We tried it: Storybook Station (with boys!)

What: A fantastic lounge and birthday party venue

Who: Two energetic five year old boys and their parents

Where: Windward Mall

When: Saturday afternoon

Mthere his son Duke came home from school one day and asked to go to “that place in Storybook“. A girl in her class had attended a birthday party there and told Duke all about it. When I looked at it, my first reaction was that it was a girl-only princess place. But, Duke insisted and I’m always up for trying something new, so we rounded up Duke’s buddy Cameron, who we know loves facepaint and fancy dress, and headed to the side. upwind for a day of transformation and play.

By the time we arrived the boys were literally bouncing off the walls in excitement. We had booked a one hour ‘Nails, Scales & Fairytales’ experience and had the space to ourselves. After kicking off our shoes, we were welcomed into Never Land by owner Casey Fortuno and her crew of land mermaids (finless mermaids, of course!).

Cameron was particularly impressed with the decorations and asked the mermaids ten questions. One by one, they explored each themed section together, including a tea table, an enchanted forest, a princess carriage, and a mermaid scene. I too have to admit that the floor to ceiling decor, props and lighting made the place absolutely magical.

Then the hostesses invited the boys to the magic costume closet. They choose from a wide selection of princess, unicorn, mermaid, pirate, ninja, dragon, dinosaur and knight costumes. Cameron was quick to pick out a ninja outfit, and Duke took his time choosing between the three different dino options, ultimately choosing the T-Rex.

Before their transformations were completed with face paint, the boys slipped into pretend play with each other and marched around the enchanted forest on stick horses. Noticing that they had too much energy to sit on a makeup chair, Casey opted for musical games instead: Freeze Dance and Floor Is Lava.

Photo: Laura Dornbush

After swaying, the boys were ready for face painting. Cameron had big ideas for her look and outlined her vision, while Duke was more knowledgeable about her design. My favorite part of the day was seeing their reactions when they got to look in the mirror. While the boys didn’t get their nails painted, Cameron asked for something special for her hair: glitter hairspray!

Storytelling station

Photo: Laura Dornbush

Although transformed into fierce ninja and fierce dinosaur, the boys happily played tea party and pretended to ride in the carriage with the mermaids. When our time was up, they weren’t ready for the end of the fairy tale! If you have keiki between 4 and 8, I recommend putting this special place on your to-do list.

Storytelling station

Photo: Laura Dornbush

Storytelling station

Photo: Laura Dornbush

Our advices

  1. Don’t arrive early. One of the best parts of the experience is the big reveal when the front curtains are peeled back to reveal the magical space. You won’t want to spoil the fun before the stage is set!
  2. Bring a friend. Although hostesses are pros at pretending, it’s always more fun with a playmate your own age.
  3. Let them choose. Hello helicopter parents! I had to hold back from providing comments on Duke’s costume and facepaint, but I’m so glad I let him choose for himself.
  4. Take lots of photos. It’s a no-brainer, but harder than you think when the kids are running, jumping, dancing and won’t stop to pose for a picture!
  5. Bring makeup remover wipes. The face paint is awesome, until it’s not so awesome. This face paint doesn’t dry, so every time Duke itched his nose or rubbed his cheek, it got all over his hands and shirt. We ended up removing the face paint on the way home.

Storybook Station offers makeover packages ranging from $20 to $149 by appointment. Birthday party packages start at $225 for two guests. (808) 428-9698. 45-056 Kamehameha Hwy., Kane’ohe, storybookstationhawaii.com

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