Sunday, November 15, 2015

Exotics -R-Us


I have known Jenn K for a while now but I recently discovered a passion of hers. She loves educating people about animals and loves to share her passion for animals with others. Jenn K is a Wildlife Education Exhibitor and owns and operates Exotics-R-Us. She has a crew existing of  human helpers as well as phenomenal animals that make up Exotics-R-Us.

Exotics-R-Us has been showing animals for a decade. You might have seen them at many local schools, hospitals, 4-H camps, local businesses, training's, retirement facilities, Boy Scout events, Girls Scout events, as well as fairs and festivals. They are even regulars at Mid-Continent Public Library educating young crowds about these animals and their care.

I recently caught up with Jenn and her Exotics-R-Us crew at a private birthday party. At this party Exotics-R-Us brought nine different species of animals and ten total animals to the party.


The animals are just as involved as the staff at Exotics-R-Us when deciding who will or won't go to an event. Jenn reports that some of her animals are natural "hams" and love to show off. Others are not. On the day of the event, if one of the animals does not want to "crate-up" she respects their need for an off day.



The crowd at the party I was at was made up of a group of young children. They loved the next animal as much as the last. Everyone got to run their hands down the back of a the Three Banded Brazillian Armadillo (photo above) as well as down the tail of the Ringtail Cat.  I enjoyed petting the Chinchilla, I don't think I have ever felt anything as soft as his fur. 




At this point you might be looking past the cute factor and wondering some very real questions. So, in case you are were wondering, yes, Exotics-R-Us is fully licensed and insured. The staff were extremely cautious in controlling the animals during the entire show and allowed the guest to interact when it was safe for the animals as well as the staff. You can find specific guidelines on their website to help create the best environment for human/animal interaction. 




This Vervet Monkey was one of the funniest creatures to watch. He absolutely reminded me of Marcel (any other Friend's fans out there?). Yes, I do realize he is not the same species Marcel but it was enough of a similarity. This little guy was as curious about the audience as much as they were about him. It was feeding time for several of the animals and we were able to watch them drink bottles, eat carrots, or sweet potatoes. 


Every animal has their own story. Some of the animals are born on site at the Exotics-R-Us facility, while others come as a re-home. Some have been donated to help support Exotics-R-Us role in education.  Jenn also works with other licensed zoo's and exhibitors and they often share animals amongst each other.


Exotics-R-Us is currently caring for a baby Wallaby. This is one of the animals that will only stay with Jenn and her crew a short time. As he grows, his need for larger space will dictate that he move on to live at one of the other places that Exotics-R-Us have arrangements with.


Several of the animals at Exotics-R-Us are special needs animals. Currently, they are caring for a three-footed fox, a blind prairie dog, a one eyed dog and a three legged, two hoofed Myotonic goat (photo later in this post).  These special needs animals have a story to tell as well. Children with special needs can especially relate to animals special needs. 
                       

                               

Some of the parties that Exotics-R-Us work at are designed for educational purposes. Scouts, both boy and girl, may need to learn about a specific animal to earn a merit badge. Others are just for fun. Recently, Exotics-R-Us were the main attraction at a baby shower. The organizers had made a special request to have only baby animals to match the theme of their shower. Pending arrival of a baby mixed with the super cuteness of baby animals. I can't hardly stand it!



Hopefully you are now considering a party with these cute animals as the star of the show. Jenn does have some suggestions for making the party go smoothly. She does ask that all food and drinks be withheld until the animals have made their appearance.  She also says a respectful audience is one of the most important elements to a successful party involving animals. 

         
              
Loud noises, sudden movements, and even eager guest rushing an animal can send an otherwise scare a timid animal. She also ask that if you plan to have side activities or conversations that you have enough space to separate out the animals from the other activities. Exotics-R-Us wants everyone to have a fun learning experience that develops into positive attitudes toward animals and nature.



As far as size of the group, Jenn leaves that to the party planner. Of course the smaller the group, the more intimate the setting. A group of 15 guest will have more time for interaction than say a larger group of 50. Exotics-R-Us does parties for all ages...even adults. 


At this birthday party, I would say the animals that stole the show were new born Serval kittens. Serval's are a species of wild cats native to Africa. They are cousins to the African Golden Cat and look very similar.  They have very long legs and large ears, both which help them hunt. They also have white markings on the back of their ears giving the appearance they have eyes in the back of their heads. 


Are you wondering if this type of party is within your budget? Jenn assured me that it is. A one hour party with 6-9 different species typically cost less than $300.00.  As an added bonus, Exotics-R-Us has decided to give a 10% discount to readers of this blog.  So if you are looking for something a little different and totally adorable then please consider hiring Exotics-R-Us for your next party. 



As far as this specific party, I think the birthday girl had a great time.



9 comments:

  1. Wow! I have seen this show three times; twice at the Library and once at a birthday party and you summed it perfectly! You captured just the right mix of cleaver and cuteness. Your post truly speaks to what Exotics-R-Us is all about!

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  2. Thank you Pamela for all your kind words and support. I noticed you have done some animal knowledge research on your own also since the program. Great job!! Especially on your Serval knowledge. :)
    Your photography is also Fantastic! We would be interested in hiring you to help with pictures for some upcoming projects if you are available?
    We are very fortunate to be doing what we do but need everyones support as new regulations all over are being put in place. Having the ability to come out and teach about appropriate animal husbandry and spread awareness to all is something we hope to be doing still many years from now.

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  3. Thank you so much Pamela! The photos and your research are quite amazing! Thank you for showcasing our animal ambassadors and I know myself, Sarah, and Jenn appreciate all the work you put into this. Especially getting our good sides. ☺(its hard to do that with our monkey bleu) -crystal

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  4. Pamela this is a great job! You have captured the animals and the learning experience! A wonderful article and pictures. Thank you!

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  5. This is great! So much wonderful and interesting information with great pictures :)
    I was not aware that Exotics-R-Us came to Birthday parties, I will be calling to book one for my kids for sure! Thanks for such a great article!

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  6. Oh my goodness! This party would have fulfilled my dream of having a party at the zoo when I was a child with the interaction I so desperately craved. Your story about Jenn and her care with both the animals and humans at the events is spot on and she, along with the Exotics R Us staff, are walking encyclopedias about each specific animal, its care, habitat, and personality are incredible!

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  7. This is such much more than a party, by introducing children to animals, you teach them understanding, empathy, patience, responsibility, unconditional love, how to deal with others. Encourage a child to care for an animal, and treat it kindly and patiently, and you are encouraging them to treat people the same way. Educate your children about animals and they will understand and love them. Animals accept us for who we are; they don’t judge us and they make us feel special. Teach a child to respect animals of all kinds, not just cute a fuzzy ones, and to teach them to accept others even if they are different. You teach them respect other living beings. Keep up the good work!

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  8. My child and I seen you guys at the Mid-Continent Library on North Oak one time. I thought it was the coolest thing and it was completely unexpected to have an added experience as such at the Library! I could tell the kids there at the time really enjoyed the experience and my child still speaks of it to this day! I hope to see you guys there again. Thanks!

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    1. That is great you were able to catch us unexpected and that they are still speaking of it today. That is part of our purpose to create those lasting memories that are one of a kind but by creating them hoping to continue their ability to exist.
      We will be back at Mid-Continent Libraries N. Oak Branch soon actually - March 24, 2016 at 2pm (over spring break). If you can come please stop and give a personal hello after.

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