If you are fascinated by lizards and all creatures that slither, then make tracks to the Alice Springs Reptile Centre. Handily located right in Alice Springs, this centre is small, but offers the young, and young at heart alike, the chance to get up close with a fascinating array of more than 100 reptiles. Like a lot of Central Australian animals, these reptiles can be hard to see in the wild because they have adapted to the harsh conditions by hiding out for a lot of the daylight hours. So, even though a lot of these reptiles are quite common in the surrounding area, this will be your best chance to actually see them clearly.
The centre has recreated natural habitats that display everything from dramatic-looking thorny devils to distinctive frilled-neck lizards, and tiny geckoes to huge perentie. Inland taipans, death adders and brown snakes are just a few of the venomous snakes also on display, as well as many skinks and frogs. There are even underwater views into the home of their saltwater crocodile Terry, so you can see the power of this prehistoric predator in his usual watery environs.
One reptile that gets the star treatment is the gecko, which has its own Gecko Cave featuring species of geckoes distinct to the Central Australia, Barkly Tableland and Top End regions. Specially styled enclosures in the cave are little habitats that were designed to make it easy to see these reclusive, nocturnal reptiles.
The daily interactive sessions are a great way to gain even a greater understanding of these fascinating reptiles from the knowledgeable staff. Visitors may even get to handle a python or other reptiles, which is certainly a highlight. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who is a little bit squeamish to conquer their fears too.
The centre is open from 9.30am to 5pm daily, with the talks at 11am, 1pm and 3.30pm. During the winter months, it’s a good idea to visit between 11am and 3pm when the heat-loving reptiles should be at their most active