If you've ever wanted to get up close to some reptiles but don't have the guts to do it without a protective layer of glass, you're going to want to see the renovated house at the Buffalo Zoo.

Reptiles are really cool to see up close.  But if you don't like the idea of being up close to them without a barrier, then the new reptile and amphibian center is going to be perfect for you.  The Donna M. Fernandes Reptile and Amphibian Center is officially open to the public today after a ceremonial ribbon cutting took place earlier in the week.

They say you might not notice many improvements and renovations right off the bat due to the historic nature of the building itself.  It's still in the same place it was when we used to go to see huge snakes and iguanas back in the day, but now there is new exhibit space, some new tanks and a new exhibit for their new Komodo Dragon.

According to the Buffalo Zoo, the renovation included:

  • New roof, heating, ventilation and water systems creating a footprint that allows for state-of-the-art microenvironments that amphibians and reptiles need to thrive.
  • Custom-designed and refreshed exhibits including fascinating mixed species exhibits. Guests will see many different reptiles, amphibians and even fish living together.
  • A conservation room where Buffalo Zoo animal care experts will continue the vital work in saving species and increasing populations native to Western New York and around the globe.
  • New interactive graphics, including an 18-foot mural created by award-winning artist James Pate exclusively for the Amphibian and Reptile Center. The overall design of the new Amphibian and Reptile Center offers a warm and welcoming environment for all to consider the important role amphibians and reptiles play in our world.

The house has been named after Donna M. Fernandes who was the former President and CEO of the Buffalo Zoo from 2000-2017.