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Generally, these programs are available weekdays, year-round. Both morning and afternoon time slots may be available.
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One of our most popular programs, Creature Comforts visits are intended to be life enrichment opportunities for residents of assisted living, memory care and other health care facilities, as well as active senior citizen groups. If you decide to reserve a program, a Zoo Educator will visit your site along with several Animal Ambassadors and a fascinating Animal Artifact. Educators take time to share stories, memories, or fun facts about the Animal Ambassadors and artifacts presented, while also encouraging safe touching opportunities!
Creature Comforts start at $100 (travel fees apply to all visits outside the Greater Lafayette Area) and includes a 45-minute presentation with 3 Animal Ambassadors and 1 animal artifact. For program quality and animal wellbeing, participation is limited to 25 persons per presentation (including facility staff and guests). An alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be provided after all touching opportunities.
This program can travel up to 60 minutes (one way) from Columbian Park Zoo. Travel fees apply to all visits outside of the Greater Lafayette area, and are billed based on round-trip travel time. For a travel fee quote, please contact us. Please note that longer travel times may reduce the variety of animals that could appear at your facility as some animals have a lower “time away” restrictions.
You can expect to meet 3 animals during your group presentation, but the specific animals you meet will be selected on the day of your program based on a variety of factors (including handler availability, weather considerations, training or veterinary schedules, and the animal’s choice of whether or not to participate). For this reason we cannot tell you in advance which animals you will meet, nor are we able to take special requests. Generally, you can expect to meet a variety of smaller, friendly Animal Ambassadors including small mammals (examples include chinchilla, rabbit, armadillo, guinea pig), birds (such as an owl or parrot), reptiles (such as lizards or small snakes), amphibians (frogs, salamanders), or invertebrate (friendly “bugs” like giant millipedes).
We often get asked for only “cute and cuddly” animals. Our mission is to promote an appreciation for ALL animals because they are all important in their own way. We believe every animal, just like every person, deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. We have found that including scaly and less traditional “cute” critters helps engage residents and provoke conversation, and maximizes our ability to offer touching opportunities. However, we recognize that some individuals have an aversion to certain animals and we respect personal boundaries. We never force any participant to touch or be close to an animal they do not wish to interact with!
If you have a resident with known phobia, or concerns about dementia-related aversive reactions, please discuss these prior to making your reservation. However, in the absence of these factors we strongly encourage you to give all of our Animal Ambassadors a chance. Staff members with a dislike of certain animals should plan to step out of the area while those are being presented. We will happily share with you at check-in which animals we have brought so that those planning decisions can be made.
An inside gathering area where the presenter can address the audience as a group. Ideally this area will be fully enclosed (not open to hallways or exterior doors).
The presentation space should not be used for food service during our visit for health and hygiene reasons.
No other animals should be present in the presentation space. Resident’s pets should not attend. Please remove and secure any facility dogs/cats/birds prior to our arrival.
Please seat your residents in a way that the presenter may move around the room to bring in-hand animals close to each participant for viewing and possible touching opportunities.
No special audio/visual equipment is required. Our presenters are used to speaking loudly! Sorry, we are unable to use hand-held microphones, headsets, or lapel mics due to animal safety concerns.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused businesses around the world to evaluate how best to protect their employees and the individuals they serve. We recognize that many facilities are returning to a “pre-pandemic normal,” while others continue to require a variety of measures including face coverings, vaccinations, social distancing, or rapid testing results for staff, visitors, and vendors. Prior to making your reservation, please discuss your facility’s current requirements with a reservation specialist to determine if they are compatible with the Zoo’s ability to comply.
Further, be aware that as part of the City of Lafayette municipal government, the Columbian Park Zoo is a public organization, rather than a private business. We adhere to all COVID-19 and public health parameters determined by the City of Lafayette.
At this time, the City of Lafayette is not requiring staff to wear facemasks, receive the COVID-19 vaccination, or disclose their vaccination status to the City. We cannot share the personal health information of our staff, including vaccination status or disease history, with you.
