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The Basics of Petting Zoo Fundraisers

5 Essentials for Planning a Petting Zoo Fundraiser

In terms of planning, a petting zoo is pretty simple. However, there are a couple of things you definitely need to make yours successful. Here are the petting zoo fundraiser essentials: 

  1. Animals. What’s a petting zoo without animals? If your organization has its own animals such as an animal shelter, it might make sense to use your own animals to keep costs down. However, petting zoos usually feature farm animals, so you may want to reach out to a local farm or zoo to see if you can rent the animals at a discounted rate.
  2. An outdoor space. It’s best to keep the animals outside where they’re used to being. Additionally, being outdoors provides more space for both the animals and the attendees of the event. Think about using a local park or field as your venue.
  3. A place to keep the animals. Your petting zoo would be a disaster if all the animals ran away, so it’s important to make sure they’re safe and secure in an enclosed area. See if the people you’re renting the animals from have their own pens they can bring or look into fencing options.
  4. A fundraising plan. The easiest way to raise money at your event is by charging a small fee for admission, but there are other ways you can fundraise. For example, you could charge extra for additional experiences such as a pony ride or set out some donation buckets for anyone wanting to contribute more.
  5. A marketing plan. It would be a shame if you planned such a great petting zoo event and no one showed up! Make sure to spread the word using multiple marketing platforms. Post on social media, send out an email newsletter, and hang up flyers to let your community know about your event.

Tips for Hosting an Amazing Petting Zoo Fundraiser 

To ensure that your petting zoo fundraiser is successful and fun for everyone involved, try to follow these best practices: 

  1. Schedule your event when people are available to attend with their families such as a weekend afternoon. Additionally, make sure you pick a day with great weather so you can host the event outside. Spring or fall would probably be best for this type of event.
  2. Let families feed the animals by providing them with the appropriate pet food.
  3. Advertise the local farm or zoo that loaned you the animals to thank them for working with you.
  4. Offer snacks and refreshments for purchase. If your event is in the fall, you could even provide themed treats such as candy apples and apple cider.
  5. Bring in local animal experts like vets or zookeepers that can educate the kids about the different animals.

Best Animals for a Petting Zoo

When thinking about planning your petting zoo, it’s important that the experience of your attendees is at the forefront. Choosing the wrong animals for a petting zoo could not only be unpleasant but also unsafe for families and their children. Here are animals that petting zoos typically feature: 

  1. Sheep. It’s not every day that kids get to see a sheep up close. They’ll love how fluffy and soft they are to pet.
  2. Pigs. One of the first animals you learn about as a kid is a pig. Kids will enjoy seeing the pink creatures in real life.
  3. Goats. Goats are playful and fun for kids, making them a great petting zoo animal. 
  4. Dogs. Dogs are familiar animals for kids and could be comforting if they’re scared of the other animals. Additionally, they are easy to find, especially if you already have them at your animal shelter or rescue.
  5. Turtles. These gentle creatures are calm and collected, which is great for this type of event. Kids will love seeing and learning about how they are different from other animals since they have hard shells.

Extra Ways to Fundraise at Your Petting Zoo

Beyond meeting the animals, there are other experiences you can offer to families that will help you raise a little extra money for your cause. Check out our ideas:

  • Offer pony rides as an extra activity for an additional fee.
  • Take pictures of the kids with their favorite animals that families can purchase after the event.
  • Sell snacks and refreshments at the event.
  • Sell t-shirts that feature your organization or commemorate the event. 
  • Organize a raffle with donated prizes like tickets to a local zoo or a free tour of a local farm.