National Animal Crackers Day is observed on April 18. This day 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 are light-colored and slightly sweet. However, chocolate and frosted varieties are also available. Even though animal crackers are made with layered dough much like crackers, they are sweet like cookies.
In 1902 animal crackers officially became known as “Barnum’s Animals” and evoked the familiar circus theme of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Later that year, the now-familiar box with a string was designed for the Christmas season made to hang from the Christmas tree. They were a big hit in 1902 and still are today.
- A box of Animal Crackers sold for 5 cents in 1902.
- Animal Crackers originated in England in the late 1800s, where they were known as animal biscuits.
- 54 different animals have been created as animal crackers. The most popular brand, Barnum’s Animal Crackers, has featured 37 different animals since 1902.
- The most recent addition to the Barnum’s animal crackers is the koala bear. It was added to the animal line-up in 2002 beating out the penguin, cobra and walrus
- Over the years, the only ones that have survived the entire lifetime of the product are bears, elephants, lions and tigers.
- Shirley Temple sang “Animal crackers in my soup, Monkeys and rabbits loop the loop,”, but rabbits never found their way into a box of Barnum’s Animal Crackers.
- The name referred to P. T. Barnum (1810-1891), the famous circus owner and showman.
- Today, more than 40 million packages of animal crackers are sold worldwide.