We cannot guarantee that your presenter will be a vaccinated individual, nor require the staff member to disclose that information directly to you.
Upon our arrival, if your facility indicates that any of these parameters are required in order for zoo staff to deliver the scheduled program, and the staff member refuses the request, your program will be automatically canceled and no refund will be issued.
All facilities are required to submit a signed acknowledgement of the COVID-19 and Public Health Policy prior to making their first reservation. This is to ensure we are all on the same page and so that we can avoid last minute cancellation that will disappoint your residents and be administratively costly.
Payment in full is due 30 days after your program date. We no longer require prepayment for this program. Payment can be made by check, organizational credit card, or through an online payment system. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
STEP 1: SIGN THE COVID POLICY ACKNOWLEGEMENT
Prior to making your first reservation, your facility must submit a signed acknowledgement of our COVID-19 and Public Health Policy. This is to ensure that we are all on the same page and to avoid last minute cancellations that will only disappoint your residents and create administrative costs on both ends. This acknowledgement may require recompletion annually, or more frequently if policies are updated.
Contact the Zoo Education Department at email@example.com to get the process started!
STEP 2: WE WILL SET YOU UP AS A CLIENT
Once your facility has submitted this acknowledgement, we will set your facility up in our reservation system, CivicRec, as an approved client for Creature Comforts. (You need not interact with CivicRec or maintain any facility accounts – it is simply the system we use internally to ensure we adhere to state accounting rules for publicly-owned institutions.)
Each facility can have a single organizational account. However, facilities with multiple wings (memory care, assisted living, etc) can have separate sub-accounts each with their own contact person if you prefer. Your invoice will list your facility, the sub-account (if applicable) for which the service was reserved, the fee billed for the reservation, and a total account balance which will reflect all open invoices for all sub-accounts. Sorry, we are unable to adjust the way your invoice appears. You can view a sample invoice on our website at the link here: https://www.lafayette.in.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14630/Creature-Comforts-Sample-Invoice-Explanation
STEP 3: RESERVE YOUR DATE AND TIME
Contact our Education Department at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your date and time. You can also reserve by phone by calling (765) 807-1555. We are a small team with a very busy program schedule, so we appreciate your patience in receiving a call back. Email is generally the most efficient way to reach us!
STEP 4: WE’LL INVOICE YOU
Once you have made a reservation, you will receive an invoice and a copy of our W-9 by email. This email will generally come from email@example.com or from firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send one invoice per visit date. This invoice will reflect a due date of 30 days after your scheduled visit. Facilities with unpaid balances more than 90 days past due will be unable to schedule additional programs until their account is brought up to date.
Please note, for facilities working within a larger parent corporation: We understand that some such facilities use an accounts payable system which requires account creation and submission of invoices through a third-party platform. We are happy to work with you to get the Zoo set up initially as an approved vendor and will provide a W-9 with each invoice. We can also provide a certificate of insurance upon request. However, we are unable to submit invoices through third-party website or vendor management systems – due to the volume and diversity of programs we book, we simply do not have the administrative manpower to track and manage multiple different submission systems. We will send the invoice to you, and you may submit it through your own internal AP system as necessary. Likewise, we are unable to hold invoices or send them to you on a specific schedule. All invoices will be created and sent within a few days of making your reservation. You may always request a duplicate copy at a later date if you misplace one, or another need arises and we can happily send it again.
If you need to cancel your reservation for any reason, please contact us by email at email@example.com at least 14 days in advance of your program date in order to be eligible for cancellation of your charges. For cancellations that are received less than 14 days out, for example a flu or COVID outbreak at your facility, please contact us as soon as possible. We will work with you to determine if a reschedule is possible. Although it is never our wish to require payment for services that were not received, ultimately we must also cover the costs of providing these programs. Cancellations without sufficient notice may still be responsible for charges.
We are no longer able to offer discounted multi-visit packages, unfortunately. Your facility is welcome to book single visits, or schedule monthly, bimonthly or other regular visits if you’d like – we will do our best to find a regular time slot that works well for all. Each visit is billed separately and no standing “subscription” in involved.