My animal-loving daughter turned 9 last weekend, so we celebrated with a Jungle Safari birthday party! All sorts of different animals showed up to help decorate, but Tigers are her #1 favorite, so they got some special attention. ;)
Let’s Have Some WILD Fun!
My natural instinct with animal parties (or “party animals”) is to bring in bright colors – like on this Wacky & Wild Animal Party from a while back. However, I’m so glad Macy requested “real” animal and jungle colors this time, because I love how this one turned out! I mixed the animal prints with artsy textures (paint strokes, marble, metallics) and bold black & white accents for a vibe that felt fresh and FIERCELY fun (pun intended).
The artsy looking paper plates from Harlow & Grey were a big part of my initial inspiration for the general look of this party. (And how cool is their octagon shape?!) I paired the plates with (disposable) gold forks and an eclectic mix of napkins. I also designed the Jungle Safari printables with this style in mind.
There are lots of fun details to share… and most of them are surprisingly simple! For example, our “Sparkling Swamp Cooler” is simply lemon-lime soda mixed with lemonade and a few drops of food coloring. (You can also add or swap green Hawaiian Punch for the lemonade, but since our party was the day before St. Patrick’s Day, there wasn’t a jug of green juice to be found at any of the stores I went to!)
Read on for more fun & totally “doable” ideas like this! I know this post is pretty long due to all the images (and I tried to edit them down as much as I could!) – so I’m going to be pretty brief with the descriptions. If you have any questions on where to find things, how to make things, etc – please feel free to ask away in the comments. :)
Party Animals Welcome Here
A themed door sign + giant cardboard lion (donning a party hat made from patterned paper!) greeted guests at the door. All of my animal cutouts were purchased on Amazon. I also borrowed these cute ROAR letters from a friend that had purchased them for a dinosaur party. ;)
A Ferociously FUN Fireplace
You see our fireplace right when you walk in the door, so it’s always a great place to play up the party theme. The black and white giraffe print usually hangs in my office. Tip – I love “borrowing” things from yourself as party decor because it’s one less thing to buy! The cute hand-lettered balloons on the mantle are by Rad & Happy. Giant zebra and “Let’s Get Wild” banner are both from Amazon.
This centerpiece is another one of those “simple things” that just makes me soooooo happy, because it’s super easy, yet still feels creative and unique. To recreate this look, use a funnel to pour thin layers of black and white sand in glass jars… and voila! Instant “zebra themed” centerpiece:
Note – you could also do this idea with orange and black for tiger stripes!
Gold Dipped Animals
Even though Macy wanted “real animal prints and colors” she loved the idea of embellishing the plastic animals with some gold. I used spray paint to give them a quick paint-dipped look. It’s an easy way to “dress them up” for the party. ;)
Table Linens & Textures
The black and white “table cloth” pictured above is actually a fabric shower curtain! This is one of my favorite ways to get a large amount of fabric for a less expensive price. You can use them as entire tablecloths on smaller tables, or cut them into strips to serve as table runners on multiple tables. (I often use them for photo booth backdrops as well!)
Our everyday dining room table has a wood top, so it already worked great with the theme. I added some burlap and faux leaves down the center for extra texture and color.
I was told that this table looked “fancy” a few times… but if you look at it closely, it’s actually pretty simple and inexpensive! Paper plates, napkins and utensils + toy animals and leaves. The centerpiece planter is again part of our everyday decor, and was purchased a while back at Marshalls. Printable signs helped tie in the theme. :)
DIY Pool Noodle Jungle Vine
This was one of my FAVORITE details from the party, and of course I forgot to take a good full picture of it at the party! *sigh* (I did snap the below-right pic on my phone right when it was finished though.) This is a standard pool noodle turned into a jungle vine! Well, it’s actually 1.3 pool noodles to be exact. The noodles were wrapped in green duct tape, then embellished with tissue fringe and faux leaves.
I slid the “vine” onto the center of our counter top paper towel holder to make it stand up. You can find countertop paper towel holders for as little as $5 at places like HomeGoods and Marshalls. The top of the “vine” was flush with the ceiling and looked like it could possibly be growing through it. This would be a great accent for a photo booth too!
“Sugar Safari” (Jungle Safari Treats)
I designed an 18×24″ happy birthday poster and attached it to a blank artist canvas to make it sturdy. Green party fringe and faux leaves were used to create a jungle-y border all the way around. The poster was displayed above a skinny table filled with wild animal inspired treats…
How cute are these “Happy Hippo” cookie biscuits?! I used them a while back for a Rainbow Safari Party and couldn’t resist creating some sort of “muddy river” for them this time!
Gummy candy is always a hit with the kids, but these banana marshmallows were ESPECIALLY YUMMY! I bought a giant bag of them, so there’s a bunch left over, and I can’t seem to stop eating them myself. :0
“Surprise Inside” Jungle Tiger Cake
Another one of Macy’s requests was a tiger cake. We thought it would be fun to go with a cake that looked more minimalist looking on the outside with a BIG SURPRISE on the inside!
The cake was created by Jess of King Alfred’s Bakery. She absolutely nailed the tiger stripes, don’t you think?! It was also super delicious… she puts some sort of almond flavoring in her buttercream!
Activity #1 – Make an Animal Necklace (or Keychain)
More detail about this activity is coming in a separate post, but here’s sneak peek for now…
Activity #2 – Guess How Many
This is more of an ice breaker game than an “activity”, but it was super funny to hear the guesses. Most of them were WAY, way, way off! 😂
Activity #3 – Design a Wild Animal
This craft was the one I was MOST excited about, but I definitely experienced some hiccups with it (prior to the party). Scroll down for details…
For this craft, I had bought and spray painted a bunch of plastic toy tigers white, and the plan was to have the kids decorate them with paint pens. However… the white spray paint would. not. dry. 😫 It was super frustrating (and sticky!), especially in a time crunch. Luckily, I had a lot of unpainted animals leftover from the regular decor, so they decorated those instead. The paint pens didn’t have the same sort of impact that they would on plain white, but hey… they didn’t really seem to mind. ;) I’m still determined to figure out how to make the original idea work in the future, too!
Amazing Animal World
And now for the highlight of the party… and also the point in which I could actually just sit down and enjoy the party myself! 🙌
Ashley from Amazing Animal World came and entertained the kids with lots of cool (and some creepy!) creatures + a very fun personality that kept them laughing.
One of the biggest hits was a darling green bird – “Nala – that laid on her back while being held… kind of like she was sunbathing! There were also a whole slew of reptiles and amphibians, a large snake, and a ginormous “Vinegaroon” that’s a mix of scorpion, cockroach, and spider. Almost all of the kids still held it! Here’s a small sampling of all the fun creatures…
All in all……….. I’d say we had some WILD FUN!
P.S. If you’re wondering about that giant lizard looking creature (pictured above and also with Macy in the very first image) – that’s called a Tegu. Apparently they can grow up to 4.5 feet! FYI in case you’re in the market for a new pet. ;)