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Reptile Festival

The Reptile Festival is slithering its way back to the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville on Saturday, January 19, 2019 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., giving festival attendees the chance to view its most spectacular array of cold-blooded creatures yet!  The event will feature a variety of cobras, rattlesnakes, vipers and more, while visitors will receive the opportunity to hold some of the animals (the non-venomous ones, of course) on display.

"We really wanted this festival to have the wow factor that visitors have come to expect from the museum's lineup of family festivals," said Zach Ryder, marketing and public relations manager for the Virginia Museum of Natural History.  "The most frequent request we received from visitors at last year's festival was for the museum to display more venomous snakes.  We took that request to heart and put together a lineup of animals that we think will thrill visitors at this January's festival."

An amazing lineup of cold-blooded creatures!
  • King Cobra
  • Spitting Cobra
  • Monocled Cobra
  • Timber Rattlesnake
  • Sidewinder Rattlesnake
  • Black-tailed Rattlesnake
  • Red Pygmy Rattlesnake
  • Puff Adder
  • Smooth Scaled Death Adder
  • African Bush Viper
  • Long-nose Viper
  • Cantil Viper
  • Eyelash Viper
  • Large-eyed Tree Viper
  • Gila Monster
  • Alligator
  • Alligator Snapping Turtle
  • Red-footed Tortoise
  • Cottonmouth
  • Copperhead
  • And much more!

"Larry Mendoza, who is representing the Virginia Herpetological Society at this year's festival, has an extraordinary list of animals that will be on display throughout the event," said Ryder.  "His spitting cobra will undoubtedly be among the crowd-favorites in January."

The festival is once again highlighted by Reptile Festival staple, Mark Kilby, of the Luray Zoo, who will show-off some of the most iconic reptiles on earth, including a king cobra, timber rattlesnake, gila monster, alligator, alligator snapping turtle, red-footed tortoise and others.  Kilby's presentations are scheduled 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 that they have a seat."

The Reptile Festival presents a unique opportunity for visitors to see dozens of 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, especially snakes, are largely misunderstood animals,” said Ryder. “The festival isn't just set-up to show-off these amazing creatures.  We also want visitors gain a better understanding and appreciation of these animals.  Having experts, like Larry and Mark, on-hand to interact with visitors and teach them about the animals they are viewing is an important part of the event.  Most people seem to either love them or hate them, and this festival is a fantastic way for visitors to indulge in their reptile curiosities or face their fears and gain an appreciation for these animals in a fun, festive atmosphere.”

In addition to the offerings of the Luray Zoo and the Virginia Herpetological Society, Roanoke-based Exotics & Aquatics is scheduled to bring a variety of reptiles, which visitors will be able to handle.

"Exotics and Aquatic made its first appearance at the museum's Reptile Festival in October 2017 and instantly became a hit," said Ryder.  "Visitors were drawn to their animals and loved having the opportunity to handle some of the reptiles and have their pictures taken them.  We're thrilled to have Exotics and Aquatics back for a second time."

The Reptile Festival will feature a variety of reptile-themed games and crafts throughout the day.  Activities include a virtual reality experience provided by U.S. Cellular, as well as festival staples, such as balloon animals, face painting, 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.  Members of any ASTC Passport participating museum or science center receive free admission, if membership card is presented at the box office. Admission to the festival also grants visitors access to all of the museum’s exhibit galleries.

Thank you to all of our 2019 Reptile Festival sponsors!

Hermes Family Foundation