Did You Know – Barnum’s Animal Crackers

Did you eat Barnum’s Animal Crackers when you were a kid or maybe you still eat them? Do you know why they put a string on the original boxes from 1902? Read the answer at the end of this post.

Do they still make Barnum’s Animal Crackers? According to Wikipedia the rotary dies are still used today. Barnum’s Animals Crackers are all produced in the Fair Lawn, New Jersey, bakery by Nabisco Brands. More than 40 million packages of Barnum’s Animals Crackers are sold each year, both in the United States and exported to 17 countries worldwide.

Today the box has changed and they have a handle instead of the string. About five years ago the animals on the box were freed from their cages as shown in the bottom picture.

The original string was put on the box because it was meant to be hung as a Christmas ornament after the cookies inside had been eaten.


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    • A childhood fun memory for me Corna. They tasted more like a cookie to me and it was fun seeing what animal was in the box before we ate them. The boxes had different animal shapes for fun.

  1. We ate these as a child in the 1960s. I think we still had strings on them, but I’m not sure. Do you know when they eliminated the strings?

  2. Very cool trivia! That’s a unique thing to hang on a Christmas tree!

    Hope you’re feeling better and are on the mend!

    • I didn’t even know that about the Christmas tree when I was a kid. Probably because my mom didn’t want me too! Lol Unfortunately my chronic condition probably won’t get any better. My husband retires Friday so he will be able to help me more. My biggest fear is that we have talked about traveling in retirement and I don’t know if I can. He said we get to a place on the beach and just relax. We are going to try an overnight trip in May. It is a 4 hour drive each way so we will know then. Thank you for asking Ab!

      • I am very sorry to hear about your chronic condition. 😞 Congrats on your husband’s retirement this Friday!

        While your plans may potentially change, just being able to spend time together will be rewarding. I hope your overnight trip in May works out – fingers crossed.

  3. What a fun post! I loved these crackers and would always look to see which animal I was eating. 🙂 I did not know that about the string or noticed the animals being freed. Now I want to find an old box with a string and hang it on our Christmas tree. It could be a fun conversation starter.

    • I saw some of the older boxes on line but the string wan’t as I remembered it when I was a kid. Thank you Betty, it was a fun post that brought back so many fun memories for me.

  4. Who knew? You, obviously! My sister and I used to carry the boxes around by the string like little pocketbooks! I never knew they were meant to be ornaments! Love the uncaged animals. Our Bronx Zoo now has very few cages. It’s lovely!

    • It was a fun post and I used to swing the boxes too! I didn’t know about the ornament part until I saw it on TV. I had to do some research to see if it was true and found out it was!

  5. Wow. Had no clue about the string. I just used to use it as a flexible handle that let me swing it as I walked along as a kid. Unfortunately my fav cookies are now too over processed with preservatives

  6. Very interesting! I love animal crackers! But I sincerely doubt they are still baked in the US. A few years ago I went on a cracker rant because all most all that I looked at are now baked in Mexico. Very interesting about the string, too!

    • I did even more research and still read they are made in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. I know what you are saying though. Think how much better our country would be if all of our products were made here, but then we wouldn’t have any workers to make them! Lol

  7. Oh wow Diane, I forgot about these. They were my favourite when I was a kid and I did not know that about the string, I would have hung them on the tree ! but my Mom probably would have had other ideas about that lol. I’m glad they took them out of their cages too……….

  8. My mother didn’t buy things like that very often because she could make cookies cheaper at home. There were six kids in my family. So, when I did get a box, they were quite a treat! My, how times have changed. I didn’t know about the string, but that is reflective of that generation where nothing was wasted and repurposing was born of necessity not of “environmental awareness.” Fun post!

    • It was new to me too Jessica. I’m sure my mom kept it from me as a a kid! 🤣 She was picky about her Christmas tree and wouldn’t let us put on the tinsel, she had to do it. Lol

  9. I loved these as a kid Diane – I always got a box when Mom and I went shopping. I’d clutch onto that pink string while we went around the grocery store. Fun memories. I didn’t know the animals were let out of their cages – wow!

      • A smart move on Barnum’s part, especially for the poor elephants. Yes, the happy memories of a box of animal crackers. I wrote about those memories the day Shirley Temple died and put a video of her singing “Animal Crackers in My Soup” into the post.

      • We were out shopping for the grandkids Easter baskets the other day. They had the boxes with the candy and they were over $2.00!!!! I am still in grocery sticker price shock!

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