History of Reptiland
A Brief History
1964 – Reptiland opened July 11. Convinced that a clean, well managed reptile zoo could support itself entirely by those who used the facility, Reptiland was designed around the philosophy that people want to see large and venomous reptiles and to learn about them while being entertained.
1967 – Built our main entrance building, which includes restrooms, gift shop, food operation, office and living quarters.
1968 – A new reptile house replaced an earlier and temporary shelter. This new reptile house underwent numerous changes and served our needs through 1995.
1969 – Constructed a 30’X40’ concrete pit in which we attempted to exhibit native Pennsylvania snakes. To our dismay we learned that meaningful management of the animals was impossible and we converted this area to a crocodilian exhibit in the mid 1970’s.
1973 – Clyde leads his first photographic safari to the Amazon.
1983 – Developed The Cricket Machine, a coin operated behavioral enrichment device. Allowed visitors to gain a better understanding of predator-prey relationships.
1985 - A tornado damaged much of our perimeter fence and corn crib style cages, which had been used for mammals and birds. We subsequently developed those areas into outdoor reptile enclosures.
1986 – Accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association.
1989 – Constructed a program center, which seats over 150 visitors. The theatre has since been adapted to accommodate video presentations.
1991 – Purchased and renovated an existing reptile zoo in Catskill, NY.
1994 – Produced a twenty minute multi-image show, The Beautiful and The Deadly, to augment our lecture demonstrations. The Beautiful and The Deadly has subsequently been reformatted into a video presentation.
1996 – Built a 5,000 square foot reptile-amphibian complex, allowing us to display the entire collection indoors year-round.
1997 – We held our first fundraiser, called Zoo Blues, for The Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force to help with amphibian conservation.
1998 – Made renovations to the Natural Selection Gift Shop in the main entrance building and diversified the selection of merchandise to include more educational based products.
1999 – Reptiland celebrates 35 years in business. Reptiland premieres its first traveling exhibit called, Reptiles: The Beautiful and The Deadly traveling exhibit at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey.
2003 – Frogs: A Chorus of Colors, Reptiland’s second and most popular traveling exhibition, hits the road.
2005 – A second version of Frogs: A Chorus of Colors is built for The Baltimore Aquarium.
2006 – Crocodile Creek Café, the zoo’s new themed restaurant is completed. It boasts a delicious and healthy selection of hot and cold sandwiches and subs, as well as pizza, burgers, and a children’s menu. The Scoop on Poop: The Science of What Animals Leave Behind heads to its first venue at the Virginia Living Museum.
2007 – Venom shows premiere at Reptiland featuring a cobra, rattlesnake, and Gila monster and introduce visitors to this fascinating reptilian adaptation. Reptiland creates the GEICO Gecko Exhibit to promote the conservation partnership between GEICO Insurance and AZA.
2008 – AZA declares 2008 as the Year of The Frog to shed light on the declining amphibian crisis. Geckos: Tails To Toepads hits the road for its first venue in Redding, California.
2009 – Reptiland opens Butterflies to the public, a seasonal butterfly exhibit featuring hundreds of native butterflies displayed within a lushly planted greenhouse.
2010 – Chad Peeling contributes to the book Cane Toads and Other Rogue Species. The Natural Selections Gift Shop is expanded, and receives a new modern look. Butterflies opens for a second season.
2011 – The phenomenally successful exhibit Dinosaurs Come to Life roars into Reptiland, May. Butterflies returns. Construction begins on a new building designed expressly to house Komodo dragons.
2012 – Dinosaurs Come to Life and Butterflies return, spring. Reptiland purchases some of their own dinosaurs which will remain on the grounds year-round. Construction continues on Island Giants, the future home of our Komodo dragons. Reptiland’s entrance building starts undergoing its first face-lift in over 25 years!
2013 – Reptiland donated more than $37,000 worth of goods and services to local organizations in 2012. We are proud to be part of, and help support, our community here in the Susquehanna Valley.