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One of my goals for the summer is to take more field trips. Summer is the perfect time to get out and about because our schedule is more relaxed. A few weeks ago we had plenty of time to explore so we met up with a friend and checked out the Monroe Reptile Zoo.
Monroe Reptile Zoo
The Monroe Reptile Zoo is located about 35 miles North East of Seattle. It is housed in a small building right on Highway 2. The building is very small so if you aren’t paying attention, you might miss it. It reminds me less of a zoo and more of a roadside attraction from the past.
The Monroe Reptile Zoo is open 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. every day except Christmas and Thanksgiving. I would recommend going either early or late. We arrived right at 10:00 and were the only people there for about half an hour. I love it when that happens because it gives us a chance to see everything up close and un-rushed.
We spent about an hour here. Ben would have happily stayed all day, but the rest of our group had seen everything they wanted to see. If you have animal lovers, be prepared to spend a couple of hours following your kids as they go from tank to tank and back again.
Admission costs $8 per adult, $6.50 per child 3-17, and free under 3. The price felt reasonable considering the money is used to pay the employees and care for the animals.
Once you are there…
The building is divided into 3 areas – two large animal rooms and a small gift shop. One room houses lizards, tortoises, and snakes. The other area is home to two alligators, more snakes, and a two-headed turtle. Be warned, there is a distinct animal smell to the zoo. It didn’t bother my family at all, but one member of our group was very sensitive to the smell.
Each enclosure is labeled with the type of animal, the animal’s name, the region the animal is natively found, the diet, size, and other facts. I suggest paying attention to the animal names. Whoever named them has a wonderful sense of humor. There is an entire row of snakes named after My Little Pony characters.
During our visit we had an interesting discussion about the benefits of different animal adaptations and the challenges some of the animals we saw would face in the wild. An albino alligator would have a difficult time hiding and would likely starve.
I recommend staying close to your children. Some of the exhibits are open on top. You are allowed to reach in and pet the tortoises on their shells. There is a sign warning that the tortoises are gentle, but may bite if little fingers end up on their faces. That sounds painful and traumatic, so let’s just all watch our kids, and anyone else’s that we see behaving dangerously, and avoid that. Even though all of the snakes are fully enclosed, the venomous snakes have had the venom removed as an extra procaution.
There is animal holding every hour on the hour. The employees, who are very friendly and knowledgable, are careful not to over-handle the animals. They seem to really love the animals and are passionate about their care. Everyone sanitizes their hands before and after handling the animal. We were a part of one animal demonstration and saw another as we were leaving. Ben wanted to stay all day to see how many animals he could hold. Hannah chose to sit outside with our friends and not hold a snake.
- Take along a snack or lunch. There are picnic tables by the front entrance. There is a school bus bbq restaurant in the same parking lot, but they seem to be closed during weekday lunch time. If the parents need a little caffeine before seeing all of the snakes, there is a drive through coffee shop in the same parking lot too.
- Get there early to avoid the crowds.
- Animal holding takes place next to the black mamba. Use that information to either be close and ready or far away 😉
- The bathroom is located in the room with the snakes. Does anyone else with young kids always scope out the bathroom as soon as you go somewhere new?
“It was fun holding a snake.” – Ben
We will certainly be returning to the Monroe Reptile Zoo for another field trip. This field trip will correlate nicely with our biology curriculum during reptile week. It will also be a nice excursion while studying geography.