Introduction to the frequently asked question section.

Animal Parties are asked to appear at many different types of events:-

birthday parties - school functions - after-school functions - PTA organised events - clubs - associations -
seasonal celebrations - coming of age events - weddings - christenings and corporate events.

We have a wealth of experience that ensures you get the most from our visit when planning any such event.

The following headers and sub headers have the questions which are frequently asked and the answers therein. To find out more, click on the question which will reveal the answer.

If you have a question not asked or answered in enough detail, then feel free to email the office:-

nick@animalman.co.uk - or call us on 07971 282 666

and we shall do our best to deal with your enquiry.

Are you insured?

By law, we carry Public Liability Insurance with a bespoke policy tailored to cover all aspects of the presentation. Should you or the venue require sight of these policies, feel free to inform us and we will email you a PDF file to satisfy this request. All employees and volunteers associated with Animal Parties has a full and clean CRB Certification.

In addition, each presenter carries a Performing Animal Licence and all animals which require an Article 10 certificate issued by DEFRA have this in place.

Does this insurance policy cover you for schools and corporate events?

Yes, we have a policy tailored to cover us for every type of event that we undertake. In addition, Animal Parties also have employers liability insurance to protect their employees in the work place.

Nick & Stu review the risk assessment periodically and engage the services of an independent assessor to ensure that the policies are appropriate for their requirements.

What forms of payment do your presenters accept?

Nick and Stu are sole traders and can present a numbered receipt for your event (upon request).

Payment is due in full on the day of your party and can be in the form of Cash, Cheque or a BACS transfer.

 

For schools, clubs, PTAs and corporate clients, both Nick and Stu accept:-

Cash - Cheque - BACS and ask you to adhere to a 14 day term for payment. Late payment (more than 30 days) will incur a 10% surcharge.

Are any of the animals dangerous?

We only have a couple of animals that could be considered dangerous if found in the wild, such as our large Burmese pythons. However, our animals are all captive breed and have temperaments such that we know they are not dangerous around people. When animals are understood and handled in a sensible and calm manner, all our species are non-aggressive. 

We take all precautions necessary to ensure the safety of both the children and the animals. Although some of the animals we feature have sharp teeth and claws, we take time to communicate with the children about safe handling of the animals. We will establish a secure environment at your venue and never take risks or get complacent. We have an exemplary record in animal care.

Where do the animals come from?

Where possible, we have bred our own animals. Some of our animals have been donated to other collections, in reciprocal exchange for different species. We regularly communicate with other specialist breeders about latest husbandry techniques, enrichment and good general practice. This ensures that our animals are kept in a manner appropriate to its natural requirements. We currently have animals on loan with institutions including - ZSL Whipsnade, West Midlands Safari Park and Capel Manor College.

From time to time we are offered animals for a variety of reasons – they may have been rescued or are an unwanted pet. Where possible, if we are unable to accept the animal, we will help find a suitable home.

Can the children touch and hold the animals?

Yes. A significant part of the experience is to give the children (and adults) an opportunity to touch and handle the animals under our expert guidance. Children will be asked to volunteer to help with different animals. We aim to have as many children assist the presenter as possible. We ask that you bear in mind the animal’s welfare. If you have a large number of children attending, not every child will be able to touch or hold an animal.

Fears, phobias and allergies.

We do not offer a dedicated ‘face your phobia’ session. Primarily because we are not trained in the psychology in why the phobia exists, and would not like to be responsible for increasing the anxiety. If you require any of our animals in connection with a professional therapist’s session, please contact us.

If you are hosting an event and a attendee has a phobia or allergy, it is your duty to inform the presenter before the show starts. In public arenas, the presenter will announce before a bird, spider or snake is shown. 

What is the optimum number for children to invite?

We appreciate the diplomacy needed when dealing with classmates. We would never want to put you in a position that may cause resentment with other children or parents. We understand that with younger children it is normal to invite the whole class or year group. This could mean that your list, when you add siblings and cousins, could be 30+ children. Don’t worry, with Nick’s show he is used to this and can accommodate your wishes.

Once children get a little older and have a clear understanding as to who their closer friends are, then it becomes more acceptable to choose between classmates. With the show that Stu hosts, he finds that around 15 children work well to maximize the audiences interaction and appreciation.

The hierarchy in terms of who assists is - birthday child/children help the presenter throughout the show. Next, siblings, cousins and anyone who has travelled a long way to the event will be asked to help. Care is taken to ensure any ‘best friends’ help with something special – a favourite animal or magic trick. Class mates/group members will also have a turn during the proceedings. Nick or Stu will ask the birthday child to choose different friends each time to help assist. The birthday child/children are expected to help handle all species that they feel confident with.

