For the love of all things creepy and crawly: ReptileFest is back

After a year away, ReptileFest is back–and we’re pretty sure it’s even better than you remember. This two-day celebration of everything that creeps, crawls or slithers is sure to be a big hit with all your pint-sized animal lovers.

If you go


Physical Education Complex of Northeastern Illinois University, 3600 W. Foster, Chicago

10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 9; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 10

, kids 3-11, free kids under 3

The fest, the largest of its type in the nation, offers the chance to get hands-on–literally!–with iguanas, turtles, alligators and all of their reptile and amphibian friends. True adventurers can wear a snake like a necklace or kiss a frog and see if he really turns into a prince. But if you’re squeamish, there are more than enough creatures that can be viewed from a safe distance–or from behind a thick pane of glass.

There’s also an educational component, as members of the Chicago Herpetological Society teach about the care and keeping of various reptiles, as well as ways we can protect their futures.

No animals are for sale at the show, which is probably a good thing. Because after your kids get an eyeful of a color-changing chameleon or a grinning crocodile, you’d better believe they’re going to want to set up their very own menagerie.

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