Both are on display at the World of Discovery and Reptile Zoo on Jackson Rd. But this new Ann Arbor destination is no tourist trap. Its mission is to educate about the conservation, rescue, and rehabilitation of these often misunderstood animals, explains Mark Creswell, co-founder with his wife, Jane, of the Great Lakes Zoological Society (GLZS), which runs the zoo.
"We saw a need for education about reptiles because so many people have a negative reaction about them," says Mark, fifty, an easygoing man with an affirming conversational style. "Many [people] don't give conservation a second thought, but these animals play an important role in a balanced ecosystem." Creating a family destination that could also serve as a rescue and recovery center for neglected, injured, and unwanted reptiles and amphibians--whether surrendered pets or animals obtained through a relationship with the DNR and similar groups--had been a dream of Mark's since he and Jane first started a reptile rescue in 2003 in their Chelsea home.
Former Pfizer employees who started their own consulting firm when the drug-maker left town, both Creswells have always loved animals. (Growing up in Texas, Mark spent his first allowance money on a book about amphibians.) But eventually, they had upward of fifty rescued reptiles, mostly snakes, in their basement.