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Sunday 9 February 2014

A Reptile Birthday Party

Yesterday was the big day that we've been looking forward to for weeks: Ava's 7th birthday party!

After petsitting her class gecko over the Christmas break (which you can see here), Ava has been a little obsessed with reptiles. When she found out that our local reptile store, East Bay Vivarium, has a traveling reptile show that can come to birthday parties she knew exactly what she wanted to do for her party.

So a reptile themed party it was!

As well as the reptile show we had a reptile themed birthday cake, reptile themed party bags, gummy snakes and frogs, pass the parcel with a reptile prize in the middle and "pin the tail on the lizard".

Cute reptile cake

We had originally planned to host Ava's birthday party on our roof top garden as we usually do for parties. However, after months of no rain it has now been raining pretty much non-stop since Thursday and our roof top doesn't have any shelter. Instead we had to squeeze everyone into our apartment. I was a little worried that it would be too squishy but with the furniture moved around we all fit in nicely. As I wasn't able to get in touch with all of the guests to let them know we'd be in our apartment instead of the roof I made up signage to direct them once they arrived at our building.

Sign in the lobby

I couldn't help myself!

Sign on our door

"Pin the tail on the lizard" was Ava's idea and I love it! It makes so much more sense than "Pin the tail on the donkey" as some lizards actually do lose and grow back their tails - unlike donkeys!
I found a nice picture of a gecko online, "chopped" its tail off in photoshop, printed it in a large format and mounted it on foam core. I also printed an extra tail so the kids could help the lizard "grow" a new one - if only they could find the right spot for it to go! Now, Ava and her friends are old enough to feel their way around the board to find the right spot for the tail. I figured that if they each had a tail that was left on the board the next kid would work out where to go from there and feel their way to the right spot. So instead, we had just one tail and once each kid placed it on the board I traced around it and marked the tracing with their name. No feeling their way around the tails this way!

Ava goes first

A little high
Not quite

That's closer

Now onto the really fun stuff... the reptile show!

Owen from East Bay Vivarium brought a selection of 20 creatures with him to show the kids. Not all of them were reptiles, as you'll see, but they certainly all were fun to see. There were snakes, lizards, turtles, frogs, a giant millipede, a scorpion and first up, a tarantula! 

As the guest of honour Ava was Owen's helper for the show and got to see the creatures up close and even hold a few. She was pretty excited about this and hasn't stopped talking about it. 

Owen had told the kids that we'd be starting the show with a cute, furry little creature. A cute, furry little creature who just happened to have a few extra legs! That's right... a tarantula. Ava was pretty excited to hold the tarantula and held her hands out ready but was in for a surprise when Owen popped the spider on her head instead! Surprisingly Ava was pretty calm about the spider crawling around in her hair but the parents and many of the other kids were a little freaked out.

Ready for the spider to be put in her hands

Ava quite liked having the tarantula on her head

That looks like a better way to hold a tarantula

The tarantula crawled to the underside of Ava's hand

The giant millipede was fun to see. Back home in Australia we always had loads of millipedes creeping around in our house and they were a horrible, crunchy and smelly mess. I say crunchy and smelly as we were always inadvertently stepping on them and they make a loud crunch and release a horrible smell when they get crushed. Yuck! The giant millipede, however, was much nicer than the little ones we're used to and the kids enjoyed feeling his numerous legs moving as he slowly scuttled along their hands.  

A little bigger than the millipedes we're used to seeing

Next up were a couple of frogs including this giant bullfrog that lives underground in the desert.

Learning about the frog

Apparently this frog fills with water during the wet season then burrows under the sand to hibernate for the dry season

Following from the frogs we saw a fire salamander. The kids all agreed that he was pretty cute.

Fire salamander

Then it was onto the reptiles, starting with a couple of turtles. The first one was just a baby and quite tiny. Ava held onto him while Owen showed the kids a much larger and slightly older turtle. Ava then held the larger turtle briefly while Owen put the baby one away. Even though she only held the large turtle briefly it was long enough for him to do a big pee down her leg! Lucky Ava!

