2019 is the silver anniversary of the nation’s largest educational reptile show, ReptileFest, which returns to Chicago for its 25th weekend at Northeastern Illinois University. Sixty exhibitors from local zoos, museums and nature centers will present over 200 species of reptiles and amphibians at the two-day event, from snakes to skinks, crocodiles to chameleons, terrapins to tortoises, many of which visitors will be able to touch and hold.
“The mission of ReptileFest is number one, to get people to like reptiles. And if you already like reptiles and you go to ReptileFest, you’re just going to have an awesome time. You’re going to be educated, you’re going to be entertained, and you’re also going to help conservation,” says Deb “The Frog Lady” Krohn of the Chicago Herpetological Society, the organizers of ReptileFest.
ReptileFest’s Frank Sladek says the sheer number and variety of animals on display at the event make it a must-see. “We have a better diversity in two gymnasiums than both of the zoos around here combined, a lot of stuff you can’t find at Brookfield and Lincoln Park Zoo. We have a lot of rare reptiles that you wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else … so it’s a very unique learning environment for people young and old.”
Krohn and Sladek and a few of their reptilian friends join us with a preview of ReptileFest.
• When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 13; 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, April 14
• Where: Physical Education Complex of Northeastern Illinois University, 3600 W. Foster Ave. / MAP
• Cost: $11; $8 for kids ages 3-11; free for children under 3. Get tickets to ReptileFest here.