PARTY SESSION Q&A
Is Amazing Animal Encounters the right animal encounter provider for you and your child's birthday party?
Before going ahead and booking us for your animal encounter - please make sure we can meet your expectations first. The most important thing of all to consider is your expectation of what to expect from hiring live animals. Live animals are not puppets or toys, cannot be forced to do what they do not want to.
If an animal has to be substituted or put away at a session or cannot be handled as much as you were hoping- it is not the fault of the handler or the animal. We will not be pressurised into forcing animals against their will or putting their safety or health at risk
. The welfare of both animals and children come first at any session and we will conduct the session accordingly. We ask clients to respect our professional experience and judgment with children, young persons and animals.
Q: "We want performing animals such as birds on mini bikes or those that perform tricks or displays as part of a show, are you suitable?"
A: No. Performing animals in this day and age are no longer considered very acceptable. We do not expect, or train our animals to 'perform'. Some animals respond to simple commands in order that we can keep everyone safe and happy and remain in control of the animal. We prefer to call what we do 'sessions' as they are not what you could consider a 'show'
Q: "I need an entertainer for my child's party to keep the children busy for a set amount of time while the parents sit back and have a chat. Are you suitable?"
A: No. We are not 'entertainers'. While our sessions are enjoyable and fun the emphasis is on compassion and learning. We expect other adults to come and join in and to help manage the behaviour of their children. If you are looking for child minding, please look elsewhere.
Q: "There are 30 children in my child's class and we need to invite everyone"
A: We completely understand this need, but unfortunately we will not be able to provide you with an encounter for your party.
Q: "We want a really interactive session for our child's party where all the children feel they have been able to participate, are you suitable?"
A: Yes. Every child will get the chance to handle, touch or observe up close every animal we bring, dependent on their ability.
Q: "Can you guarantee what animals will come at the time of making the booking?"
A: No. On your booking form there is a wishlist where you can list preferences. An assessment of the animals and the various requests made by all bookings on a given day as well as health and welfare checks and other information such as travel distances , children's ages, number of children present and weather conditions determines what animals go out where and when. A health and welfare check has to be done on the day, prior to animals being loaded for your event. We recommend referring to choices as a 'wish list' with children to avoid disappointment. We ask that you do not make promises to children we are unable to keep. Animal welfare MUST be the priority.
Q: "I want my 5 year old daughter to hold a tarantula"
A: We do not allow young children to directly handle our arachnids. This is both a health & safety and welfare issue.
Q: "I booked 10 species but we only saw 9"
A: If we omit to show an animal, it will be with good reason. We strongly suggest clients ask us at the time should they have any queries. Reasons this might happen are usually the animal became distressed, the children were not behaving appropriately or the venue was too cold. For example if we were hired for a birthday party and it is held outside in the summer, but it turns cold during the session or after we have left for the session, we reserve the right not to show the animal. We have a full, clear set of terms and conditions that hirers must read before signing and booking their session. We presume after receiving the signed form that the hirer has understood all the conditions.
Q: "Is the session EXACTLY one hour?"
A: The session time will depend on the children's age, level of focus and interest, number of children present, behaviour and the conditions in which the session is held. For example if the children are distracted by a bouncy castle and keep getting up to play on it or we are outside and it is an unsafe temperature for the animals, we will end the session before one hour is up. There is also no point continuing if the children have lost interest or behaviour is disruptive. We recommend not having other activities available at the same time as the session to help young children pay attention and for other adults to actively participate during the session with their children. Our booking form does state it is the hirers responsibility to ensure there is an adequate ratio of adults:children during the session and that we reserve the right to end the session early should the hirer not meet all the conditions that they have agreed to or we have concerns for the animals welfare. Your fee is based on a 'session' not 'an hour'. Typically sessions last around 45-60 minutes.
Q: "I paid for an hour and the session did not last this long, I would like a refund for the lost time"
A: We do not charge party sessions 'by the hour'. Each party booking receives one session, which lasts up to around one hour. The exact time of your session will be determined by the children's age, level of focus and interest, number of children present, behaviour and the conditions in which the session is held, including whether you have met all the agreed conditions and responsibilities on the booking form. The service you are paying for is having insured, licenced animals brought to your event by trained animal encounter professionals at a given start time for an educational animal session. The duration time of the session will be determined by the handler at the time, as they see fit. As a general rule, the majority of sessions last around 45-60 minutes, but sessions can also be shorter if determined more appropriate by the handler, which can often be the case with children under 7 years of age.
