My cousin gave us a cute “WILD ONE” First Birthday onesie that had a few animals on it so I thought I'd run with that and go for a zoo theme birthday party.
These ideas could also be used for a safari themed birthday party or jungle themed birthday party and could be easily done for any young kids, not just a first birthday. Here is what we did for games & activities, food and party favors.
Easy Zoo Birthday Party Decorations
You don't need an elaborate party-scape to give your zoo birthday party a wild touch. Check out these easy animal related party decor and supply ideas.
- Walking Animal Balloons and think they could do double duty: party decor AND party favors!
- This Animal themed birthday pack comes with latex balloons, mylar balloons as well as cupcake picks.
- For a gold theme, I love these Glitter Zoo Hanging Party Twirlers.
- Dress up the table with WILD Animal Print Table Cloths.
- Giant Inflatable Zoo Animals will be a big hit.
Easy Zoo Birthday Party Activity Ideas
We have never been too big on organized games at the parties in my family but I wanted to have some fun things for the kids to do if I caught wind of boredom. An idea from our family holiday party was to hang a large sheet of paper on the wall with crayons and markers so the kids could make a mural. We added the zoo theme by writing Welcome to the Zoo! across the top and letting the kids make their own animals using animal stickers.
Games to Play at a Zoo Birthday Party
If you like to have organized games at your birthday parties, you can either put together some DIY Zoo themed games or have some store bought family fun games on hand to add to the fun.
Zoo Themed Games:
- Animal Exercise Dice Game – This is perfect to get the kids moving in a silly, fun, animal-themed way.
- Hungry Hungry Hippos – A classic, but can only be played by 4 at a time.
- Elefun – Try this out ahead of time to get the hang of it. It's fun just to see the butterflies blowing around.
- Guess In 10 Animal Guessing Game – No reading required on this one.
- Chasin' Cheeky Monkey
- Crocodile Teeth – Too funny to see the kids- and adults- play this.
- Rhino Hero Stacking Game – It is so fun to hear the kids as the tower gets taller and taller.
- Spot It! Animal version – This is a simple, visual game and lots of fun for all ages.
- Animal Party Game – This is SO cute because the kids are trying to get the adults to guess the animal. It's cooperative and silly because the adults can ham it up. No reading required. There's a video that explains it on the Amazon page. Easy to learn.
These games can get kind of rowdy and loud but we had them already and sometimes you need a little “loud and rowdy” at a party!
If you are into organized games with prizes, clearly you could give prizes for the winners of these games and they fit pretty well with the party theme.
The last little thing we had were these cool Zoo Animal Hand Puppet Tattoos, also from Oriental Trading Company. You have to trim off the extra pieces at the bottom to apply and the kids have to get their hands just right. I put them on all at once, not one leg at a time and it was pretty easy. They came out pretty cute! The kids had fun playing zoo and jungle out in the back yard, the “animals” loved playing on the swing set and I do believe there were some animal races going on!
Note: I can't find the original animal Hand Tattoos that we had above, these are the closest animal Hand Tattoos I could find.
More Zoo Themed Party Activities:
- Set up a Zoo themed photo booth with fun Zoo Photo Props and go all out with a Zoo themed photo backdrop
- Have the kids made their own zoo with zoo animal figurines.
- Try your hand at some Animal Origami with these pre-printed sheets.
- The kids would love to make some Foam Animal Masks with these kits.
- Put on a puppet show with some cute, affordable Animal finger puppets.
Easy Zoo Birthday Party Food Ideas
So we had the fun ideas planned, now it's time for the food. I wanted to make “something” for the party but it needed to be done ahead of time, during nap time and for the sake of everyone involved, it needed to be easy! Enter the meringue!
I tinkered around with a couple different meringue recipes in the past and thought I would try making some orange-vanilla tiger striped meringues and maple cinnamon zebra-striped meringues. The tiger stripe ones were based on this Martha Stewart recipe but I added orange gel food coloring to the meringue and was going to add black stripes to the pastry bag. Turns out I added too MUCH orange gel food coloring, however! They totally fell and I did not even bother piping them out. I scrapped the food coloring and just went for the stripes.
I had some maple extract to use for the second batch but in the process of researching the recipe I found this recipe at Gourmande in the Kitchen that uses actual maple syrup instead of white refined sugar, which I thought was brilliant. I also should note that I skipped the egg cracking and separating by buying a carton of 100% egg whites at the store. Even easier- yay!
The Martha Stewart recipe tells you to use a paint brush to paint the gel food coloring into your pastry bag in order to give the meringues the swirl stripes. Well I used a zip-top bag instead of a pastry bag and the painted gel food coloring lines did not last. What I found worked best was squirting in thick lines of the gel directly from the tube. I used Wilton's Black Sparkle Food Gel for this. The first few were very black but soon it evened out and then they all came out like the one in the picture. They tasted AWESOME, if I do say so myself! All kudos go to the original recipe author though, not me!
The other food items we had were purchased. We had catering from Chipotle, which was a huge hit! People were actually taking pictures of it to send to their significant others who were unable to attend. We would use them again for sure. They had everything packed in nice strong reusable bags, including stands and sterno heaters to keep the hot food hot. They included the bowls that you get your food in at the restaurant, utensils for everyone, washable serving utensils, food name tags, napkins, condiments- everything! It was all there! We had a small amount of leftovers, which is exaaactly what we were hoping for! 😉 Next it was time for dessert!
Zoo Birthday Cake and Ice Cream Ideas
We had Zebra striped ice cream from my favorite grocery store- Mariano's- and we also ordered the cake and cupcakes from there too. You could easily make this all yourself if you are the cake baking type but I wanted to keep it easy so we ordered them. With a little detailed description to the bakery department, and a little added bling at home. We ended up with a fun and easy zoo birthday cake!
I ordered a half sheet cake and described that I wanted it to look like the walkway of a zoo and told them I was going to add a cupcake on each corner with the animals. I also ordered chocolate cupcakes with green frosting to look like grass. I added these fun Zoo Animal Cupcake Pics and that was that! I have also seen cupcakes with animal crackers stuck in the top, which would also be an easy option.
OTHER CAKE & DESSERT DECOR OPTIONS:
- ADORABLE animal shaped birthday candles as the animals in the zoo. Oh my gosh. Cuteness!
- Animal Cupcake Wraps turn any cupcake into a Zoo Cupcake
- Use a set of Plastic Toy Zoo Animals to decorate your cake or cupcakes, then the kids can keep their animal.
- This Sweet Animal Cake Set is so cheerful, and can be used with cake and cupcakes.
Zoo Birthday Party Favors
Zoo Party Favor Ideas:
- Basic clear cellophane treat bags or Animal Print Gift Bags
- Animal crackers are obvious and I love the nostalgic boxes.
- Zoo Animal Tattoos on Cards
- Googlie eye rings that make your hand into a puppet.
- Animal print ribbon or animal washi tape to close the bags, you could make your own animal name cards.
- Animal Headbands would be adorable for all the kids to get one.
- Animal Felt Masks are another super cute option.
Have fun with your Zoo birthday party! Share any zoo party ideas you had in the comments below!