Birthday Party Ideas Cool Stuff Parenting

Ultra Cool Birthday Party: Zoo Sleepover

Most parents try to plan a unique birthday party for their child. Some hire a reptile adventurist, clowns or their child’s favourite character.

Cookie Magazine has an article about the coolest birthday party idea EVER…A Zoo Sleepover.

The San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, one of dozens of zoological parks around the globe that host sleepover programs for kids and parents, offers a camp out atmosphere with tents, sleeping bags and a baby giraffe nibbling on acacia leaves. The morning is spent enjoying pancakes around the campfire recounting the previous evening’s exciting encounters.

Zoo sleepovers typically result in close encounters of the animal kind that are impossible during normal daylight visits like cuddling koalas, hand-feeding rare white rhinos, and running their hands down the backs of some of the world’s biggest snakes. Rates range from $89 per child during the winter months to $209 per adult during the summer high season, and the price includes dinner, breakfast, snacks, and beverages.

At facilities like the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, you can bunk on the floor of the manatee aquarium or the Harold C. Schott Education Center with your own sleeping bag and pillow during a behind-the-scenes Nocturnal Adventure (available January to November, $35 per person). In most cases, parents are required to stay with their kids overnight.Bunk with the Beasts Overnight Adventures at the

Denver Zoo is one of the few that also has kid-only programs, where children ages 7 to 12 can leave Mom and Dad behind. Regular zoo educators (one keeper for every eight kids) look after the human youngsters, leading them on a behind-the-scenes tour and supplying them with dinner and breakfast (available year-round, $60 per child). Some zoos require society membership to participate in overnights, as with the Snore & Roar sleepover at the

Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., where overnight visitors sleep in four-person tents pitched on the zoo’s Lion/Tiger Hill (available June to September, $45 per person; the required membership costs $40 a year for anyone not already signed up).

More U.S. zoos with sleepover programs:

I think you would be officially the coolest parent around if you arranged a zoo sleepover for your child’s birthday. With some of the prices being $35 and up per child, you may have to save for a while to make it happen.


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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