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Visitors: Please note that the Giant Panda House is closed until further notice while cub Bei Bei recovers from surgery. Mei Xiang, Tian Tian and Bao Bao are still visible in their outdoor yards. 

FONZ Birthday Parties

For Children
Turning Ages 4 - 8
  • lion carrying present
    Celebrate Your Child's Birthday Party at the Smithsonian's National Zoo!
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Celebrate your child's birthday party at the Smithsonian's 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 turning ages 4 to 8. Birthday parties at the Zoo are very popular, and dates often book up several months in advance.

Parties are held on 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.

Snow Glow parties are held on Fridays and Saturdays in December from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., 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.

How to Book a Party

The opportunity to hold a FONZ Birthday Party is a benefit provided to all FONZ members. Parties are for children turning ages 4 to 8, 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.

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 & Transfer Policies:

Cancellation requests received at least four weeks prior to the start of the birthday party date will receive a 75% 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% administrative fee. Please contact the Education Programs Office or call 202-633-3024 with cancellation and transfer requests. No refunds or changes will be made for less than four weeks' notice.

FONZ Parties include:

  • 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 gift for the birthday child 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.

FONZ staff will provide an engaging tour, though there is never direct contact with the animals or behind-the-scenes views of animal exhibits. A 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 Children
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 Children
Tour Options:

  • Asia Trail: Giant pandas, red pandas, Asian small-clawed otters, clouded leopards, fishing cats, and sloth bears.
  • How Do You Zoo?: 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 Children
Tour Options:

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

Snow Glow Birthday Parties – Back by Popular Demand!

Join the party animals for a winter wonderland birthday during ZooLights at the Smithsonian's National Zoo! "Cele-bright" and explore the Zoo with expert tour guides. Snow Glow Birthday Parties are available during ZooLights on Fridays and Saturdays in December from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Parties are available only for children turning 6-10 years old. Space is limited, so reserve now before the lights go out!

*Due to the nature of Snow Glow parties, we will not be able to tour Asia Trail.

Location: Visitor Center – Bear's Lair or Otter’s Den
Maximum Capacity: 20
Tour Options:

  • Small Mammal House: Naked mole-rats, striped skunks, golden lion tamarins, lemurs, elephant shrews and more.
  • How Do You Zoo?: Interactive play space where children can learn about and try out different Zoo careers (may be an option depending on availability).

Parties are held on 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.

Snow Glow parties are held on Fridays and Saturdays in December from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., 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.

The opportunity to hold a FONZ Birthday Party is a benefit provided to all FONZ members. Parties are for children turning ages 4 to 8, 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.

Extra Hour

Keep the party going with an extra hour of fun from noon–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 noon – 1 p.m. costs $125.

Birthday Safari Menu 

  • Cheese and pepperoni pizzas: $30 | 8 slices
  • Bagel platter: $25 | Serves 12
  • All-natural chicken tenders: $35, serves 10
  • Pretzel dog platter: $38.50 | serves 10
  • Bird Friendly® coffee  $20 | serves 12
  • Cupcakes (variety): $3.50 each

Party Animal T-Shirts

Make this party one your child will never forget with Party Animal t-shirts! $20 each. Children's sizes S, M, L.

Zoo-themed Invitations

Zoo party invitations measure 5” x 7” are available in packs of ten for $15 each. Envelopes are included.