When my son begged for a Reptiles & Amphibians birthday party for his fifth birthday, I confess I was a bit squeamish about it. I mean, reptiles and snakes … eek! But, this ended up being one of the most fun birthday parties we’ve ever had. And made for a very happy five year old!
I still don’t know how my baby can be five! If someone has figured out how to slow time down just a wee bit, do share. He’s growing up way too fast and turning into this independent boy full of curiosity and opinions about everything (which I love). He has a huge heart, big smile, and such a great love for nature and all of its creatures. Especially things that slither and hop.
While most boys his age seem to be into cartoons and superheroes, Zach is obsessed with the natural world. We spend so much time going on nature walks and visiting the library to pick up non-fiction books about reptiles and amphibians, so I wasn’t too surprised that he chose this theme. By the way, this snake absolutely made his day but thoroughly creeped me out. There’s a snake on my ba-beeeee!!! More on that later …
Though frogs and snakes and lizards aren’t really my thing (turtles are OK), this party was so much fun to put together. Seeing the excitement on his face made the sore hands and hot glue burns all worth it!
Reptiles & Amphibians Party Decor
Whenever I start planning a party, the first thing I do is get out some paper and start jotting down ideas and sketching. I like to tell a story about the birthday boy or girl, incorporating their favorite things and reflecting his or her personality throughout. Since my son is so studious, I found myself inspired to style his party like a herpetology professor’s office. At least, what I imagine one to look like when covered in sweet treats.
noun | her·pe·tol·o·gy | hər-pə-ˈtä-lə-jē
: The branch of zoology concerned with reptiles and amphibians.
I pulled the party together using a lot of things I already had around the house, such as an old desk he loves, vintage crates, galvanized serving pieces, vintage books, some succulents for critter habitats, and a magnifying glass (his fav). Reptile and amphibian figures were squeezed in here and there, and I made a garland, a scholarly pull down chart, and loads of printables for a personal touch.
There’s an invitation, mailing labels, fillable food labels, banner, napkin rings, party circles, favor tags, personalized “Junior Herpetologist” badges and so much more!
We got back from a long vacation just a few days before the party (seriously, what was I thinking scheduling a party so soon?!?). It was so hard to jump right back in after a lazy vacation, so the DIY projects had to be easy and fast.
I am kinda obsessed with those vintage German Jung-Koch botanical and zoology pull down charts, but not their price tag. So I DIY’d my own with some help from my mom. Total out of pocket was $14 vs. $200+ for the real thing. And the bonus … party decor for now, room decor later. He loves his frog print!
I also made a felt ball garland by threading some gold twine through an assortment of felt balls from TaDaa Studio Felt. I selected Chocolate, Khaki, Wasabi, Lime, Sunflower, Mango, and Poppy. They complimented the colors of the printables, added some texture and extra color, and it was such an easy DIY.
Reptiles & Amphibians Party Food & Drinks
When I started planning what kind of treats to serve, I focused on including the things my son loves most in this world: Oreos, pretzels and Zevia soda. That way it would be more meaningful for him. This boy loves his Oreos.
My son has a dairy allergy, so all of the treats in this party are vegan. Sourcing pretty treats that accommodate a food allergy is no easy feat, and I hit a lot of dead ends in my search both locally and online. Some things I could outsource, but some required a little homemade creativity.
Lucky for us, there is an amazing vegan bakery in Kansas City called Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse. They have the best cupcakes, even if you aren’t vegan. The cookies ‘n cream cupcakes are his favorite, of course. If you ever find yourself in KC, stop by!
The vegan cake is from the bakery at Whole Foods Market. I threw a cake bunting from the collection on top along with his favorite frog, and then I surrounded the cake with chocolate rocks.
The cookies were, without a doubt, my favorite thing on the table. When I came across Jessica’s Etsy shop, Compassionate Cake, I was blown away by her designs. They are perfect little pieces of art. And even better, my little guy can eat them because they are vegan.
When I reached out to Jessica, I gave her an idea of what I would like to order, and she custom made and shipped them to me. Lizards, snakes, turtles, and a red-eyed tree frog, per his special request.
One of my brainstorming ideas from the very beginning was to have truffles that looked like turtle eggs and serve them up in a “turtle’s nest.” I searched high and low for a vegan white chocolate to coat the truffles with so I could veganize the popular Oreo/cream cheese truffle recipe and was happy to find King David White Chocolate Chips. I followed this recipe using vegan substitutes. My little Oreo lovin’ man approved.
It was my first time making truffles, but I was happy with how they turned out after some trial and (lots of) error. I made a nest out of brown sugar and placed a few turtle figures in there like they were crawling out of the nest.
I used the same vegan white chocolate to make the lizard tales, though you could certainly use almond bark or real white chocolate if dairy isn’t an issue for you. I bought a bag of pretzel rods from the grocery store, and drizzled the same melted white chocolate chips over them. Zach is a pretzel addict and loved them.
Soda is a special treat around here, and Zevia is our favorite brand. It’s not made with all of the unnatural gunk and artifical stuff other sodas use and is guilt-free. It’s so good in ice cream floats and homemade popsicles too! The Cream Soda is his favorite flavor. I used some jute twine to tie on some long paper straws with straw flags.
Reptiles & Amphibians Entertainment
So I could truly relax and enjoy the party with my son, I decided to hire an entertainer. Animal Wonders brought in a collection of reptiles and amphibians for the kids to meet. Every time the handler opened one of the containers, the kids would ooooh and aaaah. It was so funny!
The kids met a box turtle named Speedy, a painted turtle named Stewie, a ball python, a kingsnake, a pair of leopard geckos (that’s what is on Zach’s shirt!), were kissed by a skink, and finally they met a really chill baby alligator.
Most of the animals were rescues, so the kids learned about their history, how to safely handle them, and the responsibility of taking care of an exotic pet. It was so educational and fun too.
Reptile & Amphibians Crafts
To help our little guests unwind from the reptile and amphibian show, the kids got to adopt their very own lizard and make a habitat for it.
I bought some cute stretchy lizards at a toy shop and set them out on a tray with some washi tape, markers, and rectangle tins. The kids could decorate their tin with washi tape and then write their pet’s name on the tape. They got so creative with those habitats!
The kids thought it was the best thing ever and named their lizards some pretty cute names, like Banana and Rocket. The lizard above was named Pascal. Love little kid typos.
I also set out some draw-a-frog activity sheets, which our older kiddos really enjoyed.
Reptiles & Amphibians Birthday Party Favors
As our guests left, inexpensive favor bags were handed out with some reptile-themed bouncy balls, grow reptiles, and a small magnifying glass inside.
Although, we were really tempted to fill them with kazoos to pay back a friend who handed kazoos out at her daughter’s party. Kazoos … the gift that keeps on giving!
Happy birthday, little man! XOXOX
Reptiles & Amphibians Vendor List
Invitation and Party Printables | Three Little Monkeys Studio
Cookies | Compassionate Cake
Cupcakes | Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse
Joy’s Chocolate Cake | Whole Foods Market
Cream Soda & Ginger Ale | Zevia
Long Paper Straws | Cranky Cakes Shop
Green Napkins | IKEA
Utensils, Rectangle Tins, Washi Tape and Favor Bags | Daily deals from Pick Your Plum
Galvanized Metal Cake Stands, Cannister and Tray | Daily deals from Decor Steals
Wool Felt Balls, assorted colors | TaDaa Studio Felt
Chocolate Rocks and Eco Straw Fiber Plates | Amazon.com
Carter’s Lizard Graphic Tee | Bought at a local JCPenny, but available online
Reptiles & Amphibians Entertainment | Animal Wonders