Party Pets Details
Once you’ve performed thousands of live animal programs at parties, you know what works… and what doesn’t. It is our goal to have every party guest leave our Party Pets program with pleasant memories that will long be remembered—and to make the management of the your party be as simple as possible for you. Please take the time to carefully read through this section to insure a fun and safe time for all.
How does Party Pets work?
We are not a petting zoo—we are a wildlife education company. Our Party Pets program is a 45-minute, quiet, sit-down part of your birthday or theme party, designed for children who are turning 7 years and older (1st grade or up), ‘tweens, teens, and adults. Party guests must be at least 5 years old to participate. Your party guests will all be seated and the party honoree gets to be the guest of honor as the zookeeper’s assistant. We bring out one exotic animal at a time and teach your guests about the animal. We adjust the curriculum for the age of the audience, but we usually cover where the animal comes from, what they eat, interesting behaviors, how they defend themselves, etc. We then offer the guest-of-honor the opportunity to hold the animal with our assistance, so you can get some special party pictures! Next, we walk the animal around the room and, as long as your guests are following our safety rules, they may gently touch the animal. We do this with all 6 exotic animals that you have selected. Our programs always end with an out-loud audience quiz—to reinforce the information delivered and to provide a fun, sense of accomplishment. The guests learn a lot, but more importantly, have lots of fun and make memories to last a lifetime!
You mean I get to choose the animals I want at my party?
Yes, you may customize your party by selecting your favorite 6 animals (plus 2 alternate animals) from our long list of available animals. If there are just too many decisions to make, simply ask for “Zookeeper’s Choice,” and our staff will be happy to select the animals for you.
What are your party safety rules?
As you know, animal programs generate great enthusiasm, but they also generate some unique challenges regarding party management. We understand natural curiosity and love of animals, but that must be balanced with the needs of the animals and the safety of the guests. Because our animals are exotic and not domesticated, it is critical that your guests follow some simple rules:
- they must remain seated,
- they must avoid loud or sudden noises, and
- they must follow the presenter’s instructions at all times.
The party hosts are required to stay and assist with guest management and will be expected to assist in handling disruptions, so our zookeepers can concentrate on the presentation and safe animal handling. We reserve the right to eliminate the touch portion, or to not show the animals, if the guests are disruptive or fail to follow the safety rules.
Is it safe to touch the animals?
We teach and enforce a strict set of safety rules and we maintain control of the animals at all times—so everyone is perfectly safe. No guest is forced to touch an animal, it’s their choice. All participants are required to use an FDA-approved hand sanitizer that we provide at the end of the program. In addition, we always recommend that the guests wash their hands with soap and water following the program.
Our Secular Teaching Approach
We teach secular curricula. We believe that our role is to teach zoological science and that the family’s role is to instill personal belief systems. Our personal beliefs will NEVER be evident to our students, but, as a “science” company, we DO teach currently-accepted scientific principles. Topics such as animal adaptations, natural selection, the impact of human intrusion, and climatic changes on wildlife are taught in our programs. If your family’s personal beliefs do not align with this approach to teaching zoology and conservation, then this is probably not the wildlife education company for you. Our mission is to instill a love of wildlife and nature by sharing the latest scientific information…we’ll leave the rest to you.
What’s the set-up for the party?
We conduct the program indoors—no mess involved. We no longer offer outdoor presentations. The presentation room must be a contained, indoor space — a patio or outdoor room is not a safe, controllable environment. Most party hosts simply use their family room or living room and push back the tables and couches. Please select a climate-controlled, ground floor location (we cannot climb stairs safely with crates, but elevators are acceptable). Avoid rooms with large mirrors. Please do not decorate with helium balloons, hanging decorations or noise-makers, as they frighten some animals. For obvious reasons, guests may not have food or drink in the presentation area. If there are household pets, please be sure they are secured and out of view and earshot of the presentation area.
How much space do you need?
We just need a floor space big enough for all the audience to sit in a big horseshoe shape, either on the floor or in chairs. Most clients simply push back tables and couches and clear some floor space—you do not need to cover your carpets, we don’t make a mess! If you happen to have a neighboring room (bedroom, den, laundry room, etc.) where we can store the animals, this will greatly help in keeping them calm and quiet before show time—and keep them away from prying eyes! Please provide two hard-back, adult-size chairs for the presenter and the guest-of-honor as a center staging area.
How does the time scheduling work?
Be sure to book us at the time you want us to START the party program. We always suggest that you invite your party guests for at least 30-minutes prior to our start time to avoid the disruption of late arrivals. Please understand that we must stay on schedule, as we have other client commitments.
