Thousands of people are expected to pack a southwest community centre this weekend for this year’s Calgary Reptile Expo.

The show, that’s been in Calgary for more than 15 years, is hosted by The Alberta Reptile and Amphibian Society (TARAS) to provide an opportunity for enthusiasts or first-timers a chance to get up close with the creatures.

Vanessa Millichamp, a TARAS member, has been participating in the event for the past three years with her own pets.

From snakes to tortoises to geckos, Millichamp has a whopping 23 reptiles and they all live with her in her house.

“I would have to say the tegus and the red foot tortoise are my favourite,” she says.

While it may seem quite the feat to own so many reptiles, she believes they actually make great pets.

“The biggest misconception would be that people think reptiles are gross and slimy, dangerous, and that they can size you up and eat you.”

Millichamp adds they require less maintenance and are pretty quiet.

If people are interested in having a reptile or amphibian as a pet, or if they just want to learn more about them, organizers say the Calgary Reptile Expo is the perfect place to get some more education.

“We saw an opportunity to raise money for the society and have face-to-face talks with local breeders and hobbyists. To talk to the public and have people get the information right from the breeders themselves,” said Brandon Millichamp, Vanessa’s husband.

Organizers say it’s an all ages event and it includes a special area where children will be able to touch and hold the reptiles and amphibians.

The Calgary Reptile Expo will be hosted at the Mid-Sun Community Centre (50 Midpark Rise S.E.) on May 25 and May 26.