Isn't it interesting how all young children are fascinated with animals? All three of my girls love them--domesticated and wild. The zoo is one of their favorite field trips. I guess the cotton candy, train and carousel help too! So, we invited some friends to the zoo for Audrey's fifth birthday earlier this summer.
I really appreciate the ability to take my girls and show them a tiger or a penguin or a bear without having to journey and see them in the wild. And I love thinking about zoos a century or so ago--so exotic! Such an outing. I love their park-like settings and wrought iron and imagine the excitement of the visitors when they saw wild animals.
I suppose the proliferation of media today lessens the thrill of seeing a wild animal at the city zoo, "oh yeah, I saw a show about those on...," but not yet for my girls!
So this birthday party was all about the zoo of yesteryear with happy children and happy, nearly domesticated wild animals. I incorporated polka dots and rick rack to add more of the lighthearted, vintage feel and there are printables a'plenty, with a promotion too. (Click to read more about the party and printables...)
We started in our backyard with a lunch. I set some tables with white pleated tablecloths that have convertible inserts in yellow and grey polka dots (pattern coming soon). I love this striped fabric (Premier Prints Lulu Stripe)! I added another tablecloth for the serving table sewn from Michael Miller Ta-Dot in Stone and trimmed in grey jumbo rickrack.
The girls' places were set with the vintage zoo Rickrack Place mats and Napkins and these great aluminum camping plates. I love the brushed metal, also on the galvanized French flower pots from IKEA. And who can resist the striped paper straws. I also used them on the birthday cake to make flag poles for the animals.
Party favors were "zoo pails" (from Target, but these are similar) with zoo snacks, water bottles and bags of Fiddle Faddle, and a wood train whistle for the zoo train ride.
I was lucky to be able to use my neighbors white wrought iron chairs in two styles--so fabulous to have nice neighbors with things that add so much to the party setup! I had been imagining wrought iron chairs and wishing for some thrifting time (not to mention budget and storage space!) but this solution was so much better.
The menu for lunch included PBandJ sandwiches, fruit, jello "jigglers" cut in animal shapes, homespun cotton candy, and of course, birthday cake. I made a chocolate buttermilk cake with chocolate filling and buttercream frosting--probably my favorite combination. Yum! Another neighbor and friend made the cute animal sugar cookies with fondant polka dots. (I love these scalloped enamel cake stands!)
I think it was a pretty kid-friendly menu and I tried to make it somewhat balanced, but, it's fair to say that the cotton candy was the big hit!
After lunch, it was off to the zoo! Quite an outing with seven little girls and two adults (thank you, Sue!) but we didn't even lose one! And no animals escaped, either.
The carousel was a main attraction. Two rides for everyone.
It was fun to see Audrey and Scarlett running around in their Vintage Zoo Dress and Dirndl Skirt, respectively. And there are always the ideas I didn't get too trailing after them in my head! Would have been fun to make all the party goers hats like these in the vintage zoo fabric. Alas, I ran out of time...
I did however spend some extra cycles on the printables even though I didn't use them all for this party. If you are interested there is a printable package in my Etsy shop including:
Cupcake wrappers and toppers, which can also be used as tags, labels and napkin rings (in sizes 3” and 2.5” round and 3.5” scalloped)
Pennant banners in a few versions and sizes, including customizable
Customizable accordion fold and simple versions of the invitation
Thank you notes, printed papers, tags, hot dog trays and more.
I'm offering 50% for the next two weeks (ends 10/3) with the coupon code: PRINTABLES50