Reptilian Pavilion

Let's face it: When most people think of lizards and snakes, they think of scales, slithering and potential poison. "A lot of people are creeped out by lizards and snakes," says Brian Hostetler, educator for Lizards & Snakes, a new exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. "But it doesn't have to be that way. They're very important to the environment and to the world, and they have a lot to teach us."

The exhibit launched at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where it was developed and curated. And, first things first: The exhibit does include live animals, meaning there will be sixty lizards and snakes -- including pythons, a Komodo dragon, a green basilisk and more. However, Hostetler would like to assure the truly phobic that it's very safe. "If the snakes do get out," he promises, "there's a contingency plan; they aren't going anywhere." So any visions of giant snakes making a home in the museum's basement, a la Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, are mere fantasies. (Don't lie: Some of you are disappointed.)

Apart from the live animals, there will also be a number of interactive components to the exhibit, including hands-on stations, games, a gecko's-eye-view camera, green-screen photo opportunities and more. Best of all? The exhibit is free with museum admission. Lizards & Snakes opens today and runs through July 8; visit to learn more and plan your trip.
Feb. 3-July 8, 2012

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Amber Taufen has been writing about people, places and things in Denver since 2005. She works as an editor, writer, and production and process guru out of her home office in the foothills.
Contact: Amber Taufen

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