Q: "you didn't mention my daughters name on your facebook page after the party which I thought was very unprofessional"
A: Our facebook page is not an extension of your booking but a means for our fans and followers to keep in touch with what we are up to. Often we do mention the names of children whose parties we are attending but this is not guaranteed and the page is merely an informal platform to engage with fans. Facebook is not a place for young children. If it is very important to you that we post about your party on our page and with specifics, you should contact us so we are aware of this fact beforehand.
Q: "I booked the wrong time for my session and the time you turned up was not what I was expecting, you should've checked the time I wrote was what I meant"
A: Hirers must make sure they write the correct information on the form. We cannot be responsible for mistakes on the form made by the hirer. It might help to get another person to check the form over before you post it to avoid upset.
Q: "Do you do party bags, games or extras?"
A: No we do not. We concentrate purely on delivering educational and enjoyable animal handling sessions. There are many reasons and opinions from ourselves and like minded animal handling professionals why encounter experiences should steer away from the children's entertainment culture and emphasise the purely educational element of what we do. We do not refer to ourselves as 'entertainers'
Q: "What happens when I make a booking? Will I need to sign something or agree to anything? Is there any "small print" "
A:When you make a booking, you will be issued with a form which includes terms and conditions which MUST be read and AGREED upon before you sign and send back the form. The terms and conditions are not in small print - we want you to read them! The terms and conditions are there to protect your child and the welfare of the animals and the handlers. If you do not agree with the terms, or cannot carry out your responsibilities as outlined in the booking form paperwork, please let us know before taking your booking any further. We cannot issue refunds based on terms and conditions you have agreed upon. It's very important for example that there are no inflatables or balloons, loud music, inadequate parking facilities or disruptive children. We ask clients on this booking form to ensure they provide adequate ratios of adults to participate alongside the children. It is not our job to discipline children or organise adult participation. It is made clear on the booking form this is the client's responsibility. As outlined in the terms, not fulfilling the agreed conditions will affect your session duration.
Q: "I was too embarrassed to say at the time of my session but I wasn't happy about something. Although I paid the balance owed afterwards and said I was happy with everything to the handler before she left, after a week of thinking about it, I've have changed my mind and I would like a refund"
A: It's vitally important that any queries regarding the way a session is being or has been conducted, or questions regarding the length of the session are raised on the day to the handler involved so that any misunderstandings can be immediately rectified and we can make sure you get the best possible from your session before we leave the premises. Please don't be embarrassed - leaving your concerns for a week and then asking us to issue a refund after initially saying you were happy face to face to the handler will not help us to help you.
Q: "I didn't get all the animals I asked for"
A: As is made very clear on your booking form where you write any preferences you may have, we do not guarantee any animals. By expressing your preferences, it gives us an idea of what sort of animals you would like, and helps us make choices about which animals to send out with which handler. We do not guarantee animals because we need to make sure we never put their welfare at risk in the pursuit of customer satisfaction. As the majority of our animals have been rescued or rehomed with us, we often do not have numerous multiples of the same species and we are not looking to provide this sort of service.
Q: "I'm looking for a novelty entertainment for my kid's party"
A: We provide enjoyable educational sessions for birthday celebrations of families that love and respect the natural world. For gentle children with a natural affinity and compassion for animals our sessions are ideal. If you are simply looking for an entertainer with a novelty value and are not particularly interested in the animal kingdom on a day to day basis, we are not suitable. We present the animals in a calm and gentle manner without shock tactics, drama or any performance. We do not treat our animals as a commodity. It is doubtful your expectations will be compatible with our ethos.
Q: "My 4 year old loves watching animal cartoons on the telly and asked for animals at his party"
A: It's great when young children seem to show an interest in animals and we certainly want to encourage them! However, please remember there is a very big difference between a cartoon and meeting animals up close in real life - and having to sit quietly and calmly so as not to stress the animals. Little children are unable to completely understand the concept of what they are actually asking for and "I want animals at my party!" should not be acted upon or taken literally purely because it has been demanded. Of course, you know your child the best, so you will need to have a think carefully whether such a session, for such an occasion, will truly be suitable, not just for your child, but any little guests that will be attending. It is YOUR duty to make sure you make a booking responsibly. Consider also other options, such as mascot hire of their favourite cartoon animal or having a general 'animal' theme and asking guests to come in fancy dress.