Scales Nature Park

Scales Nature Park, Orillia: Address, Phone Number, Scales Nature Park Reviews: 4.5/5

Scales Nature Park
4.5
Speciality Museums
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About
Scales is a nature centre and park focused on the conservation of Canadian reptiles and amphibians. Our centre features the most complete live collection of these creatures in the country. Visitors can touch and hold some reptiles, with help from our staff and volunteers. It's great for rainy days! Group bookings for birthday parties, schools, camps, scouts/guides, and others are possible, and our outreach programs travel to similar venues across the province. The park features 3.5 km of nature trails through a variety of natural habitats. Pets are not allowed on the trails or in the centre. Our newest addition is Reptile Camp, a day camp program for kids! Please realize that this is a working conservation facility. We conduct research and stewardship projects locally, and around the province. You may encounter research technicians, field equipment, etc. Current local projects involve 6 turtle species, massasauga rattlesnakes, and chorus frogs. Ask how you can get involved!
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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4.5
48 reviews
Excellent
32
Very good
10
Average
6
Poor
0
Terrible
0

Andrea_Wallette
Toronto, Canada163 contributions
Jun. 2019 • Family
The staff were friendly and knowledgeable; however, it was extremely expensive for what you got. $47 for two adults, a toddler, and a senior was not worth the experience of maybe 30 minutes and that is walking around the loop three times. There were probably a dozen turtles, two dozen snakes and some other amphibians.

It would be okay for a class trip but not for an afternoon activity. Would not return.
Written June 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Andrea, I'm sorry to hear you felt your visit wasn't worthwhile. Our family pass rate is cheaper than going to the movies, and most visiting families are here for a similar length of time as a movie. Most people don't come for the trails, though- they're nice enough but there are many free trails in this region. Our facility is meant to be a fun educational experience about Canadian reptiles and amphibians, and we have more of them than any other facility in the country. However, there's only 9 species/subspecies of freshwater turtles and ~35 species/subspecies of snakes (1/3rd of which are variations of gartersnake!) in total in our country. We have many of these, and with the amphibians and non-native species included, we usually have 60-70 species on hand for people to learn about. Our staff are biologists or biology students, so they're generally quite knowledgeable and have a lot to share, but I'll agree that toddlers are not the ideal age group. When yours is older, I'd be happy to provide a free pass for you to see if you have a better experience. If it helps, please know that you're helping to support our conservation work- most of which happens away from the public view at the centre. We're very active with efforts to conserve these species in central Ontario and a few other locations.
Written December 27, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

tiffanybond
Orillia, Canada51 contributions
Aug. 2018 • Family
A good half hour stop view snakes and turtles with informative staff
Small venue for younger children The teenage not as impressed with the stop
Written February 3, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Valerie F
Markham, Canada337 contributions
Aug. 2018 • Couples
My husband and I visited for the first time. We had a personal tour. Chris, our guide, has a vast knowledge regarding the creatures in the exhibits and it was obvious that the staff care deeply about their work with the animals. Many of the creatures are endangered and the centre is doing some important outreach and educational work. I was previously unaware how many of these creatures live in southern Ontario and Canada. We had the option of holding some of the snakes and other creatures but preferred to view them only. Would return.
Written August 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

mpang27
Brampton, Canada214 contributions
Aug. 2018 • Family
Staff and volunteers educated myself and my family on snakes, and turtles.
Interesting place to take children of all ages.
Off the beaten path and be careful driving in and out on road leading to the Nature Park as potholes are plentiful. Drive with caution
Written August 11, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

dremamac
Toronto, Canada102 contributions
Aug. 2018 • Family
We found Scales a few years ago and now come back every year while on our summer vacation. Lots to look at and we love that you are able to hold many of the snakes. When they aren’t that busy you get a personal guide to take you through. When they are busy they have guides stationed here and there throughout. It’s not big, but there’s a lot to look at.
Written August 9, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Brethet
Barrie, Canada5 contributions
Aug. 2018 • Family
grandson and I loved it, very interesting, he loved the "hands-on" with the snakes and staff , especially Anton, well worth the visit.
Maureen , Barrie,Ontario, Canada
Written August 7, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

christinecrawley
Barrie, Canada3 contributions
Jul. 2018 • Family
I went with my 10 year old daughter for our first visit. We had a private guide accompany us who was interesting and well-informed. We were able to handle many animals (various snakes, geckoes, and lizards). Outdoors there are hiking trails. We happily spent 4 hours there. I completely disagree about this activity being expensive! For the amount of personal attention we were given, the time we spent-not to mention that the proceeds go to such a worthy organization, it was great value. Very educational and fun!
Written July 12, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Garry M
Orillia, Canada999 contributions
Jun. 2018 • Family
This is a great educational venue to expose kids to hands on experience to reptile and animal life. Staff is very informative and accommodating. We've been taking the grand-kids here every summer for years when they are down visiting. Only comment I have is that personally I found the prices were excessive to begin with and now they've gone up 45.5 % recently - outrages. I realize there is an overhead etc to address but come on now. For a youth educational and sanctuary venue this is pretty steep, especially when in most cases the adults are accompanying children for a supervisory role and not particularly for the same purpose as the youth, especially under repetitive visits. Worthwhile just VERT expensive. My two cents worth...
Written June 30, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Garry! We're glad you think so highly of us, and thanks for bringing the grand-kids! I just wanted to add some info on the cost- we did have a price increase this year, about 25-30%- for example a family pass (2 adults, 2 kids) went from $32+HST to $40+HST. Some categories were slightly more than 25% so that we could keep everything as round numbers. This was our first price increase since we opened in 2010, so it was long overdue, but it was also related to the minimum wage increase this year. Especially with the level of interaction we offer (thanks in part to our awesome volunteers!), our staffing costs are pretty high relative to our admissions revenue. Other than some student summer job wage support through the federal government, we don't receive funding for the nature centre operations. Admissions actually don't come close to covering our operating costs, our outreach programming around Ontario and other off-site activities greatly subsidize the cost of the public nature centre. The centre is only open to the public ~109 days of the year, but animal care happens 365, so there's no way admissions and gift shop sales could hope to cover everything that goes into this place, but we do need to cover the costs of being open those days through admissions or we would have to reduce our hours, staffing, etc. We try to keep our prices in line with other nature/animal facilities, such as Reptilia, Little Ray's Reptile Zoo, Wye Marsh, etc., and also below such things as a trip to the movies. It's definitely a challenge, but we also do want to keep it affordable. We offer season's passes for repeat visitors to come at a discount, give away passes at community events and fundraisers, etc. Suggestions are always welcome! Thanks again for the repeat visits, and the good review here!
Written July 2, 2018
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Honest reviewer
2 contributions
Aug. 2017 • Family
Cool place for kids.Worth the stop. Not too expensive.Nice reptiles.Friendly staff.Clean. Kids love it.
Written May 31, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Rjlockwood
Huntsville, Canada110 contributions
Jun. 2017 • Family
We visited scales and I would certainly go back. You get your own personal guide that answers your questions and takes animals out for you to hold. My daughter loved it
Written June 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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