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Have you been there? Punta Gorda is home to the world's largest reptile zoo

Iguanaland is home to more than 250 different species of reptiles.
Posted at 11:28 AM, Jul 02, 2024

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Since 2022, Punta Gorda has been home to Iguanaland, a reptile zoo that houses more than 250 different species of reptiles.

Anna Meyer displays Pan, a three-year-old Grand Cayman Blue Rock Iguana.

“That makes us the largest reptile zoo in the world,” said Anna Meyer, operations manager at Iguanaland. “Our three main missions here at Iguanaland that influence everything we do is education, conservation and research.”

The facility sits on a 12 acre campus where visitors can get up close to rare and unique reptiles, including lizards, snakes and turtles.

Aldabra Tortoise
Fox 4's Charlotte County Community Correspondent Alex Orenczuk feeds and Aldabra Tortoise at Iguanaland.

“Reptiles can be a polarizing group of animals,” said Meyer. “So, we have as many of our species as possible come out and interact with people and provide opportunities for anyone in our community to have a new experience and gain a little more respect and understanding, and less fear for these animals.”

Despite being a relatively new business, Iguanaland has received excellent reviews from visitors and earned a 4.8 average Google review.

Anna Meyer
Anna Meyer speaks with Fox 4's Charlotte County Community Correspondent Alex Orenczuk.

“We are very proud of that feedback and we take it seriously, we don’t have a large staff and everyone who works here loves being here,” said Meyer.

Iguanaland is one of Charlotte County’s many primarily outdoor activities, yet a new report from the Punta Gorda/Englewood Beach Visitors and Convention Bureau for January - March said nearly 30% of visitors want to have more outdoor activity offered in the area.

“It was surprising to me because we have so many outdoor offerings for visitors to take part in, and thats what we really sell our destination on," said Sean Doherty, Tourism Director for the VCB. "You mentioned Iguanaland, and that's just one of many different types of activities, there's just a whole bunch of different things that people can do outdoors here.”

Sean Doherty
Sean Doherty speaks with Fox 4's Charlotte County Community Correspondent Alex Orenczuk.

Doherty said with increased growth, there is more opportunity for other recreation based businesses like Iguanaland to open.

"With more attractions and activities for people to do, it creates demand," said Doherty. "So there is room for growth but of course we want to balance that growth and make sure that things are sustainable here."