, one exclusive ride on the carousel for all party guests, and a keepsake carousel ticket for all guests.

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Do I really need to book the party?
Technically, you can just set up the party on some of the tables in the picnic grove, or on the lawn, and buy a bunch of tickets for your guests to use. During the week the carousel isn’t as busy so you can probably get away with doing this, and cut down on some of your costs. For weekends, however, particularly in peak season (which is basically as long as it’s warm enough to play outside), you’ll definitely want to reserve the party as the location is really popular for both tourists and locals to stop by. The biggest pro to this is having tables reserved for you, as it will save you having to fight with other families for the tables – plus keep in mind that someone else will likely have booked the party in and will be given reserved tables.

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Food, glorious food
For Eloise’s party, lunch was a platter of bagels with assorted toppings, from local store Mocha Bagels (202 Smith St), a few platters of fruit (cut up at home), cupcakes from Betty’s Bakery (448 Atlantic Ave), a cake from One Girl Cookie (33 Main St), and sugar cookies from SugarFairies, Etsy. For beverages, a cooler was borrowed, filled with ice and bottles of water.

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The bagels were delivered to the location for a small fee, and the cake was collected from the DUMBO location of One Girl Cookie, leaving only the fruit, cupcakes and cookies to be carried into the location.

Want hot food? Try ordering pizzas from one of the local DUMBO pizzerias, like nearby Ignazio’s (4 Water St).

When was the last time you rode a carousel?

–Christine Knight

All images courtesy of local Brooklyn photographer, Raquel Frechette.