2015 Gin-GRR-bread Habitat Competition

It's a Small, Small Mammal World!

The residents of the Small Mammal House at the Smithsonian's National Zoo may be petite, but they have big personalities. Frisky fennec foxes, mischievous meerkats, and playful porcupines are just a few residents of this furry and exciting exhibit! Let your imagination run wild as you design a winter wonderland based on the theme "It's a Small, Small Mammal World." The grand prize is an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Small Mammal House.

One entry per individual, group, or household. Electronic registration is required for this competition. There is a $25 nonrefundable fee to enter, paid by credit card during registration. Due to space limitations, FONZ will accept only 80 registrations. Registration closes at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 20, or after 80 registrations are received—whichever comes first.

It's a world of foxes and a world of cats,
It's a world of monkeys and a world of bats,
There's so much that they share that it's time you're aware,
It's a small, small mammal world!

The exhibits in the Small Mammal House have several levels of space for our animals to explore, vegetation, water features, enrichment objects, shelter, and sustenance – all of which keep our animals healthy and active.

Residents of the Small Mammal House include:

  • Agouti
  • Banded mongoose
  • Black-footed ferret
  • Brush tailed bettong
  • Chevrotain
  • Chinchilla
  • Degu
  • Dwarf mongoose
  • Fennec fox
  • Golden lion tamarin
  • Golden-headed lion tamarin
  • Malagasy jumping rat
  • Marmoset
  • Meerkat
  • Naked mole-rat
  • Prairie dog
  • Prehensile-tailed porcupine
  • Prevost's squirrel
  • Red-ruffed lemur
  • Saki monkey
  • Sand cat
  • Screaming hairy armadillo
  • Sloth
  • Short-eared elephant shrew
  • Striped skunk
  • Tamandua
  • Tenrec
  • Titi monkey
  • Three-banded armadillo

The competition is open to everyone regardless of age. One grand prize will be awarded in each of the following categories:

  • Family or Youth Team: Teams with 2-10 participants that include children ages 17 and under. Note: at least one adult must accompany the winning tour, please plan your team accordingly.
  • Adult Team: Teams with 2-10 participants, ages 18 and over.
  • Adult Individual: Adult age 18 and over, working alone.


Judges include staff of the Smithsonian's National Zoo as well as distinguished guests of the community. Entries will be judged based upon overall appearance, originality and creativity, and consistency of theme, "It's a Small, Small Mammal World."

Winners will be notified and prizes awarded by email by Friday, December 4, 2015.


Grand Prize: An exclusive, keeper-led, behind-the-scenes tour of the Small Mammal House limited to 10 guests and scheduled for a date and time mutually acceptable to the winner and Small Mammal House staff. At least one adult must accompany the tour. FONZ will award one Grand Prize for each category.

Honorable Mention: FONZ will award one Honorable Mention prize to each category runner-up.

  • Only one entry per team or individual will be accepted.
  • Entry must be original – gingerbread kits are not permitted. All entries must be solely constructed by the individual or group entering the competition.
  • All visible surfaces must be constructed with edible items.
  • Entry number and team name must be included on the underside of the entry.
  • Entries must include a typed half-page description. Include the title of your habitat, entry number, and any unique features about the habitat and the materials used in the construction process. Please DO NOT include your name/team name in the description of your gingerbread habitat.
  • Competitors will receive a Confirmation of Registration form including an entry number by email within two (2) business days of registering. You must bring this form with you when you deliver your entry.
  • The entry must be delivered in completed form attached to a sturdy base (1/2" or 3/4" plywood). Bases shall be no bigger than 15" L x 12" W. Bases must have a 1/2" of undecorated surface on two opposing edges so that the habitat can be easily transported. You may color the edges with paint, markers, etc. to match the theme of your habitat surface.
  • ALL visible surfaces must be edible with the exception of the base
  • 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 will be on display in the Visitor Center auditorium beginning Friday, November 27, 2015, and ending Sunday, January 3, 2016. Unless participants make prior arrangements, habitats will be discarded on Monday, January 4, 2016.

Completed entries must be delivered to the National Zoo's Visitor Center auditorium between the hours of 12:00 and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 21 or 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 22. The National Zoo's address is 3001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20008.

The auditorium is located within the Visitor Center near Connecticut Avenue; closest parking is in Lot A. Vehicles will be allowed 30 minutes for unloading entries. You are responsible for the full transportation of your habitat from your vehicle to the Visitor Center auditorium. Carts will not be available for transporting gingerbread habitats. Smithsonian's National Zoo staff are not permitted to assist in the transportation of any entry.

Friends of the National Zoo reserves the right to photograph entries for promotional purposes.


Thank you to our generous sponsors

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