Thursday, June 21, 2012


DRL welcomes Mrs. Patty Smukall, Zoologist, Teacher, and now, Party Planner!

Patty Smukall

Yes, it was a birthday party, and yes, it was all about SHARKS!

While teaching Marine Biology at a local Middle School, I was approached by the parents of one of my students. She asked me if I would organize and run a birthday party for her daughter and several of her friends. Her daughter loved our classes so much, she wanted a “shark” party. After finding out what the girl had in mind, I was happy to oblige.

The party took place in my school Science lab in the evening. I decorated the room with netting, hanging fish, and of course, a giant paper machete shark. The back table was covered in a sea-blue cloth with shark paper goods and a shark centerpiece. I even redid my bulletin boards to reflect the theme.

For food , we had “shark bites” (chicken fingers) with BBQ sauce,  blue jello mold with gummy sharks swimming in it, foot and hand shaped biscuits with a ‘bite” taken out of them, and assorted dips with taco chips ( chips were placed in dip sticking up like a shark fin.) For dessert, I made shark cupcakes using regular cupcakes and twinkies. They looked amazing, if I say so myself!

 And now the reason why this mom asked me, the science teacher, to handle this party. The party activity the student chose was dissecting sharks! That’s right – DISECTING sharks. We spend part of the evening studying sharks and their habits. We then dissected. The girls were thrilled. I had a lab coat for each child ( courtesy of the student’s mom) with their name on the pocket “Dr._______”  .  I issued them protective glasses and latex gloves. They had the time of their lives, and I did too!

After dissecting, what better thing to do than eat?We had a feast and watched them movie “Jaws”. We all slept in sleeping bags and I projected images of the sea with all kinds of sea life on the ceiling. We fell asleep to the sounds of my “oceans” meditation tape. In the morning, we were up early and the mom made us shark shaped pancakes for breakfast. Each student got a goodie bucket of “shark bait” which included gummy sharks, a sharks tooth necklace, a small stuffed shark bean bag toy and shark shaped cookies.

 The student and her mother were thrilled. The guests had a fabulous time and I felt it was a great success. I guess it must have been ,because since then I’ve had several requests for parties, including a sea turtle party, dolphin party, clown fish party, Octopus party  and more. I guess if the economy keeps going on the way it is , I can always fall back on this as my 2nd career!


  1. From one Patty to another..Welcome to the DRL staff :)...

    Great party ideas..

  2. Patty S is in Alaska right now and will be sharing her adventures with at DRL soon.Welcome aboard Patty!

  3. What a super cool party! Welcome to DRL Patty S, we are thrilled you are here!