Easy ideas for a zoo birthday party.

Ever wanted to party with a panda?  With a party animal birthday theme you have so many animal inspired options! It’s easier to plan than you might  think!

Why not party at the zoo WITH the animals, go on a safari or play pin the tail on the zebra?  

This party guide will take you step-by-step through the process of planning an animal birthday party.  It’s gonna be a stampede of fun!

I recently styled a fun party animal party for my daughter’s 8th birthday.  It is full of black and white animals and pops of fun colors. Here are all the details on how you can recreate this party for your little one:


Picking a Theme: Ideas for an Animal birthday party

The first step in creating a successful birthday party is definitely picking the right theme.  You have to take the time to really firm up the direction you want your party to go.

When you are ready to select a theme, spending some time brainstorming your child’s favorite things can help you narrow down your options.


Another helpful idea is to look through options.  You can browse through trending birthday ideas for boys or popular birthday ideas for girls to help get some inspiration.


If you are leaning toward using printables, you can also look through available birthday designs in the MD Printables shop.  This definitely helps with narrowing down color schemes.  There is also tons of inspiration posts attached to each design to help steer the direction of the party.

So now that you’re interested in throwing an animal inspired party…


Zoo Party Ideas

Recently, my “little in the middle” child declared she NEEDED to go to the zoo for her birthday.  This inspired the party animal party that I’m showcasing with this zoo party guide.

A zoo party theme is tons of fun.  There are a couple of options when you are throwing a zoo party.  Both are super fun depending on your circumstances and budget.


Option 1: Recreate the zoo feel in your home with strategic decorations and fun activities.  You can play zoo party games like pin the tail on the monkey or jungle animal charades. The Spruce has some fantastic suggestions for animal themed party games.


Option 2: Take the party guests to the actual zoo.  Depending on your party budget and location, this can be an awesome party plan.  For example, we live near the Oregon Zoo.  

We were able to our zoo membership to take all the little girls to the zoo without any additional cost. This was an awesome perk over paying admission for everyone.  If going to a local zoo is apart of your zoo party plan, check out membership and event options. It might mitigate costs!


This was a pretty awesome party activity!!

The zoo birthday party theme is one that you can definitely have fun with.  Enjoy playing around with animal themed crafts, have the little guests make animal masks


Featured Animal Party Ideas

Another fun option for throwing an animal party is to focus on just one animal.  If your child has a favorite animal, you can make that the focal point of your party.  

Wondering how to do this effectively?  I have monkey birthday party and penguin birthday party inspiration for you.  Cute little animal parties can be so much fun to decorate.  Limiting yourself to one animal also speeds up the process of choosing which animals to feature in desserts and decor.  


Party Animal Birthday Theme

For this party animal set-up, I focused on black and white animals only.  I didn’t want to use animal prints or have the party take on too much of a safari feel.  We chose the panda, raccoon, sloth, penguin and white tiger to feature.


Animal Party Invitations

The party invitations are the first thing about your party that your guests experience.  This is your time to shine.

You can use fun personalized printable invitations (psst…you can purchase the one I designed for this party at the bottom of this post) and send those out to your guest.

Bonus: They come as digital images so if printing and mailing just isn’t your thing, you can email, text or facebook messenger these invites to your guest list!


There are also some cute digital invitations over on Evite.  If sending a digital invitation is your thing…this is a great affordable (often free) option!

Remember also, if you are sending zoo birthday invitations and are planning to take the kiddos to the zoo, you should include this information on the invitation.  

Parents may want to come along or meet you there, so you want everyone to be prepared in advance.


Party Animal Decorations

When it comes to decorating for an animal party…there are so many amazing things you can do with minor crafting and the right tools.  


For this animal party, I used simple clean white as the primary color and accented with the colors and black stripes.  

For the dessert table, I hung fun little pom pom garlands and a DIY yarn tassel garland behind the stuffed panda head to set the party mood.


I used white cake stands to accent the desserts.  This really helps to make the desserts themselves pop!  

The cupcakes were placed in the black and white striped printables from the party animal printable package (available for purchase at the bottom of the page) and then into bright colored cupcake liners.


I also used white platters with curved edges and filled them with jelly beans to set the animal cookies into.  I love using candy like jelly beans or sixlets to fill the space in bowls and plates between the food.  It gives an extra dimension to the dessert table.


This is one of my favorite party hacks!  Doubling up on the cupcake liners and wrappers really makes the cupcakes stand out and gives them a little something extra.

Zoo party supplies don’t have the be complex. For example,  I blew up various colored balloons for under the party table.  The kids had a great time playing with these while they waited for the party to start or for their parents to come pick them up.  