Why choose the longer show?

You may be uncomfortable about organising or entertaining a group of children, so this is your best option. With the longer show, the whole of the event is structured - from the guest’s arrival, throughout the food break and until time for the guests to leave - on the understanding you are planning a typical 2 hour party.

Should you be combining a party with another child - sibling/friend - then the longer time format makes the most sense as each of the birthday children would receive longer periods of individual attention from the presenter during the party.

Naturally, the longer show features more animals and allows more ‘hands-on’ experience.

Can audience members with disabilities participate with the presentations?

As we appreciate that your individual requirements will vary, we would be happy to discuss how best to fit our presentations around your event.

Nick, in particular, has had a great deal of experience working with children and adults who have a variety of special needs; such as autism, hearing and/or sight impairment, learning difficulties and people with motor difficulties. Nick especially is very good at making sure everyone feels equally included without drawing undue attention to any particular child or need.

Using simple stage craft, Nick and Stu can change the presentation to suit an audience who may need to be more static.

Please note we do charge for our presentations, and are not able to make exceptions for charities.

What happens if you are late?

We allow plenty of time for traffic and have the satellite navigational devices with us to help 'skirt round' unexpected road delays. Even with all this technology, delays can still occur when travelling.

In most circumstances, we will gain knowledge of a delay in good time. As soon as we are aware that there is a problem, we would contact you to explain the situation and offer a realistic arrival time. We would suggest ideas to the running sequence of the event to ensure minimal disruption; this may even include informing the adults dropping off the children to come 15 minutes later etc. We would ensure you have our mobile contact number so that you are able to converse with us at all times.

Will you keep control of the audience?

For your event to work and be memorable there needs to be structure. We provide this, from the moment the children arrive, until the moment they leave or are handed over to you for other planned activities.

For very young children (3's and under) they should be supervised at all times. Young children (especially siblings) are more than welcome to be part of either Nick or Stu's presentation and will be involved where possible. However, the responsibility of ensuring that young children are not running around where the animals are being presented rests with the parent/guardian of the child/children.

If a guest's behaviour begins to spoil the event for everyone else, then gentle but firm action will be taken with the last resort being exclusion.

We always provide a safe environment for audience members and our animals, if this is compromised then appropriate action will be taken immediately.

Please note, children aged 3 and under are required to be supervised at all times by a responsible adult.

How much space will you need?

We are flexible and can fit into most spaces that you can provide. Mostly our presentation will operate from an open area of 3m squared. As the show is very interactive, it is best if the children are seated in a semicircle on the floor in front of this. The presenter will move around in this space, and this gives everyone a great view. Observing adults may wish to stand behind them, or you could provide chairs if you wish. Thus, the total space required depends on the number of children and adults attending.

Ideally, the larger the room the better the show flows. Try to ensure there minimal clutter, as this can often distract children. If you are providing food we suggest having a separate eating area, or placing the food tables at the opposite end of the room to the show area.

If you wish to hire a venue with a stage, we will work in front of this, not on. If you are hiring a venue, it is your responsibility to ensure the owner knows the purpose of the party and that you are bringing in live exotic animals. In our experience most London restaurants and hotels have a general rule of excluding animals from their premises; Government offices - protected under the heritage act - are the same.

Some of the animals will be placed on the floor to show natural movement. You might encounter a skunk smelling your toes or experience a snake slithering across your legs.

Can the presentation be outdoors?

During the summer months and/or when the weather is very warm and dry, we can host the events outside. Please note that this is at the discretion of the presenter. You should always make sure you have an indoor alternative prepared in case of bad weather.

Can we take video or photos?

Yes, for private use.

We reserve the right to renegotiate our fee should images and/or footage be used for commercial publicity or broadcast.

Flash photography is acceptable and will not cause harm to any animals, but in moderation please.

Photography of a child requires consent from its parent. This is something you must establish especially if you plan to show your images/footage online.

How would your presentations work for our corporate function?

Depending on the type of function and the numbers attending, we can offer various ideas on how best to integrate our presentation into your corporate event.

  • As a stand alone presentation - this works well for smaller office based (or limited space) corporate events. We tend to be the main feature of the party and can present for families with either an hour's show or 90 minute show. With the longer show we will allow a break of up to 30 minutes for food (if required).
  • As an integrated presentation - this works well for events with other activities planned. When integrating us within your timetable, have dedicated sessions (20 - 30 mins) that we are 'presenting' with 'downtime' in between.
  • As a featured presentation - this works well if you are having general entertainment (balloon makers, face painters, crafts, disco, games etc.,) and you want a show (usually 60 minutes) where everyone stops and does one thing together.

