Animals for Kids' Parties

Parent Q&A

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  • I'm currently trying to plan a birthday party for my son who is turning 1 this February. It’s a family tradition to have a petting zoo.  Do you know of any parks near Berkeley where we might be able to host such a party? 

    Thanks in advance!

    Another possibility would be to host it at Children's Fairyland in Oakland, which is nursery-tale-themed, already has animals, and also has toddler rides and puppet shows (and a pirate ship!).  We did one of my daughter's birthday parties there when she was 2 or 3.  Great fun.  There are picnic tables that can be used for parties.

    I don’t know if it’s in the area you’re looking for, but in El Cerrito, there is a park off Moeser called ‘Cerrito Vista Park’. It has the main level of the park with the baseball fields & play ground. Then it has a smaller upper level with a lot of picnic benches & a good sized grassy area.

    We live near by, & have see lots of parties there - ones with jumpy houses & even petting zoos. 

    I don’t know if you have to book it with the city, but El Cerrito is pretty cool & easy to reach/deal with. 

    Hope that helps! 

  • ARF birthday party

    (2 replies)

    Hi! Any firsthand (or guest-hand) reviews of birthday parties at ARF in Walnut Creek? It is pricy but those of us with winter birthday kids end up having to pay for indoor venues... thinking about this for my 8 year old girl. Also wondering if guests will come to Walnut Creek from the EC/Richmond area. How far would you drive for a cool/different birthday party?


    I don't know about ARF, but the East Bay SPCA in Oakland does them. We had my daughter's 8th there and the kids loved it. 

    We had my daughters 9th birthday party at ARF a couple of years ago. It was quite well done, a party room with host, tour of the facility, meet and greet with adoptable dog, and craft time making enrichment toys for the cats. A mix of our Walnut Creek and Richmond friends came. Parents who are animal lovers said they wanted to stay for the tour of the non public areas and it was pretty awesome to see the operating room of the vet. Another option is the animal theme party at the Lawrence hall of science. We did that for 10th birthday. Lots of different types of critters, and admission for the day. The Walnut Creek folks made the drive out for that. Happy planning!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Editor Note: Bunny Central is recommended many times below. Sadly, the owner, Georgia Williams, passed away in June 2016.  

March 2012

Re: Birthday party entertainment for a 7 year old
Our 8 year old just had a birthday party at our house with 'Lick your eyeballs' as the entertainment (the name refers to the way geckos without eyelids clean their eyes). The kids were all fascinated by the creatures they brought - geckos, tarantulas, frogs, toads, turtles, snakes, hissing cockroaches, a giant monitor lizard, and maybe some other creatures I'm forgetting. Their website,, has photos of the kinds of animals to expect. The kids get to touch, hold, and even feed some of the animals. Nick and Audra, the presenters, were excellent with the children and presented lots of interesting information at a level the kids enjoyed. They really made it a memorable party. Two of the guests at our party hired Lick your eyeballs for their own parties within weeks! Their contact information is LickYourEyeballs [at]

Petting Zoo or Fur, Scales, and Tails Animal Show?

June 2011

I am having a birthday party for my 1 year old and can't decide whether to have a petting zoo or the Fur, Scales, and Tails Animal Show. There will be about 20 kids. The majority of the kids will be between the ages of 2-6. Thanks. anon

We went to a 4 year old birthday party a couple of years ago and they used Fur, Scales, and Tails Animal Show. The kids loved the show and the 'entertainer' was very adept with the kids. I would definitely recommend them. Anon

Entertainer for 6th Birthday

Dec 2010

We recently had my daughter's 5th, and we had Georgia Williams -- the Bunny Lady come over for entertainment. The kids loved it. There was a magical hush over the group for 45 minutes while the bunny lady showed off the bunnies and talked about them. She brought about sixty of her super cute pets, in cages, and set up a sort of corral. The kids got to be in the corral with the bunnies hopping around. They got to stroke and feed the bunnies. It was amazing! Here is her contact info and website: Phone: 925-680-4770 a happy host

Thank you to the 'recommender' last week who recommended Bunny Central's bunny petting zoos. One small clarification however. I bring lots of rabbits and bunnies, 4 breeds, many ages and colors but not 60! I bring between 15 and 20 plus babies when I have them available. People are amazed I bring that many ;-) Parties are good for all ages. Thanks for thinking of me. Georgia Georgia W

Recently our daughter had her 4th birthday and we invited the Bunny Lady to her party. It was such an amazing time. We had what must have been over 30 bunnies arrive and hang out in our yard. Georgia set up a pen and gently guided the children on the proper ways to pet or hold or feed the bunnies. It was a very magical time and I cannot recommend her highly enough. Steve

You can find more details about Georgia and her parties here: ... for Bunny Birthday Parties, small animal petting zoo, educational events and School/Benefit Events. Bunny Lady Fan

Entertainer for 4 year old's birthday

Feb 2010

I have had friends use Georgia Williams at Bunny Central, do parties for them and they were very happy - the kids loved it. She can entertain kids from one to teens with her adorable live rabbits and fun personality. Kind of a petting zoo / educational event. She does community events, personal parties and schools. Her website is ... Lisa

Pony rides or petting zoo for hire? - Toddler(s)

Feb 2010

Hello BPN, Do you have recommendations for pony rides or petting zoo for hire? I am having a toddler birthday party at the end of this month, (feb 2010) and would love to have pony rides or a mini petting zoo type event. Thank you in advance for any recommendations you may have. Carol

Georgia the Bunny Lady is great! She is about to do my daughter's party for the 2nd year in a row. Very nice woman and could anything be more fun than hanging out with over a dozen bunnies? She creates a safe fenced-in area for the kids to sit with the bunnies and enjoy them hopping around as well as getting a chance to feed and pet them. It was an engaging 45 to 60 minute activity and the kids were pretty enraptured just watching her set up beforehand. She can set up indoors or out so that was nice as we planned for outside but I was relieved knowing that the plan could work even if it rained. Also, we just had bunnies but I believe she has other animals, too. I cut and pasted this from her website: Here's her contact info: Georgia, 925-680-4770 ... * ... for Bunny Birthday Parties, small animal petting zoo, educational events and School/Benefit Events. Have a great party, Susan

I hired a guy named Michael Faust, he has both a petting zoo and pony rides with a cart, and he can also do a magic show. He has been providing the petting zoo and pony to our church functions for many years. I don't have the phone number anymore, but you can contact him through his wife:

Sari Mitchell Fun with Animals PO Box 198 Brookdale, CA 95007

Bunny and other creature birthday party

Jan 2010

I am looking for a person or company that does birthday parties at my home with the theme of bunny and similar creatures. I will coordinate the party and only need a little show or entertainment with a few creatures. My daughter wants the animal party at Lawrence Hall of Science but the center is far from our home. If you have a recommendation from past experience please respond. LT

This mobile petting zoo came to the carnival at the San Leandro library last summer, and it was great. Lots of animals, very tame and sweet; my kids had fun feeding them and even combing some of them. They will travel for parties. -Katie

My school carnival has used Tickle Me Petting Zoo of Brentwood. I don't know if they have a bunnies-only option, but they are worth asking. Alana

Try ''Fur Scales and Tails.'' If you google it, you can find the site pretty easily. I forgot the man's name,but he brings loads of animals to your house and does a great show with a lot of humor. He also needs very little room in which to work. Two years ago he charged $120, and was worth every penny. Good luck.

Birthday Parties with Animals

Nov 2008

Can anyone recommend someone who can bring pets or a petting zoo to a birthday party? My children would love to have a backyard bunny or other animal party in our backyard. allison

I highly recommend Georgia Williams and her bunnies: We had her visit for my daughter's 5th birthday party last April. She was on time and I thought reasonably priced. She has a variety of interesting rabbit breeds and she takes excellent care of them (and she teaches the kids to too). The kids AND the adults enjoyed them.

I highly recommend Georgia William. She raises bunnies and brings them to birthday parties. She brought 20 bunnies (including bunny babies) to my daughters 7th birthday party and since my daughter is a big bunny fan she was thrilled. She talks about the different kind of bunnies she has, bunny care and she let's the birthday child walk a bunny on a leash. Georgia adjusts the presentation to the kids age. She also sells bunnies or let's you ''rent'' a bunny at first to figure out if a bunny is something for you. Anyway, all the kids enjoyed seeing the bunnies and even the parents had fun. You can contact Georgia William at or call her at 925/6804770. alexandra

Looking to rent a petting zoo

Nov 2007

I am looking to rent a petting zoo for an event and want to know if anyone has a recommendation. diane

A couple of years ago we had Cartright parties come to the house. Mellow and sweet. They brought some geese, ducks, maybe a chicken, rabbit, guinea pig, sheep, and a little dog that did tricks with the sheep. The kids got to walk the sheep on our block - very exciting. Their contact info on the web is: CARTRIGHT PARTIES, 510-223-7249. 5529 Olinda Rd El Sobrante, CA 94803 (But there's also some indication that maybe they're no longer doing this? Worth a call.) Petting party person

April 2007

Re: Birthday Party Entertainer for 3-year-olds
Tracy Hill of Fur, Scales and Tails is wonderful for children's parties. The grown-ups have fun too. He has a collection of animals for the children to meet. He makes the introductions in a very educational and fun way for all. The kids get to pet almost all of the animals he brings (if they want to). I am looking forward to having him back again. You can reach Tracy at (510) 823-3923 & visit at Keley

Animal Birthday Party for a Three Year Old

March 2006

My almost three year old is crazy about animals. I'm looking for someone who could show up at her three year old birthday party (end of March) with a little petting zoo -- maybe a guinea pig, rabbit, hamsters -- and give a fun, age appropriate presentation. Anyone out here done this? I didn't see a lot in the archives and one well- recommended place, Cartright Parties in El Sobrante, doesn't seem to be around any longer. Any ideas?

I don't know of a local petting zoo business. But you could consider taking the kids to the animals and go to the Little Farm in Tilden Park. (Cows, sheep, pigs, bunnies, goats, chickens, ducks.) If you're lucky, weatherwise, you could do the cake there at one of the nearby picnic areas. If not, you could ask people to come back to your home. (Admittedly, maybe a bit far to drive.) The advantage is, it would be free! You could take the kids to the Merry-Go-Round in Tilden as well. (About a mile away.) See East Bay Regional Park District website for details, maps. Mary

My daughter had a 4 yr. old party with Tickle Me Pony Parties and Petting Zoo. She had pony rides down the sidewalk and a ''mini petting zoo'' which was perfect for the children who were shy of the ponies. The animals were very tame, even the rooster let my 18 month old toddler pet him. They were a little expensive, but they were willing to bring a larger petting zoo and set up in my garage if it was raining. Amy

The Oakland Zoo does birthday parties. The Lawrence Hall of Science also does animal parties but it's with a 4 year old minimum. anon

Hello, My daughter's 5th birthday was an animal theme and we had FUR, SCALES, and TAILS Animal shows come. It was fantastic! The children loved it. Tracy used to be a kindergartin teacher and he knows tons about kids. He has the animals you mentioned and more. The show is about an 1 hour, it is hands on and funny. Give him a call at 510 823-3923 or go to www.furscalesand Cherene

I got some great recommendations in response to my request for info re: people who will bring animal petting zoos to birthday parties. As of yet, I haven't used any of these folks, but wanted to make sure they get posted in case anyone else is looking for someone to come to their child's party:

RabbitEARS small critter adoption and rescue -- 510-525-6155 (will bring bunnies, guinea pigs, rats, dwarf hamsters -- very reasonably priced)

Tickle Me Pony Rides and Travelling Petting Zoo -- 925-756-7335 Little Party Animals -- 925-625-5261 My Party Pony -- 408-847-6242 (these are pricier and seem more elaborate with actual farm animals -- lambs, bunnies, ducks, potbellied pigs, turkeys) Alison

I didn't read the original post, but Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek does good animal parties.

My three year old daughter just had a really lovely animal birthday party with the help of Judy from Rabbit Ears Pet Supply. Judy brought several bunnies, hamsters, guinea pigs and did a very sweet, kid-oriented presentation. She showed the kids how to hold the animals and everyone got a turn to climb into the pen with them. Our party was at a local Albany park, but she could do this anywhere reasonably near her Kensington store. This was very reasonably priced at $60 an hour (she charged us $30 for half an hour). A wonderful deal in comparison to some of the other petting zoos I priced. For more info: contact Judy at 510-525-6155. Alison

Snakes & lizards for 4-y-o's party

Jan 2005

I am looking for someone who can provide snakes, lizards, frogs etc... for a 4 yr olds birthday party. Obviously am looking for a professional who can handle the animals and teach the children about them and let them pet the ones where it is safe to do so. Small group so am thinking they could come to our house but would also consider hosting the party at the location when the critters reside. Thanks! aek

Owen from the Berkeley Vivarium does great reptile shows for very reasonable rates. His shows are fun and educational. You can find them in the yellow pages under pets. Good luck! Eden

The Vivarium on 5th and Hearst does birthday party presentations as well as presentations for schools. They are not cheap, but they are complete, accurate, very knowledgable and handle all their creepy, crawlers kindly and safely. No venomous animals but the kids can also meet a millipede and a tarantula! I have had them come to my school to make a presentation and they came to a friend's son's birthday party. It was a big hit! Kathryn

Call the East Bay Vivarium to see if they have someone who can do an exhibit of snakes and lizards at a bday party. It's located on 5th street, behind the 4th street shopping area. Visiting the store is also a good treat for a child who has been patient with 4th street shopping. Walking around this *pet* store can really give you the chills! Whitney

There is a guy named ''Desert Dave'' who gives such parties. I don't know the cost, but some friends of ours used him for a party a couple of years ago and he and his animals were a big hit. He's at 415-456-5285. I think he books up fairly quickly, so call early to book him. Kim

I'm pretty sure the Vivarium in Berkeley (I think on 4th St) does parties. They have GREAT snakes, lizards, etc.

Take a look at Desert Dave performed at my son's birthday party last summer, and the show was a hit. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. thanson

Check out My son and I saw him do a show at our library, and he was great. Very knowledgeable and his animals looked healthy and beautiful. He seemed very comfortable with kids.Have fun! Ruth

I wonder if the Lawrence Hall of Science might be a good place for the party. I know they have a roomful of such animals, along with the requisite knowledgeable people. Check out the ''party animals'' listing at Karen

The East Bay Vivarium on 5th St. at Hearst in Berkeley (right above the 4th Street shops) brings their huge lizard, a monitor named Spot, to birthday parties for a fee. They might be able to help you with smaller reptiles, or refer you somewhere. Also, the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek is available for birthday parties (I think). --son loves reptiles

Hello, I work for Tree Frog Treks, a science education company that introduces children to live, rescued reptiles and amphibians. We offer a 1-hour ''Rockin' Reptiles and Amphibians'' Birthday Adventure Trek. We'd be happy to come to your home, and have lots of experience hosting fun, hands-on events for 4-year- olds. You can check out more information on our parties at, and see a partial list of the animal ambassadors we can bring at Or, just give us a call us at 415.876.FROG! Jessica

Hi there, My husband is Owen from the East Bay Vivarium (510-841-1400) and he's been doing birthday parties and classroom presentations for more than 20 years. His show features 20-25 reptiles, amphibians and bugs. It is loads of fun and completely safe. If your child has a specific interest in a particular reptile or subject matter (dinosaurs are a common request) he can customize the show in any way you would like. He always features the birthday child at the end of the show with a big finale. You can get more information at the East Bay Vivarium website By the way, you won't know true love until you've hugged Spot, the seven-foot monitor lizard! Thanks! Kimba

''Pet Party'' for 4 y.o.

September 2003

My daughter is turning four in a few months, and would love nothing more than to have a ''pet party.'' She is absolutely nuts about kittens, puppies and bunnies, and would be in heaven if she could have a party where they were somehow included (I know it's not the right season, but even juvenile animals would be great). Any ideas? Because her birthday is very close to the holiday chaos, I would prefer not to do anything at home. The weather is too iffy to plan anything outdoors. Her guests will likely include an equal number of boys and girls, including a few close family members in the 6 - 8 year-old age range. Are there any places that can accomodate anything like this? We would provide whatever level of adult supervision is needed. Any ideas of how to use stuffed animals if we come up short on the live front? I welcome any and all creative ideas, no matter how far-fetched they might seem. I'm stumped! Baffled Birthday Pet Party Planner

Hi, The Berkeley Humane Society actually does children's birthdays with their animals, but not necessarily kittens and puppies. anon

There is a wonderful woman at the East Bay - Berkeley Humane Society named Nancy Frensley. She does all of their dog trainings and has organized something called: ''Training Birthday Parties for Children and Adults'' It sounds perfect for your needs. You can reach Nancy at (510) 845-7735, extension 22 or email nfrensley at Have fun! Hilary

Check out the Junior Center of Art and Science on Lake Merritt in Oakland. They have several animals on the premises - a bunny, some turtles, fish and bugs. Their phone number is 839-5777 and their website is Anon

Sulphur Creek in Hayward, the Lindsay Museum in Walnut Creek and Lawrence Hall all have animal birthday parties for children that age. Sulphur Creek also rents animals. The Berkeley Humane Society has a dog training part for children over 8 (about the age that you could reasonably expect a child to be able to do that). A fun party a friend had: A birthday party for their dog and their dogs friends. ANon.

We just attended a ''dog party'' for a 5 y.o. that happened to have a couple of real dogs but didn't need to. The hosts had dog make-up, craft materials for making dog ears and dog tags, a play ''dog-house'' and a place to dig holes, just to name a few dog-related activities. So it seems like you could have a pet- party that didn't include the potential for trauma to live small- animals : ) if the kids play the part of the animals themselves.

It's a trek from the East Bay, but the Randall Junior Museum in San Francisco might just fit the bill. They have all sorts of pets, as I remember, from rabbits to snakes. I don't know what they do in terms of birthday parties, but you might call them at (415) 554-9605.