Party animals can soon rent out barn at Volo Museum

Brian Grams remembers when a particular building on the grounds of the Volo Museum was the bane of his existence.

"Right over there is where I was spit on by a llama," he said during a recent tour of his latest project. "I have a scar on my right hand where a rabbit bit me. I was bucked in the face by a horse. My brother Jay and I had to clean out the stalls. So, as a kid, yeah, not a lot of fond memories in this building."

But all of that is about to change. Today, what once was an animal barn just east of the ticketing area at the Volo Museum is fast becoming a party barn. The roughly 1,300-square-foot building is undergoing a no-expense-spared facelift. The Grams family is investing about $300,000 into flooring, insulation, plumbing, a kitchen, a high-quality sound-deadening dividing wall and more.

"We'll have two smaller party rooms available, or one larger one," said Grams, director of the museum, 27582 Volo Village Road, Volo.

Groups can rent one of the two 24-foot-by-20-foot spaces or both, with the divider retracted, for a 24-by-40-foot space.

Starting this March, standard party packages will be available for groups of 15, 30 or 45 people. Each package includes one hour in the private room, pizza made fresh in-house from Buddyz Pizzeria-supplied stock, soda, all-day admission passes, a party hostess, tables, chairs, plates and napkins, plus five game or ride tokens for the guest of honor, as well as cleanup.

Additionally, the museum is on the cusp of acquiring a liquor license, Grams said. He anticipates that by March, alcoholic beverages also will be available for purchase.

Pricing ranges from $395 for a group of 15 with admission to Jurassic Gardens, to $895 for a group of 30 with admission to the Volo Museum, and $1,895 for a group of 45 with admission to both.

Availability will be on a first-reserved, first-serve basis, with openings daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

An upcoming contest will be held for those who'd like to be among the first to check out the new space and party packages for free. Those 18 and older will be eligible to enter the contest Jan. 23-30 online at The winner, announced Jan. 31, will receive one combo (all-access) party for 15, a prize valued at $695, and may select from among available openings. No purchase is necessary to enter the contest.

Grams said his family decided to invest in the new amenity after receiving countless inquiries about hosting birthday, retirement, corporate or reunion gatherings on-site.

"As a parent, I am also well aware of the need for more quality party locations in the area," he said. "Our party packages will offer guests a very unique, fun and hassle-free experience."

And for Grams, the memories that lie ahead are a far cry from those of his youth.

"Let's just say I'm happy to be going from farm animals to party animals," he said. "It's going to be a terrific, really special visitor experience."

The Volo Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $19.95 per adult, $17.95 per senior, $16.95 for military, $12.95 for children ages 5-12 and free for children 4 and younger.

Separate admission to the Jurassic Gardens dinosaur park is $15.95 each, free for children 4 and younger. Combo passes for both attractions cost $31.95 for an adult or $24.95 for children ages 5-12, and are good for two consecutive days.

For details, visit, find Volo Museum on social media, or call (815) 385-3644.

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Volo Museum Director Brian Grams, left, points out to Marketing Director Jim Wojdyla the spot where a llama once mistreated him in what is now becoming the museum's new Party Barn. Courtesy of Cynthia Wolf, Wolf Wordsmithing
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