It may be you have another idea which doesn't fit with the options mentioned above, why not give us a call and we will be happy to listen to your ideas.

Please note that with everything we do, we require a quiet and calm area which means the welfare of our animals is not compromised. In some cases this can be hard to achieve, especially when the event is happening in only one room. Where this is the case, opt for the featured presentation and have a 15 minute window of quiet prior to our presentation. This allows us to get into the room and set. Please allow a 10 minute window on the conclusion of the presentation to allow us to remove the animals and equipment.

Who should we invite to see the presentation?

Our presentations are suitable for as many children and adults as your venue can hold comfortably. With all our shows, children aged 3 years and under must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.

Animals appeal to all age groups and both genders. The commentary, questions asked and comments delivered are geared to be understood by young and old with plenty of audience participation and hands-on involvement.

Can you provide invitation artwork that we can print out?

We currently have 3 designs. These are available to download to your computer and print out at home or work. You are then able to fill in the details.

The invites look great at 13 cm x 18 cm and this allows you to fit 2 on a landscape A4 page to make printing easier and quicker.

The resolution is set at 300 DPI which means that they are sharp and professional looking.

For artwork reflecting a visit from Nick Spellman - AnimalMan -please click this link - invitation_artwork_for_Nick
For artwork reflecting a visit from Stuart Short - Ranger Stu - please click this link - invitation_artwork_for Stu
What timings do you suggest?

We are very adaptable to your timetable. We find that at least an hour long presentation is needed to allow the students a realistic chance to appreciate the various animals, and the presenter enough time to cover the topic being discussed.

You may feel that younger children would benefit from a shorter session of 30 or 45 minutes, which we can happily accommodate. We charge by the hour (or part of) and ask you to adhere to the following two conditions;

The shortest contract we can consider must be,

  • Minimum of an hour. (Either one hour long presentation, or two 30 minute slots.)
  • You must allow a realistic & fair amount of ‘downtime’ between each presentation. We appreciate that a school day involves a lunch hour where a presentation will not be possible. We do not charge for this break or the downtime between presentations.
What is the best way to divide the classes the year groups?

When considering the dynamics of dividing up your school, it is beneficial to ‘split’ Key Stage 2 into 2 sections, with lower – years 3 & 4 – from upper – years 5 & 6. Where possible, having a session with Key Stage 1, separate from nursery and foundation, is also beneficial to your students.

Although we have the stage craft and skill to present to large groups of children, keeping the amount of students in each session as low as possible will allow much more interaction.

For large schools, with 2 or 3 form intakes, we appreciate that there is simply not enough time in the day to facilitate this. Don’t worry we can cope with groups of 120+ children per session when required.

It may be that you only ask us to present for a year group, again as we charge per session, how you wish to divide the group is purely a matter of economics versus group size.

What topics do you cover and what animals do you bring?

We have a standard animal and natural history presentation, which encompasses 4 animal classes: birds, invertebrates, reptiles and mammals. During certain times of the year (summer months) we may also include amphibians when practical.

We have a wide menagerie of animals under our care. Although we cannot 100% guarantee the presence of any particular species, we are very consistent. Generally the most popular species with children are meerkats, skunks, tarantulas, snakes, lizards and owls.
In addition, we can tailor the presentation to encompass topics including – nocturnal and diurnal, similarities and differences, habitats, classifications, rainforests, life cycles, food chains etc. Our flexibility would even allow us to present one topic for one group, and a different topics for a second or third group all on the same day.

Do you provide extra information for teachers?

We appreciate your teachers may not have studied biology in great detail. To ensure the students gain as much as possible from the visit, we give you a PDF booklet - written by us - to fit with the National Curriculum. Contained within, you have student pages (which allow the students to explore some of the animal related questions) and teacher pages (which guide the teacher in using the correct vocabulary and advise on questions which may raise further questions). This booklet has been reviewed by a Zoologist and a Biologist to ensure it is as current and as accurate as possible.

What other presentations can you offer?

A visit from us is widely considered by staff and students as one of the school year’s ‘highlights’.  We are often engaged to host end of term fun days and reward days. We have also been invited to take part in science week, inspired writing week, art week and even book week.

We are a great addition to any school fete, but some school PTA’s have opted to host a BBQ instead. This idea works well if you are struggling to get assistants to commit time to helping. It is a great way to bring children, parents and teachers together informally and raise funds for equipment. Everyone will have a great time, and we can present the shows either side of the food.

Last year, one school had a ‘leaver’s party’ for Year 6 and hosted a ‘sleepover’ in the school hall. The idea came from the fact that some of the children had attended a Dino-Snores event (overnight sleepover) at the Natural History Museum, where Nick presents a show in the morning. Nick got the party started by providing their evening entertainment. It was a wonderful way for the students to remember their school and say ‘bon voyage’ to friends and teachers before they moved on.

Bad weather and contingency plans

When bad weather is forecast we usually have fair warning and would contact with you to discuss this in more detail.

As we carry a wide selection of live animals (some of which must be maintained at carefully controlled temperatures), our likely-hood of being able to travel to the venue and return back to base has to be carefully considered. In addition, we need to ensure that:-

  • Your invited guests are able to attend in a number you consider worthwhile,
  • That the venue has the necessary resources to provide heat, light, water and shelter for the animals and your guests,
  • That pedestrian access allows safe passage from the vehicle to the premises.

Postponing the engagement due to snow.

On the day of the engagement you have the right to postpone the presentation prior to the artiste leaving their base, and without incurring any additional fees on the understanding that;

  • An agreement for the postponement is reached between client and artiste owing to snow preventing safe travel for the guests and artiste,
  • And that you are going to proceed with a rescheduled party with AnimalMan Limited on another day.

Proceeding with the engagement when snow is forecast.

If you wish to proceed with the engagement and snow is forecast, then we will always try to get to you. In the result that;

i: The artiste deems the traveling too dangerous:-

If, whilst traveling to you, we deem the roads are simply 'too dangerous', then we will contact you. Equally, if weather warnings advise that the roads will deteriorate drastically over the following few hours, which would prevent us from returning safely to base, we will contact you. In these circumstances we would offer to complete the presentation at a later date (practical to both artiste and client) at the agreed fee and regardless of the day of the week. Alternatively, you have the right to cancel the booking without you incurring cancellation charges.

ii: The client cancels after the artiste leaves base:-

[a] If we leave base to travel to you and you decide to postpone the booking due to heavy snow fall, you will be liable to a percentage of the fee. This is calculated by the amount of distance we have travelled to you. The rescheduled show will be charged at the full contracted fee.

[b] If you choose to cancel without rescheduling then you will be charged the full amount of the show fee.

When severe weather is forecast, you will be provided with a mobile number. This will allow you to keep in-contact whilst the artiste attempts to complete the journey.

Can you recommend any face painters?

Having had the privilege of hosting many birthday parties, and other events, we had worked alongside a number of face-painters. Here's we rate highly:

Lynn Jackson 
Phone: 020 8749 0067
Website: Face-FX.co.uk

Please Note Animal Parties feature these name out of professional courtesy and accept no responsibility for the engagement or contract you may make.

Can you recommend another presenter similar to yourselves?

If you are outside the areas we cover, or if we are unavailable of your desired date, we can give you the names of other animal event companies. Please note we cannot personally recommend these companies, as we have not seen their shows. It will be your responsibility to check they have current CRB certificates, licences and insurance.

Who do we contact regarding media work?

For initial enquiries feel free to contact Nick on 07971 282 666 or nick@animalman.co.uk.

 

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Donations

If you have enjoyed our presentations, you may want to contribute to our on-going work. Keeping the animals and maintaining our menagerie does cost a lot of money (and time).

Many of you know that Stu and I are about to embark on a new venture - A Community Zoo - at a Council run park in East Herts. This ambitious project will be free for everyone and will be maintained by our continued off-sight presentations, future donations and other such sources of finance. Any monies received, once we embark on this next stage of our work, will be used to help us fund the initial build with future donations being used to help with the education of patrons visiting the park. It is our hope that we will become profitable in a short time (owing to volunteers and outside investment) and we will look to use future donations to support other worthwhile ventures in the caring of animals in the UK and further afield.

If you would like to contribute to this, we would be most grateful. Our Pay Pal account is fixed to £20.00, which is also used by clients paying the deposit for our parties. If you think that this is an acceptable amount, then please click here.

You may want to contribute another amount, which we will welcome gladly! You don’t have to have a Pay Pal account as this system allows payment from a debit or credit card also.

Once the project is open, we will let you know via one of our multi media platforms (www.facebook.com/AnimalManUK) and will look forward to seeing you in person and showing you round.

Thank you.