Birthday Party Animal Experiences for Kids

Get a little wild at your next party!

Guests who attended Ella Marscin’s fifth birthday party came to one consensus — the party was epic! That’s mostly due to an appearance by the star of the show at Ella’s Hoffman Estates home: Steve the sloth. Yes, an actual, real live sloth!

Ella’s mom, Amanda, says she “went all out” for her daughter, who has a soft spot for even the tiniest of creatures after her many hours of watching “Wild Kratts” on PBS.

“Initially I thought it was a crazy idea, but when I Googled sloth birthday parties, I saw that they were a thing,” she says. “We’ve never done big things like this for her birthday, but I figured ‘why not’?”

Luckily, there are a growing number of Chicagoland-based services that bring sloths and other animals on the road for birthday celebrations. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites.

Note: We’re updating our website as quickly as we can, but changes may occur due to COVID-19. Please double check before heading out for the most updated information on safety precautions, vaccine requirements and any last-minute cancellations.

Animal Quest: Education Through Entertainment

Husband and wife duo Steve and Jessica Reedy, who met while working at a zoo, have shared their love for animals at more than 3,000 events since they started Animal Quest in 2011. The most popular birthday party package includes an interactive show and petting zoo, featuring a selection of their animals, which range from hedgehogs, tortoises and snakes to chickens, goats and bunnies.

Flying Fox Conservation Fund

The hour-long “Mammals and More” program includes an encounter with Steve the sloth, plus seven other animals. Choose from a selection of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects. At the party, the birthday child can feed Steve his favorite treat – sweet potatoes – while other guests can pet his back and snap selfies. Additionally, Scott Heinrichs, founder and director of Flying Fox Conservation Fund and a former bat keeper, teaches guests about the habits and demeanor of sloths.

Forest View Farms

If you supply the children, this family-friendly horse farm and petting zoo will bring everything else for a wild west themed party. The package includes hand-led rides on two ponies and a petting farm with animals like goats, sheep and ducks. Kids can pet and feed the animals.

Scales & Tales Traveling Zoo

Birthday guests can interact with Xena, the Central American two-toed sloth, in addition to seven other animals with the most adorable names. They also have other child-favorite animals to choose from.

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Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is an award-winning journalist and bestselling children's book author. She is the mom of three little ladies who keep her on her toes.
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