Ever wonder what it would be like to own a leopard gecko, a Chinese golden thread turtle, a hedgehog or ball python?
Find out at Repticon Chicagoland, which returns to the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles for the second year to offer visitors the opportunity to see reptiles and exotic animals up close, and to learn about them from the experts.
If you goWhat: Repticon Chicagoland, a reptile and exotic pet expo
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an early entry for VIP Saturday, June 29; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, June 30
Where: Kane County Fairgrounds Prairie Events Center, 525 S. Randall Road, St. Charles
Admission: One-day, at the door (does not include VIP entry): $10, $5 for ages 5-12; advance two-day VIP pass (purchase online only): $12, $5 for ages 5-12; two-day VIP pass at the door: $15, $5 for ages 5-12. Children age 4 and younger admitted free both days.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 29, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday June 30, the show will offer live animal presentations, information sessions on exotic animals, and the chance to purchase an exotic pet of your own.
Erica Mede, a certified veterinary technician with the Chicago Exotic Animals Hospital in Skokie, said she can't wait.
"I love this event. It's one of those shows where people can come, and they don't feel pressured to buy anything," she said. "It's a wonderful educational opportunity."
Mede, who will be accompanied by two veterinarians from the hospital and her black rat snake, Vader, will oversee two booths at the expo: one for the hospital and one for the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians. Both booths will allow reptile enthusiasts the opportunity to ask questions about their exotic pets, and learn about what care is available should their reptile get sick.
At the two-day expo, there will be hourly door prize raffles both days and giveaways for VIP guests. Live animal presentations by Discovery Pets -- at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday -- will give guests the opportunity to interact with a large array of species. Discovery Pets is an exotic pet store and reptile center based out of North Carolina that travels to different expos, like Repticon, selling many different species.
Discovery Pets will hold presentations about good starter animals for first-time exotic pet owners, including water dragons and ball pythons. But its shows aren't just limited to reptiles; the vendor will also feature chinchillas, hedgehogs and degus.
But you don't have to be content with just learning about them. If you are ready to make the leap into exotic pet ownership, Discovery Pets will have more than 100 different species of animals available for purchase, and will provide new pet owners with caretaking information.
Other live animal presentations at Repticon will include Southeastern Exotics, focusing on geckos; and the Madison Area Herpetological Society with a variety of reptiles to look at and touch.
Attendees are also welcome to bring their own exotic pets -- no more than two -- to maximize engagement with the experts. And don't be afraid to bring the kids. Although there will be a great diversity of exotic animals available for purchase and handling, attendees cannot bring their own poisonous pets and vendors carefully monitor all handling of animals, according to the website.
For details and a list of events, visit repticon.com/chicagoland.html