Annual CROCtoberfest in Lake Forest this weekend

Sunday October 23, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Wildlife Discovery Center, Lake Forest

Above, Jim Nesci from Cold Blooded Creatures, at the 2015 Croctoberfest has a sweet moment with “Bubba” an American alligator.  –Jeni Ensslin/ photos

by Tina Johansson

The Wildlife Discovery Center (WDC), a living museum in Lake Forest will be hosting its popular CROCtoberfest.

The center located at 1401 Middlefork Drive, has been hosting the event for the past dozen years.

“Over the last 10 years we have averaged around 500 people (each year),” said Rob Carmichael, curator of the center. “Last year we had 850. Now we require shuttle parking from Lake Forest Hospital. It is free of charge and will run every 15 minutes.”

Carmichael added that the 12th annual CROCtoberfest happens to be the longest running event of its kind in the nation.

It will feature an array of reptiles including crocodilians. Designed for all ages, the event promises to please the curious to the bashful.

Meet Bubba the world famous American Alligator, who will be appearing from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. The expert staff of WDC, along with members of the Chicago Herpetological Society, Madison Area Herpetological Society and Friends of Scales, will be there to talk about crocodiles and their kin including some of the WDC’s very own residents. Visitors can experience close up encounters with a variety of reptiles.

“Since its inception, many zoos from around the nation have started hosting their own CROCtoberfest events which have raised tens of thousands of dollars for crocodile conservation,” said Carmichael.

There will be kid-friendly activities, face painting, the Wildlife Discovery Center’s Wildside Store, food and refreshments. The admission fee is $10 per person, at the door. Either cash, check or credit card will be accepted. The funds raised will help the Wildlife Discovery Center maintain the care it provides the resident alligators and crocodiles. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds will help support crocodile conservation.

Makena and Aja of Gurnee learn about a Bull python while it makes itself comfortable.
Makena and Aja of Gurnee learn about a Bull python while it makes itself comfortable with them.

Knauz Autopark is sponsoring the event. Visitors must use the free shuttle bus service at the Lake Forest Hospital Staff Parking Lot (entrance off of Waukegan Road). The shuttle bus will run every 15 minutes.

The Wildlife Discovery Center is a living museum and biological station at historic Elawa Farm, situated alongside the Middlefork Savanna, a 670-acre wildlife habitat in Lake Forest. The mission is to inspire all generations to understand, respect, and protect challenged, and often endangered, ecosystems with emphasis on the lives they embrace. Their exhibits and programs provide experiences that kindle a lifetime of interest in nature.

For more information visit Wildlife Discovery Center


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