What should we do during the 30-minute arrival time?
If you invite young guests, please NEVER allow them to “just play” indoors or outdoors during the 30-minute arrival time—it quickly turns the party into an unenjoyable, chaotic event. Bounce houses are the worst for this and, invariably, someone always gets hurt in the excitement. Give yourself, your guests, the adults in attendance, and the wildlife educator, a big break by offering a calming craft project or adult-led organized games (see animal party ideas) before show time. Keep the younger guests focused and having fun and your party will be remembered fondly for years to come.
What is the maximum number of guests?
From our experience at thousands of parties, we set a firm maximum of 15 children for a child’s party and a firm maximum of 15 guests for ‘tween, teen and adult parties. WE ENFORCE MAXIMUM GUEST COUNTS — more guests overly stresses our animals and makes it difficult for us to maintain a safe, yet fun, party. Animal parties do seem to bring out every uninvited sibling and neighbor — so, to help you manage the size of your party, we encourage you to add the following statement to your invitation:
Due to Zooniversity® size restrictions, please do not bring additional guests.
If, upon our arrival, we note that the party has exceeded the maximum number of guests allowed, we will switch to a “no touch” stage-style program, which incurs an additional $50 charge.
Can younger children participate?
Party Pets programs are designed for 1st grade children and older. We understand that younger siblings and relatives may be present, so we do allow children 5 years old and older to participate. We require 3 and 4-year olds to sit with an adult and observe, but may not touch (we strictly follow CDC recommendations that children under the age of 5 ears should not have contact with exotic animals, their immune systems are still in development). Children younger than 3 years are not to be included and should not be present in the animal area—their sudden movements and shrill sounds can scare some animals. If you expect party guests younger than 3 years old, please provide them with a quiet play area away from the presentation space and inform the parents of its location prior to our arrival.
What about special needs guests?
Your special needs guests are welcome to attend, provided that they too can follow the safety rules, can stay seated, and can avoid making sudden movements or sounds. We suggest that you seat your special needs guests toward the rear of the seating, in case they need to leave the presentation area. We request that you privately inform the presenter of their seating location, so we can politely assist them if needed.
Can we take pictures?
You are welcome to take still photographs during the show and flash photography is fine. Unfortunately, due to some unauthorized postings on the internet, we are no longer able to allow video or film recordings of our presentations. Our presentations are “our product,” so we hope you understand that we need to be able to protect our product from unauthorized use or distribution.
Can extra parents and other adults just watch?
Parents and other adults are welcome to stay and watch, but they too must follow the same safety rules, and are not included in the “touch” count. They should be seated — not coming-and-going or opening and closing doors that can startle the animals. Chatting adults sometimes don’t realize they are disrupting the program and are making it hard for the guests to hear and for the presenter to speak over them. Please inform your adult guests that they are welcome to watch, but that chatting should be kept to a minimum. If your adult guests would like to share in conversation, please provide another area for them to visit. Our presenter will handle the animal’s behavior, but we respectfully ask that you handle the guests!
What is the guest photo sitting?
As an additional service, we offer a very special photo sitting for your guests. We’ll pose each guest holding one of our tame and gentle education animals—you take the pictures. These make great take-home party favors or special additions to your thank you notes ($20 extra). If you add this service, please be sure to include either the chinchilla, rabbit, leopard tortoise or armadillo as one of your animal selections, as they are experts as posing for the camera. And, to make it extra special, have your guests decorate animal picture frames as the before-show craft activity! This additional service must be ordered when you make your reservation.
You can make balloon animal party favors, too?
Yes, as an extra service we can make balloon animals for your party guests before or after the educational program. We make more than 20 different kinds of animals and your guests may choose their favorite ($40 extra). This additional service must be ordered when you make your reservation.
When will you arrive and will you need any help?
We will arrive 15-minutes before start time to set-up for the program. We would greatly appreciate a reserved parking space near the presentation space. When the animals arrive, it is exciting for everyone! We understand that the guests will want to rush over to take a peek, but we ask that an adult occupy the children elsewhere while we unload and set-up, perhaps with a craft or activity away from the presentation area. After the animals are safely situated, we’ll be ready to start with a smile!
What is your payment process?
A non-refundable deposit of $100 (online EFT or mailed check/money order) is required to be sent within 5 days of making the reservation, in order to hold your date/time. The balance will be due on the day of the party by cash, check or money order. Payment by credit card is available with an additional a 3.5% convenience fee. Gratuities for the presenter are not required, but are gratefully accepted if you feel your presenter did an outstanding job or exceeded your expectations.