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joint dinosaur excavation birthday party dessert table and cookies

Ashleigh Goodwin of Ashleigh Nicole Events styled a party so DINO-MITE you’ll want to sink your teeth into it! To celebrate both of her sons’ birthdays, mom expertly created this Dinosaur Excavation Birthday Party with tons of natural elements like grass, burlap and wood; plus some adorable, toy-inspired DIYs!

Everything started with an awesome ‘crack-the-egg’ invitation (Easter eggs that Ashleigh painted) and ended with the cutest little ‘Adopt a Dinosaur’ party favor activity. Keep scrolling to see all of the roarin’ details…

PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:

  • DIY dinosaur terrarium centerpieces + round moss place mats, burlap runners & dino shaped sandwiches
  • Toy dinosaurs strung into a banner, glued on trail mix jars & turned into dessert trays
  • Simple, dinosaur topped birthday cake + dinosaur bone cookies, key lime cheesecakes & donut stacks
  • Custom ‘about’ signs for both birthday boys, matching birthday shirts & a live reptiles show

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PARTY DETAILS, as told by Ashleigh…

RAWR!!! I styled and designed this Dinosaur party for my two little boys, Carter and Braxton! They absolutely love dinosaurs so I went to work planning a rustic dinosaur party! I used a color pallet of navy blue, lime green and antique tan. The party was located in sunny Oceanside, California!

Invites set the tone for the party right? Well, I decided to go with boxed dinosaur egg invites! I used plastic Easter eggs, painted them eggshell white and speckled brown paint for a more realistic look. The actual invite with party details were placed inside the dinosaur egg.  Each egg was placed in a brown craft box. The eggs sat on a bed of loose moss. It also had a “crack me” sticker on the inside lid. The boxes where dressed with a custom “You’re Invited” label and navy blue ribbon.

I had a blast styling this table, well, the whole party really! I covered both tables with white linen. I purchased two burlap table runners then cut them to size and placed them vertically along the table. The moss placemats were one of my favorite little details from the party. They were made out of 14×48 inch moss table runners found at Joanns Fabric. I then cut 12″ circles for each place setting. On top of the moss placemats were lunch boxes for all the little herbivores and carnivores! Inside each lunch box were dinosaur shaped sandwich, grapes, pretzels and carrots; each with carnivore/herbivore labels.

The no-sew burlap utensil holders were made out of wired burlap ribbon and a tad of hot glue down the edges. I then placed napkins, wooden spoons, knives and forks in each one. I then tied colored twine around the entire utensil holder and adorned with name tags of each of the party guest.

I found a ton of dinosaur toys at the Dollar Store in which I lightly spray painted each to match the color scheme. I thought adding party hats on a few of the dinosaurs was super cute and my boys thought it was hilarious!

Each place setting also had bottles with custom labeling and lime green paper straws with a custom navy “ROAR” flag. Now for the fun part! The Dinosaur Terrarium centerpieces!!! I love terrariums and I thought it would be a perfect “home” for our little dinosaur friends. I used all artificial plants in these terrariums. Sand, rocks and moss were all found at the Dollar Store. The glass bubble bowls were purchased from Michaels. I simply layered sand, rocks, moss, artificial succulents, ferns and moss rocks. Lastly, I added little
dinosaur toys! The wood slice and stump are from Michaels as well.

Let’s start for the bottom and make our way up! The burlap table-skirt was the perfect base to continue the rustic look. The printed banner that was hung across the table read “Happy Birthday.” It was hung by using twine and green painted clothes pins. I served chocolate and vanilla macaroons, key lime cheesecake, Oreo chocolate pudding, layered jello, chocolate covered Oreos, chocolate glazed donuts and personalized cookies! Yummy! I also served Hershey chocolate bars and Hershey Chocolate nuggets, both with custom labeling. I wanted the cake design to be very simple. I decided on a two tier 8″/5″ classic vanilla/vanilla cake decorated with a custom banner and dinosaur toys holding candles! Each dinosaur represented the birthday boys. Carter, who was turning 5 and Braxton, who was turning 2!!! The cake sat on a wood slice, moss mat, white cake stand and a 1/2 size wooden crate purchased from Joann’s Fabric. The crate was stained with chestnut colored wood stain from Home Depot.

Oh, I almost forgot! Another one of my favorites little details were the dinosaur platters! I used large dinosaur toys in which I cut off the heads, sounds horrible, I know.  I centered a light weight plate and reattached the head using hot glue. Finally, I spray painted them to coordinate with the color scheme.

All materials were purchased from the dollar store!!! 3 stands totaled $4!!! (Not including the cost of spray paint). Parchment paper was placed on top of the spray painted plates for
food safety. Lastly, the 4×6 foot vinyl backdrop printed by Drop Place featured the graphic design created by Heather Nelson Designs. The backdrop reads “Carter and Braxton’s Dinosaur Excavation” and has a rustic/vintage map background.

I always like to get personalized shirts for the boys’ birthday. I ordered the navy blue and green dinosaur skeleton shirts with their name and age from Etsy. Super cute!

We gave small toy dinosaurs, custom coloring books, handmade dinosaur shaped crayons and white chocolate pretzels acting as “dinosaur bones” for party favors. The coloring books were placed in clear plastic self-seal envelopes and the dinosaur crayons were placed in small brown craft boxes on top of shredded packing paper. Each box was dressed with custom tags attached with twine. The homemade dinosaur crayons were made using a silicon mold I found on Amazon. I placed broken crayons in the mold and melted them down in the oven. They popped out of the silicone mold perfectly each time! The “dinosaur bones” were white chocolate pretzels placed in clear treat bags with custom labeling tags. The “Adopt a Dinosaur” section included small toy dinosaurs for the guest to choose from and an Adoption Certificate card!

The party favors where displayed on a 4ft table with white linen, tassel garland and a “thank you for making my birthday Dino-mite” sign. The birthday information boards and the “thank you…” party sign were created by Heather Nelson Designs. The favor table also had a bamboo backdrop with a photo banner of the birthday boys. Navy bags were used to carry home all of the dinosaur treats!

I decided to go really easy on the menu. I was 3 weeks postpartum with baby #3 and I didn’t want a lot of food prep. Soooo to the grocery store I went for pre-made selections. The menu included an assorted deli sub tray and a deli wrap tray. We also had a fruit tray and veggie tray that my beautiful mother assembled. All food items were served on white platters. On a separate table, we also served iced tea in a silver pedestal drink dispenser and assorted fruit flavored lemonades. Regular lemonade, limeade and raspberry lemonade. Lastly, we provided water w/costume labeling, assorted juice boxes and soda for our guest. The beverage table was dressed with hanging tassel garland and a bamboo backdrop with a dinosaur toy and triangle garland.

Lastly, we had a Trail Mix Bar! The DIY trail mix bar included peanuts, almonds, raisins, craisins, pretzels, m&ms and sunflower seeds.

We decided to hire “The Kids Reptile Parties” company to entertain our guest. He was fantastic at keeping the crowd engaged and he had a great sense of humor. He presented an array of reptiles and all the kids had the opportunity to touch them. He was awesome! We also had a dinosaur piñata and photo booth!

Well, I believe I covered just about everything. I loved the look on my little boys’ faces when they saw the completed party space. Absolutely priceless! Now let’s start planning for next year!

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