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Friday October 6, 2017

The Reptile Festival is slithering its way back to the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville on Saturday, October 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., giving festival 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.

The Reptile Festival 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 also seems prevalent and the Reptile Festival 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 some of the most iconic reptiles on earth, including a king cobra, monocled cobra, timber rattlesnake, gila monster, alligator, alligator snapping turtle, red-footed tortoise and others. His presentations are scheduled for to take place at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to arrive well before the scheduled times to ensure a chance to view the shows.

"Mark's shows have been extremely popular in the past, to the point that we've reached maximum crowd capacity on multiple occasions," said Ryder. "We encourage anyone wishing to view the show to arrive early to ensure they have a seat."

Cold Blooded Encounters reptile zoo and science center returns to the museum, bringing along dozens of live animal displays.

“We’re excited to have Cold Blooded Encounters join us again this year to bring their amazing displays and expertise to the Reptile Festival,” said Ryder. “They have a large variety of reptiles and amphibians to display, with a heavy emphasis on what's native to our region.”

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 $7 for adults ages 19-59, $5 for ages 3-18, and $4 for seniors 60+ and college students. Admission is free for children under 3 and museum members. Admission also grants visitors access to all of the museum’s exhibit galleries.

Tags: Festivals, Virginia Museum of Natural History