World of Reptiles Turns One!

Can you believe the World of Reptiles has been open for an entire year? Time flies when you get to spend your time with some of the world’s most exotic animals all under the same roof. In the last 365 days you’ve seen some exhibits change, babies hatch and grow, new species arrive and have also been patiently waiting for the next biggest thing: the Conservatory! While anxiously awaiting the future, let’s slither back in time through the last twelve months to remember the most exciting things to happen in the World of Reptiles.


Many of the animals found in the World of Reptiles arrived at the Zoo well before the opening of the building and were kept behind-the-scenes until their exhibits were finished. Among those who had to wait for their finished exhibits were the Sailfin dragon and Roti Island snake-necked turtles. After a long battle with a leaky pool, their shared exhibit was given the seal of approval in early 2019 and the reptiles have been on exhibit since.


go with the flow

Some animals arrived late to the party, leaving Zoo visitors guessing at who’d join us next. Among the first to arrive shortly after opening, we welcomed our female king cobra, Clarice. A couple of weeks later, the building’s main attraction, two female Siamese crocodiles arrived from the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. Although Makara died suddenly earlier this year, Shadie can be found basking in pockets of sun and floating around the pool. Other reptilian and amphibian arrivals include Iranian newts and caecilians, Egyptian tortoises and the popular herd of Lined seahorses. We can’t forget about our warm-blooded friends as well as a creepy-crawly who also made their way onto exhibit.




White-faced saki monkeys, Lionel and Jackie, and Bolivian gray titi monkeys, Paris and Ziggy, are enjoying their indoor and outdoor exhibits. The sloths, Honey and Mervin, who were introduced in March, can often be seen hanging out and napping in their milk crates or receiving hibiscus flowers as enrichment from Keepers in their exhibit. The Zoo also welcomed a fuzzy Mexican red-knee tarantula as the last arrival, marking the filling of every exhibit in the World of Reptiles.




The cutest arrivals make an appearance almost weekly. In the past year the Zoo has welcomed multiple clutches of Frilled dragon hatchlings, Meller’s chameleon babies, two Emerald tree boa snakelets, Iranian newt juveniles, a bog turtle and dozens of tadpoles representing several species including Golfodulcean dart and golden dart frogs. The Reptile Nursery and Frog Lab are the best places to check in on our newborns.




While the inside of the building is where the main attractions are, we’ve added some additional features on the outside. While you’re sipping from your reusable World of Reptiles-themed souvenir cup or eating a delicious flatbread pizza from the Beastro restaurant, watch your kids weaving their way around the spider web. This cool play area was installed late 2018 and in early 2019 a snazzy new photo opportunity was installed. Don’t be scared to approach this friendly cockroach and snap a few pictures.


We’re taken aback by all of the positive remarks from not only our dedicated Zoo members and fans, but by visitors new to the Virginia Zoo. Our Zoo Fans are overall impressed by the wide array of species, appearance of the building and cool factor of some of the exhibits, including the underwater crocodile viewing. Even the faint of heart, those frightened by our scaly friends, have found themselves in awe of the World of Reptiles, and we have the Google Reviews to prove it.


The time is near, when we’ll finally be finished with the next phase of the World of Reptiles and Friends. The Conservatory, opening later this year, will feature birds, mammals and reptiles in a fully enclosed atrium. Currently, construction crews have finished grading the floor, framing in the walls, building the roof supports and installing the roof panels. As we move closer to completion of this project, we ask for your continued support and patience. In the meantime, there are plenty of other animals to give your attention to. Thank you for the past year of visits and memories in the World of Reptiles and to a lot more yet to come!