Slither your way into VMNH on Saturday, October 24
The Reptile Day festival is slithering its way back to the Virginia Museum of Natural History this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.! The festival gives attendees the chance to view many of the cold-blooded creatures that call Virginia and North Carolina home, as well as the opportunity to see some of the most exotic and feared reptiles from around the world.
Reptile Day presents a unique opportunity for visitors to see over 100 live snakes and other reptiles, while allowing presenters to demonstrate how reptiles play a critical role in the environment and, most often, a harmless role in peoples' day-to-day lives. Visitors are also allowed the opportunity to handle a variety of the animals on display.
"Reptiles, and snakes in particular, are such polarizing animals that seem to have most people either loving them or hating them,” said Zach Ryder, marketing and public relations manager at the museum. “Regardless of which end of the spectrum you’re at, a universal curiosity with these animals is also prevalent and Reptile Day has become a tremendously popular way for people to indulge these curiosities.”
The festival is once again highlighted by annual crowd-favorite, Mark Kilby, of the Luray Zoo, who is scheduled to show-off a king cobra, timber rattlesnake, copperhead, alligator, gila monster and others during his special presentations that are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. The museum suggests that anyone interested in attending the shows arrive in plenty of time, as space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
"Mark has presented at Reptile Day every year the festival has been offered and the crowds love him," said Ryder. "He's engaging, energetic, highly-knowledgeable, and flat-out fun. Best of all, you can tell how passionate he is about caring for the animals and educating his audience about them."
The museum's assistant curator of paleontology, Dr. Alex Hastings, will also make a special presentation, titled "Titanoboa: Giant Snake from the Ancient World". Considered one of the greatest discoveries since the T-Rex, the fossil remains of the 2,500 pound, 48-foot-long snake were uncovered in a Columbian coal mine by a team of paleontologists that included Dr. Hastings. The presentation will take place at 2 p.m.
New to this year’s festival is Cold Blooded Encounters reptile zoo and science center, which will bring dozens of live animal displays never shown at previous years’ Reptile Day festivals.
“We’re excited to have Cold Blooded Encounters join us this year to bring their amazing displays and expertise to Reptile Day,” said Ryder. “They allow the festival to continue to offer the plethora of reptiles visitors want to see, while giving previous attendees something new to be excited about.”
In addition to the offerings of the Luray Zoo and Cold Blooded Encounters, the museum will display its own herpetology collection, while providing a variety of reptile-themed games and crafts throughout the day, as well as festival staples, such as balloon animals, temporary tattoos and story time. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the museum's PALEO Café throughout the event.
Admission to the festival is $5/adult, $4/ages 3-18, $3/senior citizens and college students, and free for children under 3 and museum members. Admission also grants visitors access to all of the museum’s exhibit galleries.