Idea No.


Safari in the Backyard (1-6yr) Camel Rides



December 2001


Wendi in Sugar Land, TX  USA

Special Mention

Safari Party

Backyard Birthday Party Safari Tours, Camel Back  As soon as guests arrived, they were able to climb aboard and take an exciting Safari tour atop a live camel around our very large backyard. The camel's name was Patrick.  Very sweet, giving kisses to anyone who'd get close enough to accept his gracious offer.   This made for GREAT Kodak moments.  Patrick was 7 ft. tall and 1500 lbs.  (Patrick was found and rented for one hour, by calling around to local traveling petting zoos in the Kid’s Directory.)   Riders went on their tour 3 or 4 riders at a time allowing for multiple rides if desired.  Many adults rode with their small children as well.  The birthday boy loved it so much he went on no less than 4 trips with various party guests. 

The party had 24 children attending, ages ranging from 1 to 6.  After climbing up, each rider was given safari gear including a straw pith helmet, a pair of toy binoculars and a "mini" camera on a string, to use for photographing the animals they'd see while on the safari tour.  The viewfinder actually had pictures of the animals when you looked inside!  (90% of the party supplies including the decorations, tableware:  plates, cups, napkins, invitations, tablecloths, banners, gear, prizes, goodies, even the safari animals, were all purchased from Oriental Trading Co. allowing EVERYTHING to co-ordinate beautifully!)

After blowing up a dozen inflatable elephants, tigers, monkeys, zebras, giraffes, and lions, they were hung in and under the trees and peering out from behind the bushes.  These were used as the animals on safari.  The safari gear" made for the little extras that made it an extra special party.    The camel took the guests on their safari around the backyard through the trees, stopping to munch the leaves on occasion, and around the gazebo on each tour. 

The ambiance of the gazebo turned out better than hoped for.  To set the scene on the gazebo, continuing with the safari theme, an animal print rug from the upstairs game room was moved outside to the floor of the gazebo, as well as the huge tropical tree.  A leopard print blanket was tied at the corners with jute and hung cock-eyed behind the park bench inside the gazebo.  Two large stuffed tigers and several 8 ft. artificial green vines were added to jungle up the place.  This all made for a great backdrop with a seating area for the Birthday boy, also allowing the gift giver to assist the 2 year old birthday boy in unwrapping their gift.  It worked equally as well as the backdrop for photographs.  

The main event seemed to be a big hit, but also going on was a Jungle Boogie "cake walk" style game that took place in the gazebo while guests waited for their camel ride, a tiger tail ring toss game with plastic animal head safari finger rings as prizes, and a ball pit tent with plastic safari animals hidden in the balls for a "safari dig".  (Sandbox sand was unavailable, considered a seasonal item, or they could have dug in the sandbox instead.)  Watching other riders, horseshoes, waffle ball and a swing set took care of wait time for most.   

Another important detail had to be the animal print balloons with various leopard, tiger, and zebra prints.  The family filled them up just prior to the party starting, using a helium tank purchased at Party City.  They were then tied up with curly ribbon and on the end of each ribbon plastic safari animal head charms were tied on and used as weights to hold them down.  The balloons were placed all around the back porch and around the gazebo for that extra little party touch.  The stereo speakers were set outside through the windows and played Disney’s Jungle Boogie CD topping off the mood for the atmosphere.  The snack table was filled with chips and dip, iced cookies, animal crackers and goody bags. 

The goody bags were made by stamping camels all over plain brown lunch sacks, using a rubber camel stamp with dark brown stamp pad.   Each then were filled with a Hot Wheels type cast iron animal print Safari jeep, a labeled bottle of "jungle bubbles", and candy.  The tops of the bags were folded down twice, punched twice with a hole punch about an inch apart, and tied together with the stick from a lollipop which had a safari animal face printed on the wrapper. 

The safari cake made the invitation cover come to life.  It was exceptionally adorable, and made by a close friend from scratch.  Each child was sent home with a pith hat, a pair of toy binoculars, a mini camera, an animal print balloon, a goody bag filled with their safari stuff and a wonderful memory of having ridden a live camel while on a backyard safari tour.  

Photographs taken from the party were included in the thank you notes allowing the guests to remember the fun they had riding the camel at Landon’s 2nd Birthday Party.

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