Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Day trip to The Reptile Zoo

See snakes, turtles, frogs and more

Slithering snakes, scaley lizards, crocs, alligators, and colorful frogs line the walls of The Reptile Zoo in Monroe. Observe animal behavior, gently touch the turtles, and spend the afternoon learning about various creatures. My kids, ages 10 and 12, were excited to see a variety of reptiles and amphibians in one space and couldn’t wait to learn all about these exotic creatures.

Visiting The Reptile Zoo

Enter the lot of The Reptile Zoo and find plentiful parking. Walk up to the door of the building, adorned with statues of snakes and gators (they make for great photo ops with the kids). Open the door and feel a wave of heat hit your face. The temperature is warm and consistently stays around 85 degrees for the comfort of all the animals. Be sure to wear layers if it gets too hot.

After purchasing tickets, grab a map and a free postcard and start your adventure. To make the experience even more exciting and engaging, the zoo has provided a scavenger hunt worksheet, which asked thoughtful questions like: What is the difference between venom and poison? Placards near the exhibits will give you the answer and is a fantastic way to engage in conversation about the exhibits. I-Spy worksheets are available for younger kids, offering more straightforward tasks like “I spy with my little eye…one animal found in Washington.” If you want to make the outing extra enjoyable, bring a favorite snack or treat as a reward after completing the learning prompts.



Weekday pricing is $9.95 for adults 18+ and $7.95 for kids 3-17. Kids ages two and under are free. The zoo is closed for cleaning on Wednesdays. If visiting on a Saturday, admission prices are slightly higher, with tickets costing $2 more for patrons 3+. On Sunday, the zoo is closed.



Feedings and close encounters

Unique experiences include close encounters and Friday night feedings. Close encounters at The Reptile Zoo include the opportunity to observe, touch, and hold a Burmese python outside its enclosure and under the supervision of a docent. There is also an opportunity to be up close and personal with an American alligator. See The Reptile Zoo’s calendar for the schedule.

Friday night feedings are exciting and begin at 5:30 p.m. Watch snakes ingest warmed-up mice while other reptiles feast on fish. Admission to Friday night feedings is $12 and is not included in the price of museum admission. If you miss the Friday night feeding, plan your visit for a Saturday. Mini-feedings start at 5 p.m. Visitors can see a tortoise, a croc, and a snake eat their dinner.



Exhibits at The Reptile Zoo

We walked through a maze of exhibits, visiting and observing various animals. Some were swimming in their little ponds, while others lay still in their habitat. A vibrant-colored green tree python was nestled in a hanging plant that looked like its own personal hammock. My kids looked carefully for camouflaged amphibians or snakes curled up and hidden between rocks. There was a two-headed turtle, a green anaconda, Morelet’s crocodile, rattlesnakes, cobras, and so much more. Seeing the giant tortoise mozying over their straw beds was a spectacular sight while the small turtles speedily (yes, they were fast!) took laps around their enclosure.



We sat at benches to watch the albino crocodile crawl into the water and stood to examine the giant wall of snakeskin that had been collected over the years. Materials like snakeskin and other souvenirs can be purchased at the front desk. Also located by the front desk is a play area for young kids. Take the stairs up and find a small area to play around.


Rescue and adoption

While many of the animals at The Reptile Zoo were purchased by the owners, several were rescued from people who could no longer care for their pets. Some of these creatures can be adopted, so if you’re interested in adding a turtle, snake, or other reptile to the family, this is one place where you can visit the animal and possibly purchase it to take home.


The Reptile Zoo: History

Many parents might be familiar with the Reptile Man, Scott Peterson. Scott opened the Reptile Zoo in 1996 to teach others about reptiles, their conservation, and sustainability. Scott has taken the show on the road, presenting programs about these animals at schools and festivals all across Washington. He also attends birthday parties, introducing animals to children with close encounters that allow them to touch and hold a variety of reptiles. Scott’s children now operate the zoo and continue his mission to educate the community.

If you’ve got an animal lover in the family, then this day trip to The Reptile Zoo will not disappoint. Pack your snacks and take the trip to Monroe for a sssssuper reptilian adventure.


Know before you go

  • The Reptile Zoo is located at 22715 US-2 B, Monroe, WA 98272
  • Weekday pricing is $9.95 for adults 18+ and $7.95 for kids 3-17. Saturdays $11.95 for adults 18+ and $9.95 for kids 3-17. Kids ages two and under are free.
  • Close encounters and feedings are on Friday and Saturday evenings
  • The zoo is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays
  • Dress in layers
  • Bring snacks and drinks
  • The Reptile Zoo is stroller-friendly but it can get tight when crowded

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About the Author

Jasmin Thankachen

Jasmin is the Associate Publisher at Seattle's Child and an Eastside mom of two boys. She enjoys parenting with lots of love and laughter. Co-Founder of PopUp StoryWalk, she also loves children's picture books, essay writing, and community stories.