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If you were a kid in the 1990s or early 2000s, you probably remember sitting at the table with Zoo Pals during snack or mealtime. These adorable paper plates were shaped like original animal characters, including Domino the Dalmation and Curly the Pig. Zoo Pals’ original creators, Reynolds Consumer Products, recently announced the return of this childhood favorite to stores across the country.
Demand for nostalgic products from the ’90s has been high, as young adults who have kids of their own now want to relive some of their favorite memories with toys and other products from childhood.
“Over the last nine years, we have received many calls, social media, and even petition requests from fans to bring back Zoo Pals and the wait is finally over,” said Jen Ganahl, Senior Brand Manager at Reynolds Consumer Products, in the product relaunch press release. “With this re-launch, our original fans will be able to relive their fondest childhood memories as adults and we’re excited to bring the joy of mealtime with Zoo Pals plates to the next generation.”
Zoo Pals were discontinued more than a decade ago, and in 2018, a Change.org petition was launched as fans cried out for the return of these cute critters of kiddie cuisine. The petition received more than 19,600 signatures as people yearned to have these paper plates, even as adults.
“ZooPals were literally my childhood and it would be a crime for my children to grow up without them. Please bring them back!” said Change.org petition signer Elisabeth Ashton in a comment.
Nostalgia plays a big role in the return of the 10 original Zoo Pals plates, which include Curly the Pig, Fritz the Frog, Kosmo the Cow, Baloo the Whale, Tina the Tiger, Speckles the Ladybug, Domino the Dalmatian, Shelly the Turtle, Puddles the Duck and Theo the Bear. However, there are practical reasons why a Zoo Pals relaunch brings parents joy.
The Zoo Pals’ plate design is not only fun but also perfect for picky eaters who don’t like to have different foods touching or their dips (like ranch or ketchup) spilling onto their meals. Three separate compartments (the face and two ears) are ideal for holding different foods (meat, veggies, fruit), the entire meal on the face, and the dips in the ears.
You can get a 20-pack of Zoo Pals from Amazon for $6.99 or a 15-pack at Target for $3.59 — if you can catch them in stock. (As of publication time, both sites were sold out.) Supplies are limited because demand is so high, so keep checking back at the store website for product updates.