Giraffe Feeding Birthday Party

July 23, 2011

To kick off our Real Parties theme, I thought I’d feature one of my personal parties.  My older daughter turned 10 this year, and in celebration, we hosted a private giraffe feeding at the zoo.  The party had all the expected goodies, but most importantly, each child got hands-on time feeding a giraffe.

1.  The Invitation

The invitation was custom (of course…it was for my daughter!), but Swanky Press does custom invitations all the time, and at no extra charge.  I based this design on our Gumball Party with chevron stripes, which is available at Swanky Press and at our Etsy Shop.

2.  The Giraffe Feeding

I’m not sure I can adequately describe how amazing the giraffe feeding was.  When you are standing next to them, they really are so much bigger than you’d expect.  Even as an adult, the experience was daunting.

The feeding took place at the Memphis Zoo.  The giraffes were named Kofi, Abu, Mona, Glenda, and Zuri.  We were greeting by a giraffe handler named Richard Meeks, and he was simply a joy.  He gave the most educational information, but in a way that was fun for the kids (ages 4 to 10) to absorb.  After we learned how and why the giraffes would behave in certain ways, he led us back to feed them.  We were given buckets of bananas (“giraffe candy”) and the minute the buckets came out the giraffes swarmed us.

After petting and feeding the giraffes, Mr. Meeks told the kids that anyone brave enough could put a banana in their mouth and let the giraffes take it.  Most of the party goers had no interest in feeding the giraffes this way, but I think all of my family members (except the youngest) gave it a shot.  The photo in picture #2 is the birthday girl feeding the baby giraffe, Kofi, with a banana in her mouth.

3.  The Shirt

The birthday girl’s Aunt Sydney surprised her with a handmade, appliqued shirt designed to match the entire party.    It was the perfect touch, and couldn’t have been cuter!

4.  The Cake

The cake was a two tier creation by The Busy Bakery in Bartlett, Tennessee.  I have used them for about 10 parties over the past few years, and they consistently provide creative, delicious, affordable cakes and cookies.

5. The Decor

We used brown and yellow dots throughout the party decor.  Bowls of whoppers, lemon heads, and, of course, animal crackers, were featured.

6. The Party Favor

While at the zoo, it was Dad’s job to get a photograph of each child during their interaction with the giraffes.  As soon as the feeding was over, we edited and printed the photos, and put them in frames while the kids were busy playing.  When the kids finished their lunch, the dessert buffet was decorated with a framed picture of each child interacting with a giraffe.  Having a quality, framed photo to take home from this kind of event was the perfect party favor.

Bonus:  Animal Adoption

In lieu of gifts, the birthday girl picked three endangered species.  She wrote a paragraph describing why each needed protection, and these narratives were placed on large glass jars along with a photo of the endangered species.  Each child in attendance got to “vote” on which needed help most by dropping their name into one of the glass jars.  At the end of the party, all the children adopted the winning species, a tiger, through the World Wildlife Fund.

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