Front gate of Reptile Farm, Brackenridge ParkRemains of the front gate of Reptile Farm, Brackenridge Park
The Reptile Farm had originally opened in 1933 in close proximity to the Witte Museum. It would move twice before coming to this final location in 1937 when permanent stone structures replaced the temporary structures made of planks, barbed wire and old sheet metal. The NYA assisted museum employees in constructing the large tank and surrounding snake houses.
It is on the edge of the Witte Museum property which is in the boundaries of Brackenridge Park. The Reptile Farm was a huge success from the time it opened. Attendees paid a dime to walk through the amphitheater-like enclosure to view snakes, turtles and alligators. Proceeds from the exhibit were credited with keeping the Museum open during the Depression.
The Reptile Farm was closed in 1975. The structures remained standing at the edge of the museum’s property for many years and were even cleaned up in the early 2010s. By Summer 2016, however, the remains had been removed to make room for the museum’s expansion.
http://www.sanantonio.gov/parksandrec/directory_brackenridge.aspx The 2011 nomination form for Brackenridge Park to the NRHP features the Reptile Farm on page 8 and 67 and a photo and newspaper article from the San Antonio Light November 11, 1939 are shown on page 108.
Project originally submitted by Elizabeth Hilburn on November 9, 2013.
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