Animal Encounters is a children’s zoology class teaching urban kids the importance of the world’s wildlife and life sciences. Our dedication as true animal lovers inspires us to share our love of animals and nature with children to give them that love and appreciation for the world around us all. Our instructors are experienced and dynamic. We make our classes fun and incorporate all three learning styles into our curriculum – auditory, visual and kinesthetic elements – so all students can engage with the class. Animal Encounters has also been a wonderful way for autistic children to connect with our animals, too. All of our students have so much fun in the class that they don’t even realize how much they’re learning!
The best experience for us as instructors is to have a fearful child the first day grow into a confident animal lover like ourselves by the last class and bravely parade a snake around their neck or hold that slimy frog for their parents see. Those wonderful transformations are common occurrences in our classes. They really demonstrate that we’re doing what we love, and it’s making a difference in our corner of the world.
Animal Encounters is the best after school animal education class – bar none – so contact us today to see for yourself, and get this wonderful class started in your school!
Every class features a different animal or specific type of animals. We introduce the animal and teach the children about it, gearing it to their age level. We always emphasize not to handle animals in the wild or hurt them either. Next the children are shown how to safely handle all the animals under the guidance of the instructor. Then we proceed to an art project (most are designed by an art professional) tying into the featured animal. Sometimes we play a related game. At the end if there’s time left over, the kids can have second turns handling the animals.
We educate based on the age level of the students enrolled that session. Students learn about the featured animal’s natural habitat, diet, care, interesting facts, camouflage, protection, etc. Students come away from the class with a thorough understanding of concepts like omnivore, nocturnal, coldblooded, what makes an animal a reptile, why mammals have fur, etc. Everything they learn will tie right into their school science curriculum. We always emphasize not to handle or remove animals in the wild, but we don’t want hurt them either. Having children introduced to live, kid-friendly animals at an early age helps alleviate fear, teaches children how to properly interact with our animal friends, instills values of respect for all living creatures, and fostering the next generation of stewards of the animal kingdom.
Reptacular Animals currently has over 500 animals and has 3 locations serving all of southern California. We have the largest variety of kid-friendly animals of any company by far! By having so many different animals we always have new animals to share with the kids so the class always stays fresh and exciting. Our animals include exotic reptiles, furry critters, spectacular parrots, and farm animals. Please check out our animal galleries to meet many of our pets! All of our animals are a part of our Reptacular family and have been raised with love and expertise. Each class features a different animal or type of animals. We make sure every session includes a wide variety of animals so there is something for every student.
While other animal education companies only provide the kids coloring pages as a way to keep the students busy, we engage our students with high-quality art projects. We collaborate with a professional children’s art educator for our unique projects. The students create amazing projects corresponding to the featured animal of the day as a memento to take home. Some examples include imitating patterns from a tortoise’s shell, figuring out how to paint the texture of a chinchilla’s fur, or creating a parrot that balances on your finger.
We also like to mix it up in order to address different interests of our students. Sometimes instead of an art project, we play games based on the featured animal of the day. A super popular one is the Great Hamster Ball Race! Sometimes on Hamster Day we put our adorable fluffy friends in their hamster balls, and off they go! It’s more like an insanely funny version of bumper cars with hamsters going in every direction trying to cross our taped off finish line. Some hamsters stop to wash their face or even take a nap! Hamster day is always a favorite one with the students!
General Class Information
Time, Session Length, Minimums & Maximums
Animal Encounters meets for one hour every week. Most schools have 3 sessions of after school classes that run fall (September to December), winter (January to spring break), and spring (after spring break to June). We suggest running a longer session because it gives the students a clearer understanding behind the diversity of the animal world. However, we can work with whatever schedule your school’s current after school enrichment program has.
We require at least 10 students to run a class. In order to optimize the hands-on experience for the students we limit the class at 15-20 kids, depending on their age level. With sign-ups over 20 (especially at new schools) we have an option to enroll more students by providing an assistant or offer a second class to ensure low a teacher/student ratio.
Every session includes different animals since our class is so popular we always have many repeat students. Of course a few favorites are always requested and brought back every so often but never in the same session. We find that the kids love this class, and we encourage the school offer Animal Encounters all year along rather than skipping sessions.
We normally run the Animal Encounters class all around the greater Los Angeles area. If a school is farther than 30 miles away from our headquarters in the Burbank area, we might still run the class but have a higher minimum of enrollment to offset travel expenses for the instructor.
We need the campus to provide a space for the class to meet. A private classroom works best for us. We can hold the class in a multi-purpose room or outdoors if needed, but tables and chairs are always necessary. Also by not having a private classroom, animals always attract a lot of interested bystanders and can deter attention from the class for the enrolled students. And art projects can be challenging outdoors as well.
Target Age Group
Our standard Animal Encounters classes are designed for elementary students from kindergarten to fifth grade. We gear the educational material and projects for the actual capability of students who sign up each session. We also modify our program for preschoolers and older students, too!
We always strive to keep our class prices very affordable, allowing students of all economic backgrounds to be able to enroll in the class. Class prices generally run between $10-15 per student per class. Price is determined by a few factors such as:
- Would your school want a percentage donated back?
- Would your school want to charge on top of our price to earn money?
- Would we be supplying signup fliers?
- Would your school like to work with an enrichment company called ACE that runs not only our class but offers a wide variety of great classes?
- Would your school like to take advantage of an online signup center through an enrichment company? (It accepts credit cards and has to charge a little extra to cover the additional cost.)
Please contact us so we can determine what would work the best for your school. We will get you the best price! We know from student, parent, and school feedback, we offer the best value around – having the most variety of animals, engaging and unique art projects, exceptional instructors, and very competitive prices.
Lauren and Jennifer, the owners of Reptacular Animals, love sharing their beloved pets with excited children. We hire amazing teachers that feel the same way and love what they do! All instructors work in Reptacular Animals that runs Animal Encounters classes as well as performing hands-on animal shows for birthday parties, schools, and events. By being an entertainer as well as an educator each dynamic instructor is great with kids and loves the animals! We prefer to hire career-minded, fun, energetic college students majoring in education or animal sciences. Animal Encounters has run classes at over 40 private, charter, and public schools in the greater Los Angeles area. We’ve also serviced hundreds of schools and preschools through our shows and camp classes.
All instructors have passed a Live Scan and TB test. A copy can be provided on request.
Reptacular Animals carries a $2 million dollar liability policy. Please feel free to ask for a copy. If your school wants to be added as an additional insured, we can definitely do it but our insurance company charges to do so.
Benefits To Your School
Earn Money for Your School
Animal Encounters is not only a wonderful experience for your students, but it is also a great way to earn money for your school! Some schools ask that we donate back a percentage of our proceeds to the school. Other schools prefer to pay us and then charge a little extra to earn money for the school.
Animal Shows & Auction Donations
We like to continue to strengthen our relationship with schools that run the Animal Encounters class. As our way of saying thanks we offer a 10% discount off any of our animal shows or petting zoos. We also receive many requests from local schools to donate to their fundraisers. We reserve that privilege for our schools that run Animal Encounters, and we are happy to support your school by donating to your silent auction, fundraiser, etc.
Beyond After School Enrichment
Kids of all ages love animals and early childhood interaction with animals is very beneficial. Therefore we have developed a special Animal Encounters class for preschoolers. At schools that include preschoolers, we can offer a preschool-only class and then have a second class for the elementary students on the same day back-to-back. This preschool class is structured the same as the elementary class: instruction, animal handling, art project or game, and takes place after school where the parents sign up for the class. We also offer a preschool animal interaction program that is a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. This 30-minute, hands-on animal experience takes place during the school day and is paid for by the preschool. We bring in different animal(s) each time, and the children learn about and spend the whole time handling the animals.
Animal Encounters is also great for summer camps! We have run the class at many camps, including the Summer Art Academy in Valley Village and Agoura Hills for many years now. The camp class or workshop is just like the one-hour after school class. In addition we can do half-day camp classes.