It’s no secret that Alice Springs is quite a small place, and being located in central Australia, right in the middle of the outback, doesn’t exactly help it’s situation. That isn’t to say that there’s nothing to do here though – in fact, for such a small place, there are a ridiculous amount of things to get up to – like climbing Anzac Hill. During my venture through the outback I found myself with a couple of days to spare in Alice Springs, and was advised to visit the Reptile Centre. Here’s why.
So many reptiles!
Alice Springs’ Reptile Centre is home to the largest collection of reptiles and lizards in central Australia – including my personal favourite; the thorny devil. Now my pictures of this little (and insanely cute) guy are pretty dire, but you can catch glimpses of him in the video below (at 24seconds):
Apart from the awesome thorny devils, the reptile centre is also home to Terry the saltwater crocodile, whose pictures you might have found randomly floating around other pages on the blog. He’s massive and measures around 3.3 metres in length!
Each day around 11:00 am, 1:00 pm and 3:30 pm there are sessions where the staff tell you about the different creatures that are at the centre. It’s an interesting show and doesn’t take too long.
The demonstration can be particularly helpful, as the staff give you information about different reptiles, how to hold them – and why. They’ll also go into detail about the various species of snakes which can be found and what to do if you come across them.
This also includes why the deadly Australian snakes aren’t actually as deadly as you might think. You can always check out the different in fang sizes between Australian and African snakes, that might help you get a better idea of what I mean.
Afterwards you can choose to take part in a supervised handling session, where you can actually hold some of the various lizards and snakes that they have at the centre. Excusing the terrible quality – here’s someone handling one of the centre’s blue tongued lizards.
If you’re lucky, the photogenic critters will put on a bit of a show for you, and you’ll be able to snap some pretty cool shots like this one of this ego-trippin’ Pogona (more commonly known as a bearded dragon):
The reptile centre has both indoor and outdoor areas to accommodate for the different reptiles on display. That also accounts for the fact that Terry the salty needs a pretty big enclosure to fit him in.
Some of the larger reptiles have their own funky outdoor areas where they get to spend the whole day basking in the Alice sun. I can think of worse things to do. He isn’t dead, in fact, you can see this particular monitor in the video above.
All of Australia’s most venomous snakes are on display, the eastern and western browns, and even the world’s deadliest snake; the inland taipan. The snakes that you see in the demonstration are the harmless ones, so you don’t need to worry about getting in trouble. Unless you happen to be allergic to snakes, in which case you probably shouldn’t handle them.
I mentioned before that a large part of the centre was outside, but there are also a whole bunch of reptiles on display inside the centre. Now I could be wrong, but I’m guessing a lot of that has to do with the snakes escaping. After all, that would only make more work for the staff.
Which by the way is another aspect of the reptile centre. The Alice Springs Reptile Centre also doubles as a snake call-out service. That means that when the residents of Alice find snakes in the yards they can call the centre to get them relocated.
No one wants to hurt snakes, they’re awesome, so relocating them to an uninhabited area not only makes it safer for the general population, but it also makes life safer and less stressful for the creatures in question.
This also helps to ensure the survival of some of the creatures, as they might be inhabiting an area which will be part of a controlled burn off to make sure that bush fires don’t spread into the town.
Although some of the snakes in the outback are monstrous, there are a few small, extremely cute ones. Now I’m not saying that I could pick a favourite, but if I HAD to take one of these guys home, I’d have extreme difficulty choosing between the thorny devils and this guy:
Now that you’ve seen what this place is all about, I’m sure you’re dying to find out the minor details such as how to get there and how much it costs and all that lark.
You can find it at:
9 Stuart Terrace
That’s really close to the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the National Pioneer Women’s Hall of Fame, so if you want to make a day of it you certainly can. It’s also not too far from the botanic gardens.
The centre is open 7 days a week between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, and admission is (as of August 2015) $16.50 for Adults, $8.50 for children (4-16), $13.50 for concession and $42 for a family ticket which includes 2 adults and 2 children.
I’d certainly recommend a visit.