Search Results For


American Zoos Lifestyle Museums and Zoos Pennsylvania attractions Things to do in Pennsylvania Zookeepers

Reptiland: 7 Reasons To Visit Today

  • By
  • September 12, 2019
  • Sticky
Reptiland Komodo Dragon

A Must-See Pennsylvania Zoo

Animals bring smiles, warm our hearts, and teach us why we need to learn as much as possible about their natural habitats. Reptiland offers interactive exhibits.


Reptiland: 7 Reasons to Visit introduces you to slithering snakes, alligators, two Komodo Dragons, frogs, giant tortoises, parakeets, and an emu. They’re the seven reasons you should plan to spend a morning or afternoon at the Reptiland.

Turtles, lizards, snakes, frogs, and crocodilians from around the world flourish in naturalistic habitats with an educational element that spans 6,500 square feet. Reptiland exhibits and gallery houses are open year-round.

Should you need more coaxing, Reptiland: 7 Reasons to Visit, is the best of both worlds: entertainment and education. Adults and children can count on learning a thing or two about each of the animals who call Reptiland home. Displays and exhibits offer visitors a chance to observe and learn.


Very often, we look to zoos for entertainment but, they can provide so much more and ignite curiosity and nurture a sense of respect and wonderment for children and adults of all ages.

Take a moment to browse the photo gallery and then scroll down and continue reading about Clyde Peeling, Reptiland founder and owner and the astonishing animals in his life. At the bottom of the page, click on the links to watch my candid video interviews with Peeling, an astute and captivating speaker with years of expertise.

Reptiland Photo Gallery

Celebrating Success: One Step at a Time

Peeling’s dream began as a roadside zoo and has evolved for more than 50 years as a result of his perseverance and genuine concern for the welfare of the animals. Opening a zoo was a lifelong goal and that dream came to fruition on July 11, 1964, when he opened the Reptiland doors to visitors. Creating “a zoo along the road,” rather a roadside zoo, according to Peeling, has been his focus since he bought the tract of land, formerly a vacant strip of Pennsylvania farmland in Allenwood, PA.


Reptiland wasn’t an instant success and the zoo has grown as a result of Peeling’s diligence, periodic expansions, and renovations, and most of all, his dedication to the animal preservation, responsible propagation of a variety of endangered species, and conservation. Peeling is recognized and respected for his efforts throughout the zoo community and it’s not a mystery why. Once you’ve been inside Reptiland you’ll understand.


Here’s your chance to watch my series of interviews with Clyde Peeling. You’ll learn more about his aspirations and current happenings at Reptiland.

My series of video interviews with Clyde Peeling reveal how the man behind Reptiland overcame obstacles along the way. In this interview, he explains how traveling exhibitions have become an important part of Reptiland’s business.


My sons and I spent a memorable afternoon at Reptiland. Teaching children to respect all creatures is as much a matter of providing mobile classrooms at zoos near you. .


Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube travel channel and share this article and videos with your friends and family.

Reptiland: 7 Reasons to Visit

Do you have comments or a photograph about Reptiland you’d like to share? Post them at Learn more about my travel and content writing services here.

Visit for visitor information, current show schedules, and other important details.


Many thanks to Clyde Peeling and his staff for the opportunity for my sons and me to visit Reptiland. I hope you’ve enjoyed Reptiland: 7 Reasons to Visit. My visit was comped but my opinions are my own and based on my experience.

Be sure to check out my related zoo coverage. As a newly married couple and for years while we raised our children, we made a point to regularly visit zoos as a reminder of how we, as humans, can peacefully and respectfully co-exist with the animal kingdom.

No Comments
City Hall Grand Hotel: Where to stay in Pennsylvania Eber Culver architectural designs Historic hotels in Pennsylvania hotel Pennsylvania hotel Williamsport Hotels near me Lifestyle Williamsport Lodging

Williamsport’s Historic Lodging

  • By
  • August 26, 2019
City Hall Grand Hotel Exterior

Williamsport’s Historic Lodging


City Hall Grand Hotel Historic Williamsport Lodging
Once a city government hub, the Williamsport, PA, City Hall was transformed into a hotel that will delight anyone who appreciates an artful renovation of a historic property. The “Trumpeter,” Civil War monument erected 120 years ago, welcomes guests and passers-by.

All photos by Joan Mead-Matsui unless otherwise noted.

City Hall Grand Hotel is a work of art.

Williamsport’s historic lodging option opened its doors three years ago. The famed City Hall Grand Hotel is a perfect example of design ingenuity. In fact, when designers transformed the downtown multi-level municipal building into lodging they honored Williamsport’s residents and the city’s most prominent industries. The late Joshua Butters saw this project as an opportunity to showcase Pennsylvania historic architecture, preservation, adaptive reuse, and revitalization of a downtown building. 

Guests told me they find the decor and creative use of repurposed materials refreshing and commendable. Currently, the hotel draws travelers from around the world. 

City Hall Grand Hotel: Repurposed Originality and Ingenuity

Time stands still when you step into this historic downtown Williamsport, PA building. If you envision a grand old style structure that features wooden interior doors with frosted glass and everything down to the doorknobs screams city government hub, you’re on the mark. If you’re looking for a re-purposed historic hotel near Wellsboro or the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, this grand hotel is within an hour from popular outdoor recreation attractions. 

Initially, I set out to find lodging within driving distance from a well-known fishing creek. The room descriptions and images on the hotel’s website prompted me to book a room for my sons and me. I was intrigued by what I saw. Rest assured, City Hall Grand Hotel you’ll want to see this treasure – the epitome of Williamsport’s historic past. 

Williamsport's Historic Lodging: City Hall Grand Hotel
The tower is a focal point throughout the city. If you lose your way as you’re sightseeing around town, the tower will guide you back to City Hall Grand Hotel. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on Nov. 7, 1976. Photo by Kento Matsui

 Eber Culver: If He Could See It Now

Eber Culver, one of the city’s most prominent architects, designed the building in 1893. The five-story former city hall features a tower and yellow brick trimmed in stone, molded brick ornamentation, and columns of terra cotta. It’s a sight to behold.

Culver’s city hall stands alongside another historic Williamsport landmark, The “Trumpeter,” a Civil War monument erected 120 years ago. Williamsport offers the traveler a taste of the past and important insight into Pennsylvania’s former and current industries. Plan a Williamsport walking tour of the former “Lumber Capital of the World.” You’ll find other fine examples of equally impressive antiquity and the city’s industrial heritage.

Exterior Charm Untouched

The exterior facade remains unchanged due to preservation rules that govern the renovation of historic properties. Consequently, while the outside of the structure hasn’t been altered, the stone and architectural detailing pave the way for what