Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



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2013 Gin-GRR-bread Habitat Contest

Three Grand Prize Winners will receive an exclusive, keeper-led tour of Great Cats for 10 guests.

Entry Fee

There is a $20 non-refundable entry fee for this competition.

Participant Categories

The competition is open to all ages. The participant categories are:

  • Family or Youth Team: Teams with children ages 17 and under. Teams must amount to a minimum of 2 participants, but are not to exceed 5 participants. Teams may be comprised entirely of youth, or of adults and youth.
  • Adult Team: Teams of participants ages 18 and over. Teams must amount to a minimum of 2 participants, but are not to exceed 5 participants.
  • Adult Individual: Adults ages 18 or over who are working alone.


  • Only one entry per person, team, or household will be accepted.
  • Entry must be original - no gingerbread kits allowed. All entries must be solely constructed by the individual or group entering the competition. Adults in the Family or Youth Team competitors should provide ample assistance with operating the oven and/or stovetop.
  • With the exception of two ½” strips of undecorated edges on the base, all visible surfaces must be made of edible items.
  • Entries must have the individual or team captain’s name and entry number on the underside of the base.
  • Entries must include a typed half-page description with the gingerbread habitat. Include any unique features about the habitat and the materials used in the construction process. The top of the sheet should have the title of your gingerbread habitat and the entry number. Please DO NOT include your name in the description of your gingerbread habitat.

Materials, Design, and Construction

  • The entry must be delivered in completed form attached to a sturdy base, such as ½” or ¾” plywood, enabling it to be freestanding. Bases shall be no bigger than 15” L x 12” W. Entries may not be taller than 14” H. Bases must have a ½” of undecorated surface on two opposing edges so that the habitat can be easily picked up and moved. You may color the edges with paint, markers, etc. to match the theme of your habitat surface.
  • With the exception of two ½” strips of undecorated opposing edges, ALL visible surfaces must be edible. You must use a sturdy non-edible base, and may use internal support framing and structures. Edible materials are not limited to sweets. “Edible” materials include candies, nuts, cereal, cookies, crackers, pasta and any other food item that does not include a wrapper, stick or other non-edible material.
  • Habitats may be treated with clear, preservative shellac. FONZ staff reserves the right to discard, at any time, any habitat in decay or disrepair.
  • Entries must have the individual or team captain’s name and entry number on the underside of the base.


Grand Prize

FONZ will award one Grand Prize to each category winning individual or team: An exclusive keeper-led behind the scenes tour of Great Cats for 10 guests. Children under the age of six must hold the hand of a chaperone for the duration of the tour. Toddlers and infants must be held in the arms of a chaperone for the duration of the tour. Strollers will not be permitted behind the scenes. Wheelchairs are permitted behind the scenes, with the understanding that access may be restricted due to the design of the space. Service dogs are not permitted behind the scenes. Guests will not come into direct contact with animals during the tour.

Prize winners will be notified by email. Tours will be scheduled by the individual or team captain after notification of winning. At least one adult chaperone must be present for the entire tour.

Honorable Mention

FONZ will award one Honorable Mention prize to each category runner-up. Honorable Mention winners will be notified by email.

Judging Processes and Criteria

Select Staff of Smithsonian’s National Zoo, as well as distinguished guests of the community, will judge this competition. Entries will be judged based upon overall appearance, originality and creativity, and consistency of theme (Theme of the competition is “Stalking in a ZooLights Wonderland”)

Winners will be notified and prizes awarded by email by Friday, December 6, 2013. All rulings by the judges are final.

Entry Intake, Display Information, and Entry Pick-Up

Completed entries must be delivered to The National Zoo’s Visitor Center Auditorium between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 23 or the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 24, 2013. The National Zoo’s address is 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington DC 20008.

The Auditorium is located within the Visitor Center near Connecticut Avenue; closest parking is in Lot A. Vehicles will be allowed thirty minutes for unloading entries. Entrants are responsible for the full transportation of their habitats from your vehicle to the Visitor Center Auditorium. Carts will not be available for transporting gingerbread habitats. National Zoo and Friends of the National Zoo staff are not permitted to assist in the transportation of any gingerbread habitat entry.

Entries will be on display at the Visitor Center Auditorium beginning Friday, November 29, 2013 and ending Wednesday, January 1, 2014. Unless participants make arrangements with the competition coordinator, habitats will be discarded on Thursday, January 2, 2014.

Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) reserve the right to photograph entries for promotional purposes.