Ava holds the baby turtle

The big turtle does the rounds

All the kids got a chance to pat the turtle

Not the best photo but this was the moment the turtle peed on Ava!

Next up were the lizards. There were tiny lizards like the little blue bellied one below which can be found locally in gardens. There were medium sized lizards like the bearded dragon and blue tongue (both from Australia). And there was one gigantic lizard which we'll see later.

This little lizard can be "hypnotised" by laying it on its back and rubbing its belly 

The bearded dragon was taken around for all the kids to pat

Ava got to hold the bearded dragon 

She also held the blue tongue

So shiny

Lizards, turtles, frogs and spiders are all pretty cool but the main attraction of the reptile show was the snakes! We saw a corn snake which has beautiful colouring resembling Indian corn, a black and white king snake and a gopher snake. Being the birthday girl Ava was lucky enough to hold the king snake. And then the gopher snake was added as well making a beautiful snake necklace!

Ava holds the king snake

Snake wearing

Ava was pretty pleased that she got to hold two snakes at once

Ava helps put the snakes away

Now those snakes were all small enough that Ava could hold two at once. The next snake however, was so big it took two people to hold it! Lucky Ava got to be one of those and she helped Owen carry it around so the kids could all have a pat.

Helping hold the boa

And then Ava got to wear it! It was pretty heavy.

Snake charmer Ava

The last animal we saw was a big one. So big in fact that he took up the whole cooler that Owen was sitting on throughout the show. Ava was asked to pick one adult to come up the front and hold it. She looked around to find the adult that looked the most terrified of what was going to happen, and decided that our friend Lana fit the bill. Lana was asked to hold her hands out and close her eyes. She was terrified that Owen was going to put a huge snake in her hands but was relieved that it turned out to be Elmo, a giant monitor lizard

Worried that she was about to hold a giant snake!

Much happier that it was a lizard!

Owen tells the kids a little about Elmo

The kids got the chance to pat Elmo at the end

With the reptile show finished it was time for birthday cake...

Despite the fact that the main attraction of Ava's birthday party was a bunch of creepy, crawly and slithery creatures I still wanted to keep it cute and a little girly. Ava's cake perfectly fit the bill with bunting and tiny Schleich reptiles (and one amphibian) wearing little party hats in pastel colours. These party animals also featured on the invitations which you can see here and the tattoos I made for the party bags, which you can see here.

Birthday cake

Waiting for cake time

I love that Ava is unaware of the faces her friend is pulling!

Happy birthday to you...

Happy birthday dear Ava...

Seven candles to blow out

Puffy cheeks!

Ava cuts the cake and makes a wish

With the cake eaten it was time for the guests to head home. Ava handed out party bags (actually, party boxes) to each of her friends. The boxes contained the tattoos that we made plus an assortment of gummies. 

Party boxes

Thanks to all of Ava's guests for making her party a special day.

And big thanks to East Bay Vivarium for providing such a wonderful reptile show. Ava has already decided that she wants a reptile party again next year!


Ava's Reptile Birthday Party has been awarded "Best Decorations" for the month of July by Napkins.com. Thanks!


  1. Oh my gosh! Ava is soooo brave! I don't think I could EVER hold so many fancy animals :-) It looked like a great party. Happy Birthday, Ava!

    1. Thanks!
      We had such a great time and Ava loved holding all of the animals - especially the tarantula and the boa!

  2. great party celebrations with beautiful cakes and birthday wishes for the party..

  3. Wow nice birthday party celebrations, My Beautiful birthday wishes for your party.

  4. Great celeberation with nice cake and my best birthday wishes for your party

  5. Great celebrations and have special and amazing Happy birthday wishes for you.

  6. Amazing Happy Birthday celebrations and Birthday Wishes
    fill the life with joy and blessings.

  7. Birthday celebration is Awesome, Many Happy Birthday wishes to you have a nice day

  8. Beautiful Birthday celebration photos, Send Happy Birthday wishes to who are very special to you and remember you for ever

  9. Every Wish make Birthday person, celebrates all the year..Happy Birthday wishes to you have a great day


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