Friday was a big day in my household as it was Shiloh’s 1st birthday! Sure, sure, ‘they won’t remember, what’s the big deal?’
I’ll remember. These are my memories too. Plus I think of it as practice for pulling off successful birthday’s when he is old enough for it to make an impression. So naturally, I was a little extra but not nearly as bad as IG influencers are. I didn’t drop $200 on a balloon arch for a 1 year-old or even cater. I did theme everything around my ol’ faithful safari theme (*note this was the theme of the baby shower and his nursery too*) and scratch make some gluten-free/vegan animal crackers complete with icing and sprinkles!
With his theme being ‘Wild One’ I thought it only made sense to make this a destination birthday to the Phoenix Zoo! So I enlisted one my closest friends, Shelby (#2 IYKYK) to make these invitations as seen below with some information redacted. Let me note that was just the start of the HUGE amount of help she was these past few days. A gem. A friend every mom actually should have because I don’t think I can have another children’s party without someone coming over childless to swap back and forth between prepwork and child entertainment as needed. *Children’s Party Assistant* THERE IS A MARKET FOR IT.
Thanks to a cake dilema, our zoo-day started off with a little anxiety on my end because I cannot stand being late, especially if I’m the person who coordinated it. Our initial plan, indicated on the invite was to meet out front. I ended up being about 20 minutes late with my car load so I had everyone else take their kids inside so the children didn’t get cranky. Didn’t want to start on a bad note! Turned out to not be a problem at all. The Phoenix Zoo has easy to locate landmarks and space at the front that make it easy to meet up with your party.
After a quick diaper change break, we were off as a party of 7 adults and 6 kiddos. It was nice to out number them. Getting people together from all walks of life is always interesting because everyone has to be introduced and feel out each other’s personalities, and for something like this you also have to throw your children into the mix. You never know how it’s going to go but after a couple minutes I could see it was an easy flow.
Once we found our stride we were able to cover way a lot of ground. An impressive amount for six kids under three. We started off with the cheetah’s… which blended in so well I thought we were actually at a turtle habitat for about 5 minutes. The adults and kids alike got better at finding the animals after warming up there.
I think there were some clear favorite areas of the zoo for kiddos. Really it came down to, is it an animal that’s active? If so, that’s where these kids wanted to engage with everyone.
On the flip side, parents liked the habitats that didn’t always have the most active animals but often would have these dirt areas with winding trees or paths the kids could climb on and explore their wiggles away! We get a breather while they get breathless without bothering anyone.
I can safely speak for the group when I say we all had a great day. I won’t lie, totally exhausting to be a parent at the zoo in general but it was the kind of tiring where you don’t notice till the end because you’re having fun. We ended our day at the park and all the parents kind of just melted on the concrete wall but it was so satisfying to know all those kids were going to knock-out in the car.
Why celebrating at the Phoenix Zoo for a young kid’s birthday is a great idea:
You can bring your own stuff(drinks/food/stroller/diaper bag etc.)
Accessible (via wide walkways/signage/bathrooms)
Good exercise for the kids
Outdoors is always a plus
Adults love animals too
Memories for all
For our little one’s birthday we didn’t do an official WILD party since he is one and we weren’t even sure he’d make it more than an hour but next time since he will be walking and talking I would absolutely do a real birthday booking. It just makes sense. You get the Ramada space, a party host, craft activity, cake + supplies, shirt for birthday child, carousel tickets and more for $350 GA. (members are discounted.) Learn more about event bookings HERE.
My pro tip for parents is to just go ahead and get the membership. I’m kicking myself for not doing it this time. With the young ones, you really aren’t going to do the zoo in a day, especially if you’re going to catch a show- which you SHOULD! The membership pays for itself if you take the family to go twice. Plus you get discounts on a bunch of stuff inside and discounted rates at other zoos. You can look into their different memberships by clicking HERE.
Everyone enjoyed their Friday at the Phoenix Zoo celebrating Shiloh and it made me feel like a good mom- not gonna lie! A win for all. Thank you, PHX Zoo for making my son’s first birthday one (at least mom & dad) will never forget! 😉