Frequently Asked Questions
Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?
If you are purchasing tickets the day of the event, an ID may be required. There is no minimum age to enter this event. If you are bringing children, parental supervision is required at all times.
Are your animals safe to handle?
Yes. Each year hundreds of thousands of people interact with our animals at shows throughout Chicago in a safe and educational manner. Many of the animals on display at ReptileFest are used for educational programs by our members and exhibitors throughout the year and are used to being touched and handled by people. Not all of our animals are for handling however. Certain animals, like our venomous snakes and more sensitive species (like dart frogs) are for display only and are not handled by the public. Our exhibitors are trained to recognize when their animals are experiencing stress and will remove them from display if necessary. We also provide hand sanitizer for participants at all of our stations to ensure our animals and the public stay safe as well.
Can I bring my pet/s to ReptileFest?
We do not allow any outside pets to attend ReptileFest so please leave your dogs, cats, birds, fish and reptiles at home. Service animals however are welcome.
Can I hold/touch an animal at ReptileFest?
Absolutely! We display over 200 species of reptiles and amphibians each year. These include common pet reptiles like leopard geckos, corn snakes and red-eared sliders as well as bigger animals like iguanas, boa constrictors and African tortoises. Most of the animals can be touched or held, but please ask an exhibitor about our handling rules and their specific animals before touching them.
Can I buy my ticket on the day of the event?
Yes. We accept cash, check and all major credit cards. GROUP DISCOUNTS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE ONLINE. If you don’t want to wait in line on the day of the event, we suggest pre-purchasing your tickets on Eventbrite.com.
Can I be an exhibitor or volunteer at ReptileFest?
In order to exhibit animals at ReptileFest you must be a current member of the Chicago Herpetological Society. If you would like to volunteer at ReptileFest, you must be involved with a partner organization such as a conservation group, museum, local school or zoo OR must be invited by the show director. We do our best to attract the highest quality exhibitors and volunteers year after year.
Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event?
We strongly encourage people to bring their printed tickets to the show. If you forget your printed ticket, we can also scan your digital receipt at the door.
Do I have to touch a reptile at your show?
No. We never force anyone to touch, hold or handle an animal if they do not want to. However, this show is a great way for people with a fear and/or curiosity for reptiles to interact with them in a safe and supervised manner.
Do you sell live animals at ReptileFest?
No. The mission of ReptileFest is to educate the public about the conservation and care of these animals. Our exhibitors may be able to recommend a breeder or trade show where you can purchase a specific species, but we DO NOT sell/trade animals at this show.
Do you sell reptile supplies at ReptileFest?
In the past we have had reptile and animal supply companies sell dry goods (bedding, reptile food etc.). Each year is different but the amount of reptile supplies for sale at our festival is limited.
Do you have food at ReptileFest?
Yes. Each year Al’s Beef caters ReptileFest and feeds all of our hungry volunteers. They also have food for sale (beefs, hot dogs, sausages, drinks) for the general public.
Is your event fully accessible?
Yes. Our event is held on the main floor of a Physical Education complex and is fully accessible to individuals using wheelchairs, mobility scooters or other mobility devices. We also offer free admission for disabled and alternately abled individuals.
How can I contact the organizer with any questions?
Please use our contact form.
How much money should I bring with me?
That is entirely up to you, our participant. Do keep in mind that 1.) We do not have an ATM on site and 2.) this is a fundraising event that features t-shirts/stickers for sale, a face painting station & photo booth services. Plan accordingly.
What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?
Free parking is avaiable at Northeastern Illinois University in the lot immediately west of the Physical Education Complex (follow the signs on the day of the event).
Please see the link below for directions and more transportation options.
Where does the money raised from ReptileFest go?
Money raised from ReptileFest goes towards the continued operation of the Chicago Herpetological Society (the people who put on ReptileFest), our grants program (which donates over $10,000 to reptile research each year), or adoptions program and reptile conservation projects/organizations supported by the CHS.