Former petting zoo barn to become party barn in Volo

Volo Museum to offer party packages in renovated space; contest kickoff later this month

Workers install signage on the Volo Museum's new Party Barn at 27582 Volo Village Road. The space will be available to accommodate private parties starting in March. Package details are available at

VOLO – 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.”

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 becoming a party barn.

The roughly 1,300-square-foot building is undergoing a no-expense-spared face-lift. The Grams family is investing about $300,000 into flooring, insulation, plumbing, a kitchen, a sound-deadening dividing wall and more.

“We’ll have two smaller party rooms available or one larger one,” said Grams, director of the museum at 27582 Volo Village Road in 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 in 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, soda, all-day admission passes, a party hostess, tables, chairs, plates and napkins, plus five game or ride tokens for the guest of honor.

Additionally, the museum is on the cusp of acquiring a liquor license, Grams said. Grams expects that by March, alcoholic beverages 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-served basis with openings daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For those who would like to be among the first to check out the new space and party packages for free, an upcoming contest will be key. Those 18 and older will be eligible to enter the contest online Jan. 23-30 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 daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $19.95 for adults, $17.95 for seniors, $16.95 for military, $12.95 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for children 4 and younger. Separate admission to the Jurassic Gardens dinosaur park is $15.95; it also is free for children 4 and younger. Combo passes for both attractions cost $31.95 for an adult and $24.95 for children ages 5 to 12 and are good for two consecutive days.

For information, visit or call 815-385-3644.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois