If you’re a fan of all things scaly and slithery… or if you’ve found yourself fascinated by the search for Orlando’s escaped king cobra, have we found the event for you! Repticon has been a highlight Orlando event for over ten years now, and soon these sometimes-scary, always-intriguing creatures will be unleashed upon us once again! Okay, considering that king cobra situation, I should probably be more careful in my wording here.
If you want to check out some fascinating critters in a safe, controlled environment, this may be just the thing you’ve been looking for! Think MegaCon – for snakes, lizards, dragons, frogs, turtles, and more. Now, you’re getting the idea – right? Repticon travels the nation sharing displays, products, knowledge, and more with everyone from the curious to the seasoned. It’s all things reptile, and it will soon make its triumphant return to Orlando (one of the biggest and best of its many expo stops, by the way).
Roughly 20 employees organize this festival of all things reptile – with the help of numerous knowledgeable vendors., including renowned rescue organizations. I recently had the chance to speak with Event Coordinator, Skip Peel, about this one-of-a-kind convention.
Skip was eager to share the background of Repticon, which began its run in the Florida market over ten years ago. Although it is a nationally touring convention, Repticon makes many stops throughout Florida annually, with three conventions taking place in Orlando each year. Some stops are known as “Reptidays” – a one-day expo. Some (as is the case in Orlando) demand a full weekend.
Repticon features everything from tortoises (which Skip describes as a “major commitment”) to “mid-level pet” turtles and the much less demanding ball python. However, you may be surprised by the creatures you’ll encounter at Repticon. Lemurs, foxes, and wolves have also been participants in this wild display. While Skip does admit to having king cobras in attendance, they have remained constrained (much to our relief).
Repticon is a fangtastic (see what I did there?) opportunity for exploring your wild side – even if it’s dormant. Skip describes the Repticon audience as a “combination of people who have been into it forever, and families developing new hobbies”. It’s a learning environment as well. While there is certainly an opportunity to purchase critters and their needed accessories, there’s a chance to gain knowledge that may help you to welcome a new member into your family. Seminars and demonstrations are a fixture at Repticon, so if you’re curious yet inexperienced, you’re as welcome as the folks who wear their snakes as comfy accessories!
Skip emphasized that “you’d be surprised by how vast it is”, when describing the reptile-loving population. Repticon welcomes newbies, and staff and vendors are eager to help you find a comfortable niche in the reptile kingdom. Even if you are the type to fear these creepy crawlies (as I am), they’re prepared to ease you in to a whole new world of the animal kingdom. Skip explains the fear of reptiles as partially “the fear of the unknown”, and this is a perfect place to conquer that wonder. If you’re part of the population that has a fear that is taught, this is also a prime opportunity to ease yourself out of a lifelong misconception.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new addition to your family, you’ll appreciate the demonstrations, interactions, education, and unique guests. Past Repticon guests have included crocodiles, indigo snakes, black mambas, and snakes bred for colorization (like Skittles, the ball python).
Repticon slithers its way to the Central Florida Fairgrounds on December 5 and 6. Count on ComeSeeOrlando.com to deliver the highlights of the show. Of course, you can’t get up close and personal through social media, so we challenge you to join us! Our fearless leader, Dawn, does have one great phobia that stems from her childhood in Texas – snakes. Her goal is to overcome this fear and interact with as many Repticon representatives as possible during her visit. We encourage you to come cheer her on – if only at a distance. If you’re not in Orlando, check the official Repticon site for a show near you. Each show features an entirely different list of vendors and demonstrators – you never know who (or what) you may encounter!