With over 40 combined species of Michigan turtles, snakes, lizards, frogs and salamanders, our exhibit features the largest collection of Michigan reptiles and amphibians in the state. It's automatically a huge hit wherever we go. The exhibit can be set up inside as well as outside (seasonal basis). It can be set up for as short a period of time as a single evening science fair, to a full day or even multiple days at the same location, such as a museum, a festival or county fair.
The full exhibit includes 13 to 15 aquariums which occupy about 40 feet of table space and a "turtle pool" on the floor. Interpretive signs and posters give visitors useable information related to identification, habits, habitat and conservation issues. We strive to keep the “habitat” within each tank close to the natural habitat of the inhabitants. No wonder we regularly receive comments on the beauty of the aquariums, the health of the animals, and also, how surprisingly active the animals are. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is always on hand to answer questions and discuss any species in the exhibit. The experience is highly interactive, informative and personal for visitors of all ages.
All ten species of MICHIGAN TURTLES found in the state (what we call The Grand Slam of Michigan Turtles!) are displayed according to size. A large Common Snapping Turtle occupies one tank. A second shallow tank houses young turtles of various species. A third terrestrial tank houses the Box Turtles. Medium-sized turtles swim freely and bask in the pool on the floor. We give food sticks to visitors which they can drop in front of the turtles and watch them eat.
Ten to twelve species of MICHIGAN SNAKES occupy three tanks according to size. Many of the medium and large species are taken out to allow visitors a more personal experience. All are gentle, relaxed and easy to hold. We allow supervised handling of almost any species on request. For anyone who feels a mild to severe fear of snakes, this may be the most benign setting available to dispel myths and to gain a first-hand understanding of what they are really like.
Twelve species of MICHIGAN FROGS are displayed in three tanks according to size. The Bull Frog occupies its own tank. Medium and small species occupy two more tanks. Visitors can watch staff drop crickets, worms and other insects into the frogs, and are excited to watch the frogs snatch them up. We also allow eager youngsters to pick up and drop crickets into the frogs themselves, or, at outside events, encourage them to catch their own insect to feed to a frog of their choice.
Eight species of MICHIGAN SALAMANDERS are exhibited in four separate tanks. The completely aquatic Mudpuppies occupy one tank. The large Tiger Salamander occupies a terrestrial tank. Medium and small species occupy two other terrestrial tanks. Salamanders kept in a natural terrestrial tank pose a special exhibiting problem. All species shy away from light. If they are not given a hiding place, they quickly resort to digging their way into the substrate and out of sight. By placing a piece of bark on top of the substrate, the salamanders are content to hide under it. A sign in front of each tank permits visitors to reach in and carefully raise the bark to view the salamanders underneath it.
FEEDING FRENZY! Everywhere we go, we have found that young and old alike are quick to gather during feeding time. Many are especially fascinated by a dramatic view of a predator-prey relationship in the flesh - a live link in the food chain right before their eyes! If time and space allow, we regularly pull out any of a number of snakes, the Bull Frog or the Box Turtles to be fed on the floor or ground in front of the visitors. Crowds gather quickly! The live prey items include crickets, worms, goldfish, small frogs, and sometimes a mouse. We also feed fruit and thawed frozen mice to some of the animals.
If budget or space is an issue, PARTIAL EXHIBITS are available as well. These can feature just one aspect of the full exhibit discussed above, such as Michigan Turtles, Michigan Snakes, Michigan Frogs, etc. We can also exhibit a sampling from each reptile and amphibian order.
- First two hours (minimum fee): $350.
- Each additional hour: $70.
- Each additional day at same location: $70/hour.
- First two hours: $225.
- Each additional hour: $50.
- Full Exhibit: $.80/mi
- Partial Exhibit: $.60/mi