BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — The popular two-day event known as Reptile Weekend at Binder Park Zoo is set to happen this Saturday August 1, and Sunday, August 2, but it will look a little different than in past years. The zoo typically hosts guest vendors who bring a fascinating collection of reptiles, amphibians and other unusual animal species to the zoo allowing visitors up-close experiences to learn about these frequently misunderstood creatures and dispel unfounded myths about them. However, current social distancing guidelines don’t allow for these encounters to happen, so the zoo is presenting a “scaled back” version of Reptile Weekend – and the pun is intended! As an alternative, a smaller number of the zoo’s own resident reptiles will be on special exhibit for visitors to see in designated spaces throughout the zoo.
“Since the zoo opened on May 29, the Adventure Station in the Binda Conservation Discovery Center hasn’t been able to open to the public because of the need to maintain the 6’ requirement in the space. The Adventure Station is where many of these animals live so guests haven’t been able to see them,” states Kathryn Sippel, Curator of Collections at the zoo, “there will also be some very interesting reptiles that are our animal ambassadors on display as well. These too, are animals that the average zoo visitor would not see since our education programs were suspended for the season due to the pandemic.”
Among the special species guests can expect to see are a rhinoceros iguana named Phish Styx, a blue- tongued skink, a black-headed monitor, and a 105 pound, 18 foot long reticulated python. Guests should also plan to visit Al, the Aldabra giant tortoise at his exhibit in Wild Africa. Al is an impressive specimen and a longtime zoo favorite who enjoys celebrity status at the zoo. Approximately nine temporary exhibits at the zoo will feature these and other animals for guests to check out when they visit. Reptile Weekend is an annual two-day event geared for all ages that hopes to replace the myths and fears that people sometimes have about snakes and lizards, with understanding and respect for an intriguing group of animals that play critical roles in our environment.
Reptile Weekend-Scaled Back happens on Saturday, August 1, 9am-6pm and Sunday, August 2, 11am-6pm. General admission rates apply. Binder Park Zoo is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to Connect. Inspire. Conserve. Connect people with nature. Inspire them to conserve.
Visit www.binderparkzoo.org [binderparkzoo.org] for further details about what to expect when visiting the zoo and how to help keep guests, staff and animals safe.
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