National Animal Crackers Day | April 18
(Last Updated On: April 12, 2023)


National Animal Crackers Day on April 18th each year celebrates a childhood favorite. A box of these sweet animal-shaped crackers not only provided a delicious snack, but they also offered a little entertainment, too!  


The celebration brings us back to our childhood memories and the many boxes of Animal Crackers we shared with our friends. Animal Crackers refer to a type of small cookie baked in the shape of circus or zoo animals, such as a lion, tiger, bear or elephant. The most common variety is light-colored and slightly sweet. However, makers also offer chocolate and frosted varieties, too. Even though animal crackers are made with layered dough, much like crackers, they are sweet like cookies. 


It’s a perfect day to celebrate that childhood memory again. Pick up some animal crackers at your local grocery store and share them with family and friends.

  • Make your favorite dessert using animal crackers.
  • They’re great for dipping or adding to a fruit tray, too. S
  • hare your photos of your Animal Crackers Day celebration using #NationalAnimalCrackersDay.

Do you want to play with your animal crackers? Play a little Animal Cracker Bingo at snack time. Download and print as many of the blank cards as you need. Most brands of animal crackers have 13 different kinds of animals. To play bingo, everyone will need about two of every kind of animal. (Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?) Then, randomly place animal crackers on the bingo card. As the animals are called, take the correct cracker off the card and snack! The empty space represents the called animal. The first person to get a bingo wins! Add yogurt for dipping while the game plays on.


While National Day Calendar’s research was unable to find the creator of National Animal Crackers Day, we did locate other fun facts. Animal crackers first came to the United States in the late 1800s when the U.S. imported animal-shaped cookies from England. In 1902, animal crackers officially became known as Barnum’s Animals and evoked the familiar circus train theme of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Later that year, Nabisco designed the now-familiar box with a string for the Christmas season to hang from the Christmas tree. They were a big hit in 1902 and still are today. (

In 2018, Nabisco (the current maker of Barnum’s Animal Crackers) released the characters from the cage of the train and set them free. The images on the side of the boxes now show the animals roaming freely in nature.

Animal Cracker FAQ

Q. How many calories are in a serving of animal crackers?
A. A one-ounce serving of animal crackers contains approximately 120 calories.

Q. Why was there a string on some boxes of animal crackers?
A. That string that was once attached to a box of animal crackers used to allow parents to hang the box on the Christmas tree like an ornament. Nabisco first introduced the stringed box in 1902. However, in 2018, a redesign of the packaging eliminated not only the string but the image of caged animals. The new artwork depicted wild animals on an African backdrop.


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