FAQs

Q?

How long is a birthday party program?

A.

We feel that an hour is usually long enough for a standard organized presentation. Anything over an hour and the kids may begin to lose focus, especially if they’re young. We do many successful parties, birthday or other events, that last longer than an hour and consist of a standard presentation plus additional casual mingling with program participants afterwards.

Q?

Are your programs held indoors or outdoors?

A.

This depends on the weather. Late Spring through early Fall, we’re usually doing a lot of outdoor programs. In the cold months we must be inside. Aside from possibly needing to sweep or vacuum when we leave, you’ll never know we were there. Any odor we might bring will quickly dissipate once we leave.

Q?

What is the best time to have a program start?

A.

This is your day, so we’ll be happy to accommodate your needs. However, when asked our opinion, we suggest that people have us present towards the end of the party (after eating) for several reasons. a) Kids focus better on a full belly, b) Safety and Sanitation. Everyone is required to wash hands after the program is over. However, if food or cake is next on the agenda, kids may be too excited to wash well or even wash at all. Food and animals don’t mix well, c) parents picking up kids often enjoy watching the very end of our program, because they get to see the excitement and awe on their child’s face, and d) it gives us a chance to answer parents’ questions should they want to know more about AFA.

Q?

Are the children safe around the animals?

A.

Any animal with a mouth can bite. Any animal with claws can scratch. Although most of AFA’s ambassador animals are wild and exotic, they’re used to educational programs and pretty well socialized. While we allow some contact with the animals, it’s highly supervised and only with animals we feel most comfortable with. In the 25 years AFA has been doing outreach programs, we’ve never had an “incident”.

Q?

Is Animals for Awareness licensed and insured?

A.

Yes. Animals for Awareness is USDA licensed as a class C exhibitor. Also, a Certificate of Insurance (COI) will be provided if required. If your organization needs to be listed as “additionally insured” for a program, we can currently provide that at no additional cost to you.

Q?

Can we take pictures during the program? Will the flash affect the animals?

A.

Absolutely! We encourage it. Our animals are used to being the center of attention, so feel free to take pictures. In fact, birthday kids or guests of honor are allowed extra privileges of animal contact and picture taking. Flashes also don’t seem to bother the animals either. Additionally, we always welcome copies of pictures sent or e-mailed for possible use on bulletin boards or on our website.

Q?

What accommodations do you need for your program?

A.

We’re very low maintenance! All we ask is that we have an area to place the carriers. This may be up against a wall or on a table. We also need just a little room to move about between the animals and the participants. The animals remain in their carriers until it’s their time to come out.

Participants are usually sitting on the ground or in chairs. We prefer a half circle seating to maximize viewing and accessibility. If more than a single row is needed, we’d like the same format with an aisle down the middle so that we can walk straight through and access both sides of the room.

Q?

What about mess?

A.

There’s usually a small amount of mess involved any time you’re dealing with kids or animals. Our animals leave very little mess behind and that generally consists of some fallen pine shavings or pieces of straw/hay (bedding from the carriers). Some of our animals may shed slightly. You may need to vacuum once we leave. On very rare occasions, an animal may have an accident, which is why we also work off of a small heavy duty tarp. Bottom line: Don’t set us up on your oriental rugs.

Q?

Can we have the program outside?

A.

Sure! However, it must be at least 65-70 degrees out. On very warm sunny days, we need shelter such as shade trees or a tent to protect the animals from the heat and sun. Drizzling doesn’t bother us as long as your participants are ok, but we need to be moved inside or under shelter when it’s really coming down or if it’s lightning.

Q?

Do all participants have to touch the animals?

A.

No way! No one has to touch or hold anything he or she doesn’t want to. We’re here to teach, not to scare or intimidate. We will, however, encourage people to overcome fears, biases or misconceptions.

Q?

How much advance notice do you need to schedule a program?

A.

That really depends on the season! Late spring through early fall is our most hectic program season. Our weekends book quickly, and, for the animals, we try not to book more than three programs per day. Your best bet is to book at least 2 weeks in advance.

Q?

What animals do you bring?

A.

We generally bring out 9-11 animals for a program, which are more animals than we can squeeze in in an hour. Although the animals may change, our general line-up includes some of the following: A talking parrot, large tegu lizard, large snake, sulcata tortoise, kinkajou, domestic skunk, hedgehog, tarantula, chinchilla, guinea pig, and on occasion, our coatimundi. (See our Animal Ambassadors page for photos!)

Q?

How many people do you bring?

A.

It really depends on the type and length of the program. We always try to have at least two people there. For larger, longer programs we may have 3-5 people.

Q?

Can we use antibacterial gel between each handling of the animal?

A.

Sure, but we personally believe this creates a false sense of cleanliness. But when the program is finished, nothing beats soap and water! If a sink isn’t available, pour bottled water on your hands and rub them together, then rinse with water again. Then an antibacterial gel should be used. During the program, we discourage the use of scented wipes and gels, because the animals may be overly curious about the scent on hands. Safety first!

Q?

What about tipping or gratuity?

A.

If you’re happy with your show you may certainly tip your program presenter. A gratuity is always appreciated!

Q?

We want to book a program; now what do we do?

A.

Give us a call to discuss the particulars and go over the date(s). Once we’ve got that settled on, you’ll be in our calendar. Only if you’re an organization such as a school or scouting group, will we e-mail you a contract. Simply complete the highlighted areas, sign it and send the contract back. Deposits are not required at this time for any program booked. Cash or check made payable to Animals for Awareness for the full amount at the end of your program is just fine.