To start off, I am planning my son's "science" birthday party. It's not going to be so much mad science, Frankenstein-esque, as a clean biotech, chemistry related, modern party. (Inspiration has come from Pure Joy Events and of course One Charming Party); and so I've been doing some online shopping to find petri dishes where shipping doesn't cost more than they do. I've found actual lab supply sites, and of course Steve Spangler science, but when I stumbled upon American Science and Surplus I just about died. It seems custom built for people like me who want the real thing, but to be used for a different purpose (usually a party) and therefore at a fraction of the price. Their descriptions for their products are so clever and quippy, I was literally laughing out loud. They have won my business if just for their sense of humor.
The second business I must "plug", actually belongs to my Aunt, in Spanish Fork, Utah. She is a self-made woman and party planner extraordinaire (as is my Mom and other Aunt). She carries supplies in her shop called "Goodies" that are more than the run-of-the-mill cake decorating supplies I have access to at my own local hobby supply stores. But my favorite thing about her business, is that it is totally customer driven. If you are looking for something specific, tell her and she will put feelers out to stock it. She sells in-store and online so if you want something in particular, wherever you are, check her out. Plus, the prices are good.
So for my son's party, I wanted to have petri dishes filled with jell-o "agar". But my Aunt carries custom colors and shapes of jimmies (also known as sprinkles to U.S. westerners). So I think I'll be sprinkling some green jimmies and orange sugar pearls on the petri dish to look like colonies of color coordinated bacteria. Gross, huh? I just love it!