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Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo

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FONZ Birthday Parties

Have 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, equipped with safari hats and expert tour guides, will explore the Zoo for an unforgettable day. Birthday parties are two hours long and are for children ages four to eight.

Register now for 2014 birthday parties!

NEW! Night Owl Overnight Birthday Parties

Come spend a wild winter night celebrating your child’s birthday at the National Zoo! After an evening of science experiments and activities, enjoy a bedtime snack before hibernating indoors. Have a light breakfast and then head out on a sunrise tour of the zoo with your Night Owl Overnight Host. Night Owl Overnight birthday parties are for children 6-12 years old. Available Saturday evenings from January through March.

More information
Register now!

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. Tours are rain or shine, the Zoo tour will be fun and educational for all party-goers. 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 interctive play space where children can learn about and try out different Zoo careers, may be an option depending on availability.

Time

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 of 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 $375, 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. Transfer requests received at least four weeks prior to the birthday party date will be charged a 10-percent administrative fee. A request for a rescheduled date must also be made at least four weeks prior to the scheduled date. We will accommodate your request if a satisfactory date is available. 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.

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 XS, 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

Become a FONZ member.

For more information, see answers to frequently asked questions. Birthday parties are very popular, and dates often book up several months in advance.