Cape Fear Serpentarium in Downtown Wilmington

Visit the Cape Fear Serpentarium in Downtown Wilmington for A Chance to Witness Rare Reptiles!

Starring the world’s most dangerous snakes, Cape Fear Serpentarium is a world class Reptile Park, all indoors. The stars live in beautiful surroundings created by a Hollywood set crew. Giant King Cobras that rear up at eye level, Black Mambas, Spitting Cobras, sinister Gaboon Vipers, and wicked looking Fer-de-lance snakes are just a few of the rogues in this amazing, two story, 10,000-sq.-foot gallery located on a historic site.

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A Reticulated Python named “Sheena,” 22 ft. long and weighing more than 250 lbs, swims in her own waterfall. Green Mambas vie for basking spots on a tangle of gnarly jungle vines. Rattlesnakes combat and cobras hood, strike, and copulate right in front of you (it’s obvious the snakes love being here!).

Perhaps the most celebrated exhibit is the world’s largest collection of the rare and deadly Bushmaster snake, biggest viper on earth, reaching 12 feet. Man-eating Nile Crocodiles from Africa are nestled in rock grottoes, and a 12 foot Salt Water Crocodile from Australia living in an undersea cave hanging with stalactites, complete the cold-blooded family.

Over 130 snakes are on exhibit, representing every corner of the world.

The creator and Director of all this is Dean Ripa, a man whose veins run with as much venom as blood. Bitten ten times by venomous snakes over the course of his career, he has the dubious distinction of being the most Bushmaster-bitten of all time. 80% of all persons who encounter the Bushmaster’s huge inch-long fangs die, even with anti-venom treatment. Ripa has survived four Bushmaster bites to date.

You can witness Dean Ripa climbing into the cage with these eight-foot monsters and feeding them off the end of tiny barbecue tongs while lecturing you about the astonishing methods these vipers use to get prey.

Dean spent over 20 years traveling to the remote reaches of the earth to catch the snakes that are in his museum, and his life’s story is surely one of the most amazing anybody has ever lived to tell about. Scott McKenzie, Curator, will greet you at the door to tell you just a bit more than you might care to know about the fascinating creatures he risks his life on a daily basis to care for.

Located along the beautiful new Cape Fear River Walk in historic downtown Wilmington, the Serpentarium is simply the coolest place in Wilmington—a thrill for snake haters and snake lovers alike!

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