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.
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.