Let’s be honest, first birthday parties are more for the parents than the guest of honor- who is too small to remember any of it. First birthdays range from elaborate celebrations to intimate family dinners. We did both for our nephew, Dylan. Picking out the theme for his party was a piece of cake! His nursery was decorated with safari elements and his monthly birthday stickers featured various safari animals.
We set up a large tent in our sister’s yard. We found an adorable bamboo welcome sign and customizable giraffe sign from Oriental Trading. We had fun renaming the key locations with safari lingo: Safari Base Camp, Lions Den, Watering Hole. We created a Happy Birthday Dylan banner from colorful Safari cardstock. We have a “no shoes” policy in our family – so we put up a funny sign that said “no shoes, paws only” on the front door and used paw prints to direct guests to the restroom. The water bottles featured various safari animals. We wrapped safari tags around the napkins to enclose the cutlery.
We selected kiwi green, carribean blue and sunshine yellow as our color palette. Jonathan’s Balloons created beautiful boutiques that combined latex ballons with a Mylar safari animal. Unfortunately, it was so windy that day that we had to wrap the boutiques around the tent poles instead of using them as table centerpieces. Luckily we also had adorable inflatable safari animals and used those as replacement centerpieces. We printed a large poster of the birthday boy and placed it by the gift table.
Our caterer, Claire Lobello, created a delicious menu inspired by the safari theme.
Appetizers: Fig, Blue Cheesy Cheetah and Prosciutto Flatbread, Crab and Avocado Cups, Hungry Hippo Pesto Bruschetta and Flaming Flamingo Feta, Eggplant Zucchini Bruschetta
Lunch: Cheetah Honey Lime Chicken Skewers, In the Lion’s Den Lamb Sliders, “Tiger” Prawn with Garlic and Lemon, Jungle Vines Salad and Sundried Tanzania Tomato Pesto Pasta
Dessert: Elaborate dessert tables are very popular today. They can add both interest and decor to a party. The key to a beautiful dessert table is:
-Varying the height of platters and desserts
-Using a variety of foods with different colors, flavors and textures
-Adding decorative items: flowers, seasonal items and/or stuffed animals
-Keeping the display tight
We had so much fun creating the safari themed dessert bar. It was a joint effort between us, our caterer and our favorite bakery.
Sugar cookies naturally lend themselves well to themes. We found cute safari cookie cutters on Amazon and baked “sugar cookies from the Serengeti” in the shape of giraffes, zebras, elephants, monkeys and lions. We also created chocolate covered tiger berries and marshmallow leopard pops.
Our caterer made delicious monkey banana bread, zebra brownies and passion fruit mousse. She also carved a turtle out of a watermelon, which was filled with fresh fruit.
The star of the dessert table was the beautiful three-tier mousse cake created by Mother Mousse. Their amazing cakes are light and moist and have just a thin layer of fondant. They decorated the cake with an adorable fondant lion, monkey, zebra, elephant and giraffe. Dylan also got his very own smash cupcake.
We placed the chocolate lollipop favors on the dessert table. Hannah Sweet Chocolate Dreams created adorable lollipops that featured the number one and and a safari animal. We used large Melissa and Doug stuffed animals to complete the safari display.
The inflatable animals were also excellent props for pictures and the kids got to take them home in addition to their chocolate safari lollipops. Favors for the infants were stuffed animals.
This special little boy had another party on his actual birthday. The intimate family celebration began with opening presents and concluded with Baked By Archana’s delicious blue velvet safari cake. The cake was decorated with green cream cheese frosting, Wilton safari cake toppers, tall pretzel trees and a watering hole.
“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.” –– Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
Shop This Party
Invitation: Tiny Prints
Giraffe Sign: Oriental Trading
Styrofoam Cone: Michaels
Safari Cardstock: Michaels
Balloons: Jonathan’s Balloons
Napkins: Party City
Buffet: Claire Lobello
Cake: Mother Mousse
Chocolate Lollipops: Hannah Sweet Chocolate Dreams
Stuffed Animals: Dollar Store
Other Products Used:
This site uses referral links. Read our disclosure policy for more information.