Park system’s reptile house reopens after renovation

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From slithering snakes to hopping frogs, the Monmouth County Park System’s Reptile House in Huber Woods Park, 25 Brown’s Dock Road, Middletown, is once again teeming with life.

The Reptile House has reopened after extensive renovations. Visitors are invited to see native reptiles and amphibians and learn about their role in the environment, according to a press release from the county.

“The Huber Woods Park Reptile House has been a popular attraction for visitors since the 1990s,” said Freeholder Lillian G. Burry. “With the new renovation, the reptile exhibits will offer nature lovers of all ages an enriching educational experience.”

Originally built in 1927 as a garage to the Hans Huber House (now the Huber Woods Environmental Center), the Reptile House was cramped and outdated. Its renovation included repairing the building’s exterior and redesigning its interior, according to the press release.

The exterior repairs left the original design features intact while the inside of the building was given an open floor plan with new and larger live animal exhibits, improved work areas behind the exhibits, and better circulation for visitors.

Senior park naturalist Sam Skinner said, “We are extremely ecstatic to reopen and welcome visitors. The space looks so different and works well for visitors to come see our inhabitants. If our critters could talk, they would say how nice it is to be in a more natural environment.”

Working with a firm that specializes in animal habitats, the park system installed habitats that feature environmental controls, lighting and scenery. These habitats are accompanied by lively graphics and signs that provide information about the animals and their environments, according to the press release.

Visitors can see and learn about a Natural Corn Snake (an endangered species), Northern Pine Snake (a threatened species in New Jersey), Eastern King Snake, Northern Diamondback Terrapins, Spotted Turtles, Fowlers Toads and Gray Tree Frogs, among other creatures.

The Reptile House is open daily, year round. Winter hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. During the warmer months, hours are extended to 5 p.m. on weekends. Visitors may also  stop into the Huber Woods Environmental Center and explore its exhibits and displays.

The Monmouth County Park System offers nature programs at various locations throughout the year, including the Manasquan Reservoir Environmental Center in Howell.

For more information, visit www.MonmouthCountyParks.com or call 732-842-4000, ext. 4312. For persons with hearing impairment, the park system TTY/TDD number is 711.