Sometimes it’s the little things that are the biggest win!!

I also gave the girls each fun colored party hats that were waiting for them on their plates.  These made for some adorable pictures!


The welcome sign was a super easy diy that turned out absolutely adorable.  I used a simple foam wreath and hot glued bunched tissue paper in a rainbow pattern to the front. 

Once I had the wreath covered in tissue paper, I hot glued the welcome sign to the top.  Easy peasy!


Animal Party Supplies: Animal Party Plates & Tableware

In this party, I used some beautiful black pinstriped plates, napkins, and cups to accent the printables.  I paired the simple tableware with disposable caferteria style trays that I painted in bright colors to match the party color scheme.  

I also used fun bright colored paper straws to mix and match colors.


This made for a fun and colorful zoo birthday table that was easy to set up and clean up.  When the girls were done eating all their sweets and treats, they simply brought me their trays.  

I call this a mom win for cleaning up.


If you are looking for a more colorful, traditional approach to a party animal party…you can’t go wrong with this GORGEOUS collection from Sweet Lulu.  

They have animal party masks, Party animal Tableware,  Colorful Party Animal Decorations, party animal candles, little animal figures and so much more.  It’s such an amazing selection of zoo animal party supplies.







We served cake and ice cream (cookies ‘n’ cream of course to match the decor) in adorable little
ice cream cups and these adorable plastic reusable ice cream spoons. These spoons are a great deal, by the way.  

My kids actually use them in their lunch boxes to cut down on plastic silverware.  They are super versatile and come in a variety of colors!


Animal Party Favors

There are tons of cute ideas you can use for making animal themed party favors.

You can also take those cute little animal figures and spray paint them into bright solid colors to match the black and white party printables.  These are perfect glued to the top of jar lid filled with treats as a party favor. Here is a super easy tutorial for doing this from Mason Jar Crafts Love.


There is also tons of animal party inspiration and other ways to use painted animal figures in this Circus Party.

One of my favorite ideas for party favors is an “Adopt an Animal” party favor.  When we held a monkey party for my daughter (the same one who wanted this zoo party…I may have a budding zoologist on my hands here!), we had little stuffed monkeys the kids could adopt.  It was adorable and pretty simple to do.  

Another easy party favor for an animal party is filling an animal themed bag with little animal goodies.  This is the easiest option for zoo party favors and meets a variety of needs.  


Animal Party Food Ideas

So are you wondering what kind of food to serve at a zoo party?  I thought you might be! The party food is my single favorite detail of any party.  You can be so amazingly creative with party food.


Food for a Zoo Party:

One of the unique challenges in having a party at a public venue, like a zoo, is bringing in outside food.  We packed sack lunches for the girls to take with them full of healthy snacks.

In order to make these lunches fun though, I packed them in white gift bags with bright colored tissue paper and added the printable gift tags to the front.  The lunches were adorable!


Animal Birthday Cake

For the birthday cake, I made a 4 layer naked chocolate drip cake.  I loved this cake for this party because the striped look of the naked cake matched perfectly with the black and white striped printables.  



Here is a great tutorial for icing a naked cake if you have never tried one prior:

I left my cake top bare, but you can easily add a cake topper.  This panda cake topper from Journey to Hygge would be perfect for a zoo party like this:


Animal Cookies

For the animal cookies, I used royal icing to decorate basic sugar cookies. The cookie cutter shapes came from this cookie cutter set.  I was super pleased with how versatile this set was and how easily I made 5 different animals with just three basic cutter shapes.


I have easy tutorials for how to bake and decorate these animal cookies: Panda Cookie Tutorial, Sloth Cookie Tutorial, Penguin Cookie Tutorial, Tiger Cookie Tutorial, Raccoon Cookie Tutorial.


Animal Cupcakes

For the animal cupcakes, I made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.  I then topped the cupcakes with cute colorful fondant animal face circles. These were so much fun to make.


I have easy tutorials for how to make these fondant animal cupcakes: Panda Cupcake Tutorial, Sloth Cupcake Tutorial, Penguin Cupcake Tutorial, Tiger Cupcake Tutorial, Raccoon Cupcake Tutorial.

Zoo Party Printables

If you would love to use these printables to throw your own party animal party…you can purchase them here:


Conclusion for Plan a Perfect Party Animal Birthday:

Planning an animal party can be such a fun experience with the right plan.  These easy to recreate ideas will help you to throw the perfect party for your favorite little party animal.

If you love these party ideas, please pin this image to your birthday Pinterest board:


Here are some helpful links for throwing a zoo themed party:



Related posts for How to Throw a Party Animal Birthday:


Thanks for reading our Zoo birthday party ideas!