There’s a place tucked away in Central Florida where you’ll find all things slimy, slithering, and hissing.
- Reptile World in St. Cloud showcases venom extractions from snakes
- The zoo features 75 different species of snakes, lizards, turtles & alligators
Even if that’s not quite your thing this place has a little something for everyone and may just push you outside of your comfort zone.
Off a mostly quiet highway in St. Cloud you’ll find a zoo, of sorts.
“There are very few places on the planet that you’ll be able to have this experience,” herpetologist and owner of Reptile World Serpentarium George Van Horn said.
George has made it his life’s work to make sure of that.
Holding his first snake when he was just a boy, he now makes it his job to dabble in danger.
“There aren’t many venom producers left,” George said, “It’s an odd occupation I must say.”
Yes you read that correctly — He extracts venom from deadly snakes for a living and here at his Reptile World Serpentarium you get to see it all unfold.
Twice a day George and his wife hold venom extractions.
The public stands behind glass while the couple extracts venom from cobras, cottonmouths, rattlesnakes, and an assortment of other venomous snakes.
These aren’t just shows though, the venom extracted is all stored in a bio toxin laboratory, then shipped to universities and other labs across the world.
“When people do this tour they have such a better understanding of what we do, about these animals, and how the production of anti-venom works,” George explained.
The serpentarium is a certified venom factory. The venom is used for medical and herpetological research.
In total, the facility has more than 75 different species of snakes, lizards, turtles and alligators, all of which you can see when you walk through the serpentarium.
If you’re not terrified of snakes and feeling adventurous, they’ll even let you hold one, of course not the venomous snakes, but it will still push you out of your comfort zone.
“We really have tried to keep this less touristy and make this a place people feel good about their visit, learn something, and take away an experience they won’t get anywhere else,” George said.
Reptile World is open everyday, except Monday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
There are two venom extraction shows each day, one at noon and the other at 3 p.m.
Admission for adults 18 and up is $11.50. For children 17 and under the cost is $9.50.