WHAT: The Serpentarium: A Living Reptile Museum
WHERE: 2379 Maggio Circle, Unit C, in Lodi
HOURS: Tuesday through Friday 10 a,m. to 6 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., closes Mondays
COST: $2 admission per person that can be applied to purchase of items that day
MORE INFO: Go to www.snakemuseum.com or call (209) 369-7737
DIRECTIONS: Take Highway 99 to theHighway 12 exit in Lodi and head west. Turn left on Stockton. Just past Salas Park sports complex is Maggio Circle. Turn right onto Maggio Circle. The museum is accessed from the side of the building.
LODI - If you like spiders and snakes then Lodi is the place for you.
The city that Creedence Clearwater bemoaned about getting stuck in has perhaps the most unusual museum in the 209 - The Serpentarium: A Living Reptile Museum.
You will find a wide array of reptiles on display including False Water Cobras, Burmese Pythons, Rainbow Boas, Anacondas, large Monitor Lizards, Turtles, Tortoises, Geckos, Frogs, Chameleons, Tarantulas, Scorpions, Cockroaches and more.
Even if such things make you a tad squeamish you probably will enjoy the 3000-square-foot museum given the fact the reptiles are kept behind glass. But then again if you’re feeling a bit adventurous an extra $5 gives you and another person some quality time up close holding “Crazy Legs” while having your photo taken. “Crazy Legs” is an 11-foot Albino Burmese Python. Other experiences you can enjoy for a nominal cost include some quality time with “Skittles”, a Panther Chameleon that you can watch snag a mealworm with his tongue that’s twice as long as his body and then watch as he changes colors crawling up your arm. Other creatures you can hold run the gamut from Tarantulas to Scorpions.
Feeding time is a trip. If flies are driving you up the wall this time of year, you’ll enjoy watching a number of them try in vain to avoid becoming a reptile’s meal.
Even if reptiles aren’t your thing you’ll still be fascinated watching how large snakes slither around or how they dine on mice.
It’s easy to be spellbound watching a small horde of geckos scurrying around or an exotic frog virtually disappearing into its muddy surroundings.
You can also purchase every imaginable reptile supply you need - including the actual reptile. If you’re looking for a place to buy mice, rats, crickets and mealworms to feed your pet reptile this is the place.
The Serpentarium also offers numerous workshops ranging from reptile genetics and naturalistic terrarium design to keeping and breeding tarantulas reptile and invertebrate photography to creating genuine snake skin leather.
The less pricey workshops are $29 but if you want to learn how to create genuine snake skin for use with textile products expect to shell out $99 for the four- to five-hour class plus another $300 if you don’t provide your own deceased snake. For the $99 you learn how to skin, flesh, pick, tan and oil reptiles. That way if your pet Burmese Albino Python that you can buy at the Serpentairum for $149 becomes one of the family and you’re bummed if he dies, you’ll have the skills to make sure he lives on in the form of a wallet, belt, hatband, or handbag.
There are also in-store two-hour birthday parties complete with a guided tour that gives attendees a chance to enjoy hands-on experiences. They also offer an option that brings the reptiles to a birthday party at your home.
Lodi has another of and window shopping opportunities in its tree-lined revitalized downtown you can combine with your trip. There is also the original A&W Drive-In as Lodi is where the rootbeer/fast food chain started.
— DENNIS WYATT
209 staff reporter