Birthday Party Frequently Asked Questions
If my guests have a Zoo Membership, do they still need to be included in my guest count?
Yes they do need to be included. Zoo memberships do not apply toward private special events such as birthday parties. If you are a current Zoo member, you will receive a discount off of the party package as a benefit of your membership.
Does the Birthday child get in free?
No. Any guest entering the Zoo and at your party must be included in your headcount; including the child that is celebrating their birthday.
Do I have to pay for parents?
Everyone 3 years of age or older MUST be a paying participant. This includes parents as well as children. Wristbands are required for all guests and will be presented by staff to the party host upon arrival.
Is there a minimum or maximum number of guests for a party?
There is no minimum and a 24 person maximum guest capacity, adults and/or children.
Why can’t I have a birthday party for my 2 year old?
Available goody bags and other party materials are designed to accommodate small children. Age requirements are set for the health and safety or our guests, so we cannot make exceptions for this rule.
Is my deposit refundable?
No. All deposits are non-refundable if you choose to cancel your party. However, you may transfer your party to another date if you wish to reschedule.
When is my final payment due?
Final payment is due on the Tuesday prior to your scheduled party along with your final headcount. Credit card information provided at time of booking will be used for remaining balance unless different credit card information is given.
What happens if it rains?
Parties go on rain or shine; however you may cancel due to weather on the scheduled day of your party up to 2 hours prior to your party time by calling 904-757-4463 ext. 109. The $50.00 deposit and cost of the birthday cake will be charged to you as the cakes are ordered several days in advance. Any later calls or cancelations will not receive a refund.
What food is included in the package?
All packages include your choice of Chocolate or Vanilla cake with white buttercream icing that has a collage of Zoo animals as the design. The cake will read “Happy Birthday (child’s name)” and the Zoo provides the candles. Individual cups of vanilla ice cream, juice boxes and bottled water are also included in all packages for the number of paid guests. If you choose our “Party Animal” or “Butterflies Flutter-by” package, then you would also have your choice of one of the following bag lunch options: hotdogs, corndogs, pbj crustables, hamburgers or chicken nuggets (one choice for the entire group). All options come with individual bags of chips.
Can we bring in food?
No. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens does not allow any outside food and/or beverages to be brought into any of our rental facilities or the Zoo. However, you are more than welcome to bring a picnic lunch and utilize the Zoo’s picnic area located at the far south end of the parking lot next to the Education Campus. We do not take reservations for the picnic area, as it is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please keep in mind that we do not allow any grilling in the picnic area.
What happens if extra people show up?
Please keep in mind that we have planned and provided food service for your party based on the number of people for whom you have prepaid. We are not able to provide any additional food service. Our party host will do their best to stretch the cake to accommodate additional guests but we cannot guarantee that additional guests will be served. Should you have additional guest show up you will be charged, with the credit card on file, at $25 per person.
What party decorations are provided?
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens provides all décor, tablecloths and tableware in a zoo theme. For the safety of our animals, balloons, streamers, piñatas, and confetti are not allowed. No outside decorations are permitted. We pre-decorate, so all you have to think about is the celebration! Your party host will also clean the room after your party, so you can head off to enjoy the Zoo worry-free.
Do you provide party invitations?
We do offer complimentary print at home invitations on our website that you are welcome to use. Download a copy of our birthday party invitations! Simply print, fold and fill them out. They can be handed out at school or put in an envelope to be mailed.
Where will my guest meet?
If you are starting your day with the party, please advise your guests to meet you at the Education Campus at the time of your scheduled party. If you are entering to Zoo prior to your private party advise your guests to meet you at the Zoo’s main entrance at the time you designate so you can meet them and pass out admission wristbands. We do not have or offer Will Call; you are responsible for passing out wristbands to your guests if you choose to enter the Zoo early.
Can the party exceed the allotted one (1) hour time slot?
No. We are unable to extend party times. Our parties are scheduled back to back with a brief cleaning/set-up time in between. Because of the quick turn around, you must adhere to the one hour allotted time. It is our experience that one hour is plenty of time for the private celebration and that children are excited and eager to enter the Zoo.
Can we schedule a guided tour of the Zoo?
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens can arrange for exciting Behind the Scenes Tours for guests five years of age and older. To schedule a tour, or for more information, please call 904-757-4463 ext. 120. Your group is also welcome to tour the Zoo at your leisure before or after your scheduled party time. A great tip is to plan your party activities around the regularly scheduled keeper talks that happen daily at the Zoo. If you plan wisely, your party can feel like one special experience after another, as there’s always More to See, More to Zoo at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens!