Ty Park's Iguanaland-old
Iguanaland: For Reptile and All Animal Lovers
With the opening of the12-acre Iguanaland zoo in Punta Gorda, Florida this summer, owner Ty Park’s mission is to offer a unique and educational experience for reptile enthusiasts and all animal lovers.
“Our goal with Iguanaland is to become the largest reptile zoo in the world,” said Ty.
Beyond exposing people to a large variety of reptiles, the mission of the zoo is to also be a conservation and educational center.
“Iguanaland will also be a research and academic learning center. I also want to raise $250,000 a year to support reptile research, conservation, and fighting laws against reptile keeping,” he said.
Planning and approval from local government agencies hasn’t come easy for Ty. “It’s been very difficult,” he said. “There are many regulations and laws we needed to address.”
He is awaiting certification from the Association of Zoos and Parks that will exempt Iguanaland from some laws that ban the keeping of reptiles.
Iguanaland will provides visitors with an experience that includes learning more about the diversity of species and an up-close look at how they relate to each other and their environments. Ty will participate in a loan program that will allow him to feature reptiles from other zoos and vice versa.
Park’s Journey Leads to Zoo
When Ty was a young child, he caught the reptile bug.
“I was given a turtle by my father when I was 6 years old. Since then, I don’t remember any time when I didn’t have fish or reptiles in my collection,” he said.
That’s when Ty started educating himself through trial and error.
“I read everything I could get my hands on,” Ty explained. “I was never afraid to try new things when it came to care for my pets.”
He learned from his missteps and found it beneficial to learn as much as he could from others.
Ty’s collection has grown almost unbelievably, and he now has over 2,000 reptiles. Among them, a Rhinoceros Iguana named Donkey Kong and George, a Lewisi Iguana hybrid.
Ty said, “I breed a lot of species including Bearded Dragons, Rock Iguanas, Spiny Tail Iguanas, Monitor Lizards, turtles and tortoises. I also produced 13 species of chameleons. You’ll see all of these species and more at the zoo.”
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Zen Habitats Supports USARK
Zen Habitats is proud to support rescue and other organizations that promote the ethical care of reptiles. We are a Gold Member of the United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK). USARK is leading the charge to stop a federal bill that will reinstate the ban on interstate transportation and ownership of many reptile species. Learn more about USARK and join the cause.