Petting zoo hire for your child’s birthday party is a once in a lifetime experience for most children (and, with such complex logistics, probably for most parents too. even if you have multiple children!) Chances are you have a child who has seen a similar petting zoo, maybe at your local markets where they saw a couple of happy lambs and maybe a cheeky little piglet, and begged you to bring that magic back to your own home. Woohoo.
Being a great parent, you don’t want to disappoint your child—so it’s now time to arm yourself with the answers to all the challenging questions raised when you, and your child, decide it’s time to hire a petting zoo.
Petting zoos make for a memorable event for kids and a truly unique experience for birthdays. But what does hosting a petting zoo actually demand of you? We’ve answered the most common questions we’ve been asked about petting zoo hire.
1. Can You Actually Hire a Petting Zoo for a Birthday?
A great and practical first question. You’ve seen them at your local market, but that was organised by professionals, right? You’re just a parent with a wishful-thinking child; surely petting zoos aren’t a real option? Well, the answer is yes, many petting zoos offer mobile hire packages specifically for kids birthday parties. But relax, a team of supervisors will help keep the animals under control and ensure your child gets the most out of the experience.
2. How Much Does It Cost?
Hiring a petting zoo isn’t just about making your child happy; we want to make the whole family happy, including Dad, so the price is an important deal-breaker for the parent managing the purse strings.
Typically, a mobile petting zoo hire costs around $400-$900 for a 2-hour party but is dependent on the number of animals you require. The fees cover your standard petting zoo, including around a dozen farm animals, fencing, insurance, flooring and professional supervision.
Animal size is the key factor affecting price. The bottom end of the price scale is catered towards ‘baby animals’ while those looking for alpacas will pay more. We recommend 2-3 hours as this will keep the cost manageable and fits with the average attention span for most small children. They will have moved onto the jumping castle by that stage.
3. Where Can You Bring a Petting Zoo?
Both your front or backyards are fine if accessible. Most companies provide floor covers for indoor spaces like a community hall. Make sure to ask before booking to confirm the minimum square metres needed for the farm set up and for children to run around and enjoy the experience. Also, note that a petting zoo does not have the required staff qualifications to babysit your children so responsible adults will need to be present. All other requirements and legal responsibilities, including cleaning stations, will be provided though.
4. How Big Is a Petting Zoo?
You’re in? Awesome, you will not regret it. Let’s get practical then. You’ll need a space somewhere between 4x4m and 6x6m for the zoo. This is ideal for 8-12 children to sit in a circle and pet the animals. If, as above, you are considering the additional services of a face painter or a bouncy castle then you will need to accommodate this space too.
Don’t have space? Most likely the grandparent’s backyard will be ideal.
5. What Animals Will I Get?
Above were questions for those doing the hiring, you! The following questions are the most important questions for your child.
Petting zoos have your common “farm”-type animals. So sheep, goats, rabbits, chickens (baby and full-grown), ducks, guinea pigs etc. You can step it up a notch with a party alpaca or pony if desired (note: if you suggest this option to your child you will have to follow through, so best keep it up your sleeve).
The term “farm” is in air quotes and generic enough to encompass a range of animals not found on most farms. Speaking of, really want to make your kids birthday unique? Some companies are now offering awesome experiences with reptiles or sharks (!) that are worth investigating.
6. What Are the Best Animals to Get?
This is a very personal question, with no right answer, but our answer is goats. They are the most cocksure and confident of the farm-type animals. Often (hilariously) surly, they need to be monitored as most children may be unaware of animal boundaries, but they will provide endless entertainment.
However, actual children lean towards baby animals and you ensure lots of oohing and aahing with baby chickens or ducklings. Again, kids will need to be monitored with tiny animals while sheep or goats will be more able to hold their own.
7. How Much Is Renting Just a Pony?
I know where you’re going; kids love ponies. Surely just a pony is easier and cheaper, right? Yes, you’re right on price (slightly cheaper) but you will need to consider more space for pony rides and personnel and safety equipment, which can add to the price tag.
But, if you are going down this path make sure to ask about a Unicorn upgrade for your ponies. Well worth it and the kids will go appropriately mental.
Petting Zoo Hire Is for You
The effort in hiring a petting zoo is minimal and mostly covered by the professionals. Once you’re past the practicals of cost and space there really isn’t any reason you shouldn’t commit and it will ensure a fantastic day for the kids. This will ensure 2 hours of freedom for you, and relief from children running around, breaking things and demanding their party bags.