PARTY SESSION Q&A
Is Amazing Animal Encounters the right animal encounter provider for you and your child's birthday party?
Please make sure we can meet your expectations. What should you expect from hiring live animals? Live animals should not be forced to do what they do not want to do, regardless of whether a fee has exchanged hands
If an animal you were hoping for cannot come or is 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 never be pressurised into putting animal safety, welfare 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 acceptable. We do not train our animals to 'perform'. Some animals respond to simple commands in order that we can keep everyone safe 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 and the handler's discretion.
Q: "Can you guarantee what animals will come at the time of making the booking?"
A: No. On your booking form 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 will only consider animals listed as attending children's birthday parties. 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 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 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 if 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 sometimes be the case with children under 7 years of age.
Q: "Do the children get to cuddle all the animals?"
A: We are very aware of animal welfare concerns about young children holding animals, especially in a party environment. These concerns lead many people to believe that animal encounters are highly unsuitable for such purposes and there are even animal rights organisations that devote much time to campaign to ban such services. Although we ensure every child has the opportunity to touch or observe up close all the animals, we do not guarantee physical handling that could be considered "cuddling". All interaction is entirely at the handlers discretion. A child can very easily fatally injure an animal in mere seconds - they can choke or crush them very easily, even well intentioned children. Other hazards to the animal can include being dropped or having their fur or feathers pulled. We do everything to make sure our animals are never put in a position where these incidents can happen, and ensure we abide by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 by making sure our animals are free from pain and injury and free from fear and distress. We strongly believe children should be taught from an early age to understand that animals are not play things and should not be pulled around at a child's whim. Our gentle and sensitive approach educates children to approach animal interaction in a respectful, dignified and species appropriate manner and ultimately ensures the safety of the child.
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. This also means we can pass on the saving to you. None of your fee will be used to pay for unnecessary items but directly helps support the living costs of the animals. We believe that 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 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 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 that 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 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 experience 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. We will only ever consider animals listed as attending children's birthday parties.
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, 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.