09.03.2015 - 09.03.2015
First, I must confess that I am not a fan of snakes, and that I have always thought that reptile houses in zoos are smelly. I suppose I am not Reptiland's target audience, then. Nevertheless, a while back, a friend in State College recommended Reptiland to me as a good day trip for the kids. Back in March, when both girls were on spring break and everyone was feeling a little stir crazy, Reptiland was sounding pretty good.
Reptiland is in Allenwood, PA, just south of Williamsport and about an hour away from State College. Its location is a bit remote, but it is a legitimately accredited zoo and not just some guy on the side of the road with a couple of snakes.
There are a wide variety of reptiles and a few non-reptiles (frogs) housed in three buildings with habitats: one with alligators, one with giant tortoises and komodo dragons, and the main building with everything else. There were several interactive displays in the main building as well, such as true/false questions about the animals, and my oldest enjoyed many of them. Everything we saw was comparable to what you might find in a public zoo.
Because it was winter when we visited, there were some things we didn't see because they were outdoors: the dinosaur walk, the butterfly exhibit, and a few animals like the Galapagos tortoise who only have outdoor habitats viewable by the public.
We also went to the show as well as a "Winter Warm Up." The latter was an encounter with an animal that was not currently on display. The staff person brought out a species of lizard to the main exhibit gallery and talked about its features. The main show took place in the Island Giants building, where there is seating. The staff person discussed the different types of reptiles and brought out 3 for us to see, including a boa and a crocodile. The show ended with watching a feeding at the main exhibit gallery. At both events, the staff were knowledgeable and welcomed questions from adults and kids alike. Even my youngest could participate, petting the animals with me guiding her hand.
We got through Reptiland in about an hour and a half, including the shows. You'd want to give yourself more time if visiting in the summer.
In all, Reptiland was a good kid-friendly attraction for a cold day. Both girls enjoyed seeing the animals. That said, it might be better to visit in the summer. Admission is only a couple of dollars more, and all of the exhibits are open.
Admission (off-season rate): $14 adults, $12 ages 3-11, free ages 2 and under
Food: There is a café on the premises, but it is not open in the off season. They will stamp your hand, so it's possible to leave for lunch and then come back. There also are several picnic tables on the grounds for people who want to bring in food when the weather permits it.
Stroller-friendly?: Yes, except for a few steps to enter the gator building (and I think we could have avoided those if we had gone the long way around).
Best for: ages 5 and up because they can take advantage of the interactive displays. Younger kids will still enjoy seeing the animals, though.