two at the zoo

On New Year’s Day, we celebrated Hayden’s second birthday with some of her favorite things: elephants, giraffes, zebras, and tigers. It was Two at the Zoo!

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Ever since a very young age, Hayden has been an animal lover. When she was about one year old, she developed this crazy affinity for elephants. One of her first words was “El” which morphed into “Ela” and then “Ele-Faant!” About six months ago, I decided that her birthday would be zoo-themed. Knowing I would have a one-month-old at the time of the party, I knew I had to keep it simple (especially in comparison to last year’s DIY Hot Air Balloon party). Once I found this darling party package from Land of Nod, inspiration and planning began!

second birthday, zoo themed, animals, polka dots

kid party, zoo party, second birthday, diy party, ombre cake, animals

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Decor

The decor consisted of cute zoo animals and polka dots. Hayden already had tons of plastic animals that I knew would make an appearance, but for a few other decorative touches I purchased the Animal Parade Garland, Toot Sweet Party Table Cloth, and this felt garland in three colors from Land of Nod. Typically I would’ve hand made all of the decorations, but I knew with a new baby and Christmas that was out of the question! I was happy to find those cute decorations that can be re-used to decorate Hayden’s room (or used at another party, woot!). Plus I benefited from the holiday promos with a 20% off plus free shipping coupon.

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I designed the background poster and some signs to match the invitation and tie everything together:

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And found some wrapping paper from Target to act as a table runner for the kid table, along with the plastic animal party favors:

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The animals on her cake were from Toys R Us and were a purposeful Christmas stocking stuffer from mama. I love how sturdy and realistic they are; I’m sure she’ll have them for a long time.

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I borrowed the crates from a friend, received the cupcake stand as a hand-me-down, and the cake stand was from Home Goods.

Food

The biggest example of keeping things simple was just ordering a bunch of pizzas :). For the adults we also had a few salad options too. For the kids we had zoo animal PBJ sandwiches, fruit kabobs, juice boxes, animal crackers, and Skittles.

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Here are some of the guests munching:

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I wanted to make the same yummy cake recipe as last year’s rainbow cake, but went for a much simpler ómbre version.

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And there were cupcakes for the little ones:

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Activities

We had the party at a friend’s lovely home that had plenty of outdoor toys to entertain the little ones, like a playhouse, slide, wagon, and much more. I also set up a play tent that Hayden received as a birthday/Christmas present from my aunt and had an animal mini golf set. There was also a “petting zoo” with large stuffed animals, and remote control moving animals for the kids to interact with.

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The party was a total success and Hayden had a blast. It was a special time with some of our favorite friends who showed up to help us celebrate, including both sets of grandparents.

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Blowing out her candle:

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This year was the first time she got the idea of opening presents. I think it’s so cute how this is a highlight for the other kids to watch.

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Our family:

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It’s fun to compare to last year:

First Birthday, birthday cake, rainbow birthday

And little Hadley was a good sport while we celebrated her sister. Here she is with future BFF, Abby.

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It’s crazy to think that next year there will be two December birthdays to celebrate in our family! Good thing I love planning little girl parties 🙂

Vendors/Sources:

  • Invitation and printables: soon to be in my Etsy Shop
  • Planning, party supply items, and photography: Marigold Mom
  • Decor: Land of Nod
  • Animal clip art: The Ink Nest
  • Plates, napkins, plastic tablecloth: Party City
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