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Museum's Reptile & Amphibian Day features reptile expert Dr. Brady Barr - March 15

RALEIGH -- It has been called one of the coolest events the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences puts on, and this year, the 15th annual Reptile and Amphibian Day will be no exception! With the theme, "Constrictors," more than 50 exhibits, activities and presentations will allow visitors to get up close and personal with live snakes, frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, lizards and crocodiles. On Saturday, March 15 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., all four floors of the Museum will be transformed into a herpetological paradise and it's all free!

In addition to native North Carolina species, the event will also feature many live exotic and colorful animals, including anacondas, poison dart frogs and bearded dragons. "This year's event includes more exhibits, more activities, and more live animals than ever before," says Liz Jones, Educational Events Specialist. "On our first floor alone, there will be a variety of constrictors, including some of the largest and most colorful snakes in the world!"

The educational event has grown in popularity since its inception, and this year, will feature National Geographic's Dr. Brady Barr. Known to be one of the most ambitious herpetology field specialists in the world, Dr. Barr is the first person ever to capture and study all 23 species of crocodilians in the wild. He will give a special presentation inside the Museum's auditorium at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. highlighting his spine-tingling adventures in the wild and motivating kids to follow their dreams and pursue their passions.

Lots of new stations will debut this year, including this year's headlining station, "Outer Banks Wild," sponsored by Andrew Wyatt of the North Carolina Association of Reptile Keepers. This station features several of Wyatt's collection of reticulated pythons, including his most spectacular snakes, Violet, a purple albino dwarf reticulated python and Ula, a 20-foot standard reticulated python. Other stations such as "How Snakes Eat," "How Snakes Survive in Winter," and "Find the Copperhead" also make their debut this year among several annual favorites like, "Boa Constrictors" presented by the Cary Academy Reptile Association and "Chameleons," and "Vipers of Africa." There will also be a State Amphibian Voting Booth where visitors can cast their mock vote for one frog and one salamander.

New this year is the Kids' Carnival, where kids can participate in a Snake Limbo Contest, Frog-Hoppin' Races and the Frog Toss. Kids 7 and under can enjoy the "Make a Snake" craft activity, as well as a host of presentations inside the Museum's Windows on the World amphitheater on the third floor.

Visitors of all ages will enjoy this special event. Families can learn how to find and identify amphibians in their own back yards, or ask questions of our resident experts and learn the differences between reptiles and amphibians, what defines a frog and a toad, and why salamanders are nature's litmus test. Additional exhibits include advice for potential "herp" (reptile and amphibian) pet owners.

Reptile and Amphibian Day is co-sponsored by Weyerhaeuser, PETCO, the Carolina Reptile and Exotic Pet Show and GEICO (local Raleigh office) as well as the North Carolina Herpetological Society. Admission is free. Lunch, snacks and beverages will be available at the Acro Café on the fourth floor. A special Herp Shop also will offer for sale a selection of T-shirts, posters and books on reptiles and amphibians. For more details on Reptile and Amphibian Day, please call (919) 733-7450, ext. 523.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, in downtown Raleigh, documents and interprets the natural history of the state of North Carolina through exhibits, research, collections, publications, and educational programming. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 am to 5 pm, and Sun., noon to 5 pm. Admission is free. Visit the Museum on the Web at naturalsciences.org. The Museum is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, William G. Ross Jr., Secretary.