This is where the fun begins!
The Critter Keeper and his critter crew will arrive about 30 minutes prior to the start of your event. I bring a 2 x 4 table, and a number of bins and other types of temporary enclosures for the animals brought that day. I need several feet on all sides of the table.
On occasion, a coffee table or ottoman may have to be moved to provide more space and to alleviate safety concerns from sharp table corners. The area in front of a fireplace or widescreen TV will suffice. it is best to have all free-roaming pets such as dogs or cats put away. It is best for children (including the birthday child and his/her guests or siblings) to have an activity in another room until preparation for the show has completed.
Once setup is complete, the Critter Keeper will be ready to show some extra animals to the birthday child and his family and early arrivals. This is a great time to get some photographs, as the birthday child will have the opportunity to touch and hold some animals. While the additional children there will benefit by being able to see these animals up close, the animals that are shown are intended to be handled by the Critter Keeper, the birthday child, and his/her immediate family members. The number of animals that come out during this phase may number between three and six.
There will be children arriving for the party while this is going on, and it generally segues quite nicely with the beginning of the presentation itself. The last animal to come out during the pre-show will be held by all the children who want to participate at this time.
The presentation is about an hour long, and will encompass about a dozen animals, several magic tricks, and some pretty good surprises that are intended to get some screams and adrenaline pumping. At the beginning of the program, I go over some rules that will need to be followed to prevent injuries to the animals or the children, and to enhance the experience for everyone attending. The birthday child will be a prime participant in some of the magic and animal handling. There are opportunities for other guests to participate as well, and just because someone is an adult does not necessarily make them exempt!
The five Critter Keeper Rules
The five Critter Keeper Rules For Getting and Keeping an Animal are also emphasized, as are various life lessons. Frequently, the presentation is done with a Christian emphasis. If desired, speak with me directly. My goal in doing this is not necessarily to proselyte, but to reinforce values you are likely teaching your child at home anyway. The last animal to make an appearance is Julius Squeezer, a beautiful, 11 feet long, 50 pound albino Burmese python. There is usually no shortage of volunteers to help bring him out. The birthday child will be encouraged to take a photo with Julius and the Critter Keeper.
Payment in cash or check is due at the conclusion of the party. Gratuity is appreciated, but not expected. It will usually take me about 20 minutes to pre-stage the critters for travel. Total time at your home will likely be around two hours.
The next thing to expect is your child talking about this experience for the next year!