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Don’t walk, run to Reptile Rampage

Reptiles are fascinating creatures. Some of them look like they were created in the imaginations of mythological writers. The can be cute and creepy, and the can evoke visceral reactions in those that find them scary or slimy. Fun fact: they are not really slimy; the shine comes from an oil on their scales.

The Wildlife Discovery Center (WDC) in Lake Forest hopes to dispel myths and increase kids’ fascination with reptiles at their annual Reptile Rampage event. Held in the gym at the Lake Forest Recreation Center, Reptile Rampage is the area’s largest reptile exhibition, bringing in people from all over the region. There will be more than 150 different types of snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises and other cold-blooded creatures.

Visitors will not only get to wander through exhibits of animals set up by enthusiasts and breeders, but they will also have opportunities to meet and handle live animals, and learn from staffers from museums, universities and nature centers. Kids that don’t want to get their hands dirty can be entertained with arts and crafts, face painting and other activities.

This year the event is celebrating its 20th anniversary as the WDC’s major spring fundraiser. The WDC is a living natural history museum located in the Middlefork Savanna at Elawa Farm in Lake Forest. All year long they offer free admission to allow visitors to meet face-to-face with a variety of reptiles and amphibians, along with a few birds and mammals as well. Proceeds from the event help fund the WDC and cover the cost of care for its animals and educational programming. The entrance fee is a $10 donation per person. Children age 3 and under are free.

Tips to know

This is a popular event and due to its uniqueness, always draws big crowds. Be prepared for lines and leave the strollers behind.

Kids can be squeamish and nervous and that’s OK! No one will make them touch an animal they don’t want to. Screamers, however, should probably be left at home.

Don’t forget the camera! There are lots of Instagram worthy moments to capture, from sitting on crocodiles to holding tarantulas.

Go in with an open mind. You will be amazed by some of these creatures.


If you go

Reptile Rampage

Sunday, March 11

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Lake Forest Recreation Center

400 Hastings Rd., Lake Fore

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