Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



FONZ Birthday Parties

Celebrate your child's birthday party at the National Zoo and support the Zoo's conservation and education efforts.

Your child and your child's friends will have an unforgettable day as they put on their safari hats and join our expert tour guides to explore the Zoo! Birthday parties are two hours long and are for children ages four to eight.

Register Now!Register now for birthday parties!

Birthday parties are very popular, and dates often book up several months in advance.

A FONZ Birthday Party includes:

  • A choice between three indoor festive party rooms: the Rainforest Room, Otter's Den, or the Bear's Lair. You are welcome to add personalized banners or extra decorations that can be hung with removable tape. (Sorry, no balloons are allowed at the Zoo and our party rooms cannot accommodate piñatas.)
  • An engaging walking tour of selected Zoo exhibits led by FONZ staff. The Zoo tour will be fun and educational for all party-goers. Tours are rain or shine, so please ensure that children dress appropriately.
  • A Zoo-themed goody bag of party favors for each child, including a safari hat to take home.
  • A special birthday gift related to the tour you choose, including a plush animal and a photo.
  • All the table setting items such as tablecloths, napkins, plates, and forks.
  • Snacks include juice, goldfish crackers, and ice cream. You are welcome to bring additional food including birthday cake or cupcakes.

Tours and Party Rooms

Our staff will provide an engaging tour, though there is never direct contact with the animals or behind-the-scenes views of animal exhibits. Our program coordinator will contact you close to your party date regarding tour selection.

Tour options depend on the location of your party room.

Rainforest Room

Location: Amazonia
Maximum Capacity: 16
Tour Options:

  • Rocking Rainforest: Amazonia Rainforest and the Science Gallery
  • Swinging Safari: Great Cat exhibit (lions and tigers) and the Great Ape House (gorillas and orangutans)
  • American Trail: Sea lions, seals, beavers, ravens, river otters, wolves, and bald eagles

Otter's Den

Location: Visitor Center
Maximum Capacity: 20
Tour Options:

  • Asia Trail: Giant pandas, red pandas, Asian small-clawed otters, clouded leopards, fishing cats, and sloth bears.
  • How Do You Zoo, our interactive play space where children can learn about and try out different Zoo careers, may be an option depending on availability.

Bear's Lair

Location: Visitor Center
Maximum Capacity: 20
Tour Options:

  • Asia Trail: Giant pandas, red pandas, Asian small-clawed otters, clouded leopards, fishing cats, and sloth bears.
  • How Do You Zoo, our interactive play space where children can learn about and try out different Zoo careers, may be an option depending on availability.


Parties are held Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon, subject to availability. The party starts with games in the party room, followed by the Zoo tour, then guests return to the party room for dessert and goody bags.

Reserving a Party

The opportunity to hold a FONZ Birthday Party is a benefit provided to all FONZ members. Parties are for children turning ages four to eight, and for a maximum of 16 to 20 children, depending on the party room. Your hosts will help ensure that the party runs smoothly but cannot be responsible for child discipline. Please be sure that at least two adults attend the party to properly chaperone the children.

Become a FONZ member.

Parties are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis and require an initial payment of $400, which covers up to ten children, including the birthday child. Dates cannot be held without this initial payment. Additional children may be added later (up to 16 or 20, depending on the room reserved) at $20 per child. You will receive an email from the FONZ Programs Department staff the week before your party to confirm the number of children attending and tour selection.

Cancellation and Transfer Policies

Cancellation requests received at least four weeks prior to the start of the birthday party date will receive a 75-percent refund. A request for a rescheduled date must also be made at least four weeks prior to the original date and will incur a 10-percent administrative fee. Please email the FONZ Education Programs Office with cancellation and transfer requests. No refunds or changes will be made for less than four weeks' notice.

Additional Options

  • We are now offering a new Birthday Safari menu including a bagel platter ($25, serves 12), cheese and pepperoni pizzas ($30, 8 slices), all natural chicken tenders ($35, serves 10), pretzel dog platter ($38.50, serves 10), Bird Friendly® coffee ,($20, serves 12), and a variety of cupcakes ($3.50 each)!
  • Make this party one your child will never forget with our new Party Animal t-shirts! $20 each. Children's sizes S, M, L.
  • Zoo party invitations measuring 5” X 7” are available in packs of ten for $15 each. Envelopes are included.
  • Birthday Party Invitation

  • Keep the party going with an extra hour of fun from 12 – 1 p.m! Bear’s Lair and Otter’s Den parties will explore our How Do You Zoo? exhibit (please note there are no live animals). Additional hour from 12 – 1 p.m. costs $125.

Frequently Asked Questions

My child is turning three. Can we still have a birthday party at the Zoo?

FONZ birthday parties are geared toward children ages four to eight. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate children under four.

Can children under age four attend the party as guests?

Young children may attend the party. If they receive a goody bag, snack, and hat, they count as paid guests. more

I have reserved a party. When do I need to make my tour selection?

You will receive an email the week before your party requesting and confirming the final party information, including the tour selection.

I don't know the total number of guests. Can I add more later?

Yes, you can add more guests after you reserve a party by sending us an email or calling us. Contact information is listed on the bottom of the confirmation letter. The additional fee for guests will be charged to the same credit card you used to register unless you indicate otherwise.

How can I check availability?

Please email the Education Office for more information or to register.

I added my name to the wait list. When will I be notified if a spot becomes available?

A spot will become available if someone cancels a reservation. We will notify the first person on the wait list if that happens. Cancellations are very rare, so it is unlikely you will be contacted.

What if it rains or snows on the day of my party?

The Zoo rarely closes due to inclement weather (or any other reason). If the Zoo is open, your party will run as scheduled. There will be no refunds or date transfers because of inclement weather. If you prefer to stay inside, there are indoor activity options for each party location.

May I bring additional food?

Yes, but please let us know so we can prepare accordingly.

When can I arrive at the party room?

Please do not arrive more than 15 minutes before your party.

Can I make last-minute changes?

Changes and additions are not accepted after the Wednesday prior to the party.

Can I ask another question?