Animal Parties officially launched back in 2000. However, its origins began a decade earlier when Nick presented his first animal encounter for a group of Cub Scouts. From this initial show, Nick began dreaming of growing his collection of animals and sustaining them through a viable business. He was also aware that he needed more than just animals to set himself apart from the rest.
Therefore, he took opportunities to work in television and tour with theatre productions, where he began learning the art of entertaining professionally. Throughout this period, between contracts, Nick continued to entertain at private parties with his increasing menagerie of animals. However in 2000, with his young family in mind, Nick decided he was ready to launch Animal Parties and to focus his experience into his venture. Based in Hertfordshire, Nick, Stu and the team maintains a wide collection of animals including birds, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and mammals.
Our Birthday Packages
Our presentations are designed to give children aged from 4 years and above chances to learn more about many of our fabulous exotic animals. We allow plenty of opportunities for the birthday child/children and their friends to handle live species including; Birds, Invertebrates, Reptiles and Mammals. We have a frequently asked questions section to help you plan a child's birthday party with animals.
Schools and other events
The presentations can be tailored to suit most events from school visits, PTA fetes, clubs, organisations and corporate events. Navigate, via this link, to find out how to integrate an animal presentation for schools in London.
We have detailed the costs involved for travel to the London Boroughs and counties within this website.
The welfare of our animals is our primary concern. We limit travel from our zoo to a venue to a maximum of 3 hours. Our zoo is based in East Herts so we hope that you are in range. To find out more about how Animal Parties started with Nick Spellman and how Ranger Stuart Short became Nick’s business partner, click here.
Nick has a background in performing and presenting. He has acted in the West End, presented his own animal show on The Disney Channel, and has appeared in numerous stage shows/pantomimes alongside The Chuckle Brothers, Keith Harris (& Orville) and Dave Benson-Phillips. This has provided a solid traditional 'schooling' for his unique talent.
Throughout his childhood Nick had a huge love of animals, but he never dreamed that he would be able to combine his passion for performing and working with animals. He has successfully been doing this to high acclaim for over 30 years.
Nick presents for the Natural History Museum's Dino Snores and at numerous National Geographic events. He was the children's entertainer for private clients at Hamleys for 10 years, and presented at Conkers every Easter and Summer holiday for 5 years.
Nick's experience is unrivalled and he was awarded the title of "The Best Animal Handler & Presenter (England)" in the independent LUX 2018 Global Entertainment Awards. Further independent endorsements and plaudits can be seen at:-
Timeout - 'London for Children' guide.
Tatler - 'Party Guide'.
Gwyneth Paltrow features Nick in her 'GOOP' app.
Angel and Urchins rated him 5 out of 5.
Stu's love of animals can be traced back to one of his first memories - cuddling a guinea pig at a farm as a 3 year old! Throughout his childhood Stu had a wide variety of animals including rodents, fish, frogs, and reptiles. He even hid pygmy mice from his parents. Behind the scenes Stuart lives with his wife Kayleigh and sons Jacob and Oliver where they share their home with many interesting and unusual pets, however, a recent addition has truly stolen all hearts. They have rescued a blind, abandoned, Romanian street dog called Ralph.
In 2007 Stu graduated from college with a diploma in Animal Management, and initially teamed up with Nick as an Assistant Animal Carer. Nick soon realised that Stu's fun and friendly nature would lend itself to presenting for children.
Stu spent 2 years as an apprentice to Nick. He learnt how to run a successful party whilst ensuring the animals and children's welfare were not compromised.
Stu's bubbly manner has brought him several television and radio appearances: Numerous appearances on Channel 4's 'Sunday Brunch', as an animal expert on a Herts FM programme, a special guest presenting our animals for the DVD called 'Duggie Dug Dug Goes Wild' and as an animal handler for 'Liza Tarbuck's Pet Nation' on Sky One.
Stu has recently embarked on a mission to get the public interested in one of his favourite animals, the Tenrec. This unusual Madagascan animal accompanies Stu on his presentation and Stu has written magazine articles, taken them on live tv and also presented a lecture at London's Natural History Museum on these amazing creatures.
Stu has a wealth of knowledge on animals - extinct and extant - and an encyclopedic memory when it comes to facts, make him a firm favourite with older children.
Behind the scenes
In 2016, Nick and Stu began building Cedars Nature Centre, their own Community Zoo. Cedars Nature Centre is based in the historic grounds of Cedars Park in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire. Together, with an extraordinary amount of hard work, Nick and Stu managed to fund, build, and licence their small species zoo.
Since opening in August 2017, it is estimated that over 100,000 patrons have been through the gates.
Created as a place where anyone from any background or ability can learn about the natural world, Cedars Nature Centre is free to Special Educational Need patrons and children under 2 years of age, with a minimal charge of £2 for adults and £1 for children (that includes unlimited entry for the day) to ensure it’s as inclusive as possible.
All the favourites such as meerkats, owls, skunks and reptiles are found here alongside the more unusual species such as zorilla and tenrecs. There is a lot to discover, with ‘Keeper Talks’, ‘Meet and Greets’ and ‘Feeding Times’ every 45 minutes.
For more information click here