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Safari Theme Party: A Roaring Good Time!

Animal print is the rage right now! You can find it in stores in the clothing department, shoe department, housewares and just about anywhere else you look, and it is the perfect time to have a Safari theme party in your retirement community! 

For my special event, I rented a large tent and had it put up outside. I decorated the tent with the cuttings from the plants that were around the area by placing them on the legs of the tent and up in the apexes of the tent. For the tent I had, there were three specific points to decorate from. I found pinata monkeys and hung them from those points and used the plant cuttings to cover the place where they were hanging. I also used a course rope to hang the monkeys so that it looked more genuine for the theme. (I did have to use multiple pieces for the rope in order for it to be thick enough to be seen.) Make sure if you hang something from the tent that you bring it down low enough to be seen, but keep it high enough for tall guys to work under.

We closed our casual dining area on this night, and encouraged casual dinners to come outside. Our main dining room was open for those who did not want to sit outside or who did not want to navigate a buffet line. The dining room tables had animal print shelf paper in the center of each table, along with a specially printed menu so that they could feel a part of the theme party while staying inside. I did decorate the hallway from the main lobby to the "side door" that took folks outside. I used animal theme balloons to mark which hallway to go to and the door to exit out of. I also used cutouts of the safari theme on the walls of the hallway.

I found lots of animal prints for the buffet tables we used outside, by looking in the bedding departments of a few different stores. I used sheets, blankets, and even a pair of XL zebra pajama pants. Of course you could also go to a fabric store and find animal prints there too. The material was used under the chaffing dishes. I also used shelf paper liners that I found. Here is a link for rolls of animal print papers. We also had woven baskets that looked like they fit the theme to put safari theme paper plates, napkins and cups into. 

On the tables, I used rolls of brown plastic to cover them with. You could use clean brown paper or other natural looking coverings for your tables too. The center pieces were fun and easy. I found ceramic bowls with animal prints on them and filled them with clean playground sand. I then found tall plastic animal figures to place into the bowls. Simple, but very affective for the night.
The Dining Room Menu

Here is a picture of the menu. We really did have buffalo burgers and the residents were anxious to taste them. I think they liked them. We found a few menu items on the Internet and the end results were fantastic reviews from the residents. This menu was served in our Dining Room. What we served under the tent was the same, minus the omelet.

The wait staff (high school and college kids) dressed in khakis and animal print if they had it. Otherwise they were asked to wear a light colored polo style shirt. I found these headbands and sunglasses that might have been a cheap way to get them more into the look of the theme. (Not sure how good they would look together. but that is your call....)

Other decorations outside included an wild animal boarder that you might use on a bulletin board. I used it on two sides of the tent to add color inside the tent. I found a large fake python snake and placed that on a neat animal print laundry basket that I found. I surrounded it with leaves so that it was not as scary for those who are ophidiophobic - afraid of snakes.

After dinner, I had a wildlife show in the Auditorium. I contacted the education center at a wildlife refuge center in our area. I advertised the show as educational and entertaining. The most asked question leading up to the special event was not the normal ones, where do we eat, when can we pick up our take-out orders, what should we wear - but it was, what animals will be here? The residents really were looking forward to seeing the animals, and that they did! The representative from the center was terrific and walked around the room so that everyone had a front row seat.

The residents also found that this was an easy theme to dress up for. Most wore animal prints or khakis. Some had hats, binoculars, and vests on. One lady, even carried a fake gun to hunt with! It was a great success and very easy to pull off. What are you waiting for? Gather your animal instincts, stop monkeying around, and have a roaring good time! Also remember to look at the Activities Director's Store under the Resources Tab on my blog's home page for more related items, including music, accessories, art and more!

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