Safari Birthday Party by Brittany Schwaigert


One of my favorite party themes for baby’s first birthdays is definitely zoo parties! There are several different riffs on this theme, such as jungle or safari, but this party was held at an ACTUAL zoo! I live in Memphis, Tennessee and we happen to have a world-class zoo with multiple gorgeous exhibits which are available to rent out for events.

This party was for a client whose sweet little guy was turning 1. And they really celebrated in style by renting out the Northwest Passage exhibit at the Memphis Zoo for their friends and family. The Northwest Passage is home to polar bears, sea lions, eagles, and more. It is themed around the Pacific Northwest and the beautiful culture of the Native Americans in the area. When you walk into the exhibit, it’s like you are underwater with the polar bears and sea lions, watching them in their habitats, which creates a magical venue for a party! I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings and bring some colorful pops to the tables and chairs, while accenting the animal print patterns that make a zoo party so fun!

We started the party by welcoming the guests off the zoo tram with this big custom banner! I even added little Adi’s picture to the banner! Surrounding the banner, I hung animal print lanterns alongside lanterns in our party colors of yellow, orange, and green. Around the entrance, I scattered bistro tables for guests with colored linens, and a few sit-down tables for guests.

Our drink station, or "watering hole" greeted guests with Tiger Tea and Jungle Juice. I created this banner out of a canvas pennants, crepe paper, and chipboard letters.

To the side, we had a fun photo booth set up for guests in front of the waterfall in the polar bear exhibit. We used some really fun props like this safari vehicle and safari animal standees. The guests had a great time posing with them!

When guests entered the exhibit, they were treated to two large buffets of savory food, along with a beautiful dessert table. I used several different kinds of natural garlands, including ivy vines, boxwood, and pothos hanging above the dessert table to give it an extra jungle feeling. The dessert table was a treat for the eyes, with yummy themed desserts like jungle vine (apple licorice), gummy bananas, mini banana pudding shots, and zebra brownies, all topped off with this amazing cake! To surround the main dessert tale, I used this grass skirting for texture. And these fun Styrofoam letters were customized with little Aditya’s name by adding zebra print wrapping paper.

For the guest tables inside the exhibit, I chose green and orange linens and topped them with simple runners made from animal print gossamer in tiger, zebra, and leopard print. Gossamer is a super easy way to bring a fun pop of print or color into your party and Shindigz carries it in a ton of different colors and patterns! For the guest table centerpieces, I used simple glass cylinders filled with animal crackers and two big faux palm leaves. It was simple and elegant! On the kids tables, we did a simpler small galvanized box of faux grass, surrounded by these cute little animal figurines. The kids snapped those up quickly!

Inside the exhibit, guests were treated to two adorable live penguins and their handlers, as well as a sea lion show and a polar bear feeding! What an amazing thing for your guests to experience at a party! They all had a WILD time!

Photography: GreyGrey Designs
Photobooth: Photobooth Bling
Printable Tent Cards: Dimple Prints
Cake: Oh My Ganache Bakery
Venue: Memphis Zoo