Have you heard of the Reptarium located in Utica, Michigan? This all-reptile zoo is an amazing spot for everyone from hardcore reptile fans to those with just a mild interest and curiosity about these fun creatures. It’s quite an educational adventure, and you will learn loads and loads. We thoroughly enjoyed our tour and we’re sharing all about it so you’ll know what to expect when you plan your family visit to the Reptarium!
The Reptarium offers both general admission options and private tour experiences. We took a highly interactive one-hour private tour at the Reptarium on a recent family road trip. Our tour guide was a wealth of information and we got to hold and pet many of the Reptarium’s animals.
What is the Reptarium?
The Reptarium is a reptile zoo located in Utica, Michigan. Famous on YouTube, the Reptarium shows its animals to the world in regular videos, teaching about reptiles and conservation through their animal ambassadors. There are more than 150 animals housed at the Reptarium.
Visiting the Reptarium
Those who’d like to go to the Reptarium in person have a couple of options including general admission with various add-ons, and private tours.
General admission costs $11.99 to $14.99 per person. Your general admission ticket is good for one hour in the Reptarium, which should be plenty of time. However, big reptile fans may want more time in which case they can purchase two hours. Tickets are time reserved, to limit the number of people in the space at any given time. So, you won’t be fighting through a crowd to see the animals.
General admission hours are on Thursdays from 3 pm to 7 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 4 pm to 9 pm, and Sundays from 3 pm to 8 pm.
You can book your Reptarium general admission tickets online.
Private tours are available every day except Tuesdays. Our family chose this option initially because we were traveling through the area on a Monday and as there are no general admission times on Mondays, it was the only option that would allow us to visit.
But, that said, the private experience was truly wonderful. Our tour guide knew so much and gave us so many opportunities to hold animals and ask questions. We had her undivided attention for the entire hour, which really was a fabulous educational experience. We were the only guests during our tour, so there were no distractions and no waiting to get to any exhibits.
Because the footprint of the Reptarium is small, and my kids were very engaged and interested, this was absolutely the right choice for our family and what I would recommend for others if they can afford the higher price point.
Private tours cost $300 and they can include up to 10 people. If you’d like more information or to book a tour, email [email protected].
Our Favorite Reptiles at the Reptarium
There are over 150 animals to see at the Reptarium. We loved seeing, interacting with, and holding so many of them. Here are just a couple that really worked their way into our hearts.
Our tour began with Helen. She’s a python that was born with no eyes. A number of us had never held a snake before and somehow, having no eyes, this sweet little snake seemed somehow less threatening. She was a great reptile to start with and remained one of our favorites.
Perdita, named after the famous Dalmatian in 101 Dalmatians is a much larger reticulated python. I would never in a million years have said “Sure, I’ll hold this giant snake around my shoulders” but our tour guide was so confident and calm and things had gone so well with Helen, so….why not. I held a giant python. I mean, that’s not the type of thing you get to try to do every day, right? Got to try it. (And I figured if I did it, some of my boys who were a little hesitant would try it. Cool mom and all that.) She was so surprisingly smooth and HEAVY. My husband and a couple of the kids held her as well.
Nova is a frilled lizard. But when his frills aren’t out, they lay back against his body and look very similar to a rabbit with long, long ears pushed back against its body. He was so sweet and tolerated all of us holding and petting him. We thought he was one of the cutest guys at the Reptarium.
Turtles are a family favorite and there are lots of turtles and tortoises to see. We got to walk around with some of the red-footed tortoises and hold some of the turtles in the pond, including some really cute little albino turtles.
Sunshine is the very large yellow python you see in our family photo. She’s a big ambassador for the reptarium and is quite used to being held. Amazingly heavy, and with a beautiful sunny pattern (hence her name) she was the last animal on our tour.
In addition to these animals we got to interact with bearded dragons, Uromastyx, monitors, a false water cobra and lots of other snakes, and my daughter even held a tarantula. She was the only one brave enough.
Family tips for visiting the Reptarium
- Go with an open mind. Think you won’t want to hold a huge snake? You might change your mind.
- Ask questions. Tour guides can’t read your mind and there really are no stupid questions when it comes to reptiles. You’ll learn more if you ask!
- Hey parents, your kids’ enthusiasm for these creatures can be contagious if you let it be. You’ll have a better family experience if join in. Hold the animals and ask questions, too.
- Remember that these are animals. They poop. One lizard got my shoe when I was holding it. (Good thing he was cute.) It apparently doesn’t happen very often, but, you know. Be prepared. Wear something washable.
- Use hand sanitizer AFTER your visit. Don’t use it before you go in. It’s not good for the animals.
- If you’re on a road trip, stop and use the restroom before you get to the Reptarium. You don’t want to waste any of your tour time, there’s too much to see!
Where to Stay Near The Reptarium
Use the map below to locate hotels and vacation rentals near the Reptarium. The map below comes from Stay22 and Kidding Around earns when you book through the map’s links.
45559 Van Dyke Ave Utica, MI 48317
Nearby: Grab a bite
If you’re on a road trip to the area, you’ll find a lovely little coffee shop just down the road from the Reptarium, called Northern Grind. They have the usual array of coffee and coffee beverages, plus smoothies, sandwiches, and treats. It was the perfect spot for us to grab lunch after our tour before we hit the road again.
Looking for more places to travel where you can learn something new? We have lots of great ideas!
Here’s our Educational Travel Guide