While we're not dying to snuggle with pythons or iguanas, we can learn a thing or two about survival from them–they've only been around for, oh, 200 million years. Next week, more than 60 new creepy, crawly, scaly, exotic reptiles from around the world will take up residence at the Academy of Sciences' latest wildlife spectacular, Snakes & Lizards: The Summer of Slither, which opens May 9.
At the museum, you'll be greeted by Lemondrop, a gorgeous, 15-foot long albino python (you might want to stick around for feeding time, too), and learn about what makes these squamates so special–projectile tongues, venom, scales, hinged jaws, keen senses of sight and smell, camouflage and the ways they get around, even without feet!–and their importance in the world's ecosystem.
In addition to the kinds of creatures you've only seen on late-night reruns of Planet Earth, the museum will have two very real dragons: The Gila Monster (a lizard whose venom is used to treat Diabetes and Alzheimer's) and the Eastern Water Dragon (which can stay submerged for up to 30 minutes). And all around you, they'll have a ton of fossils and fossil casts of ancient, giant and downright weird reptiles that roamed the earth long before humans came along. What better way to face some of those deep-seated fears you've carried around for far too long?
California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, 415-379-8000. The exhibit runs through September 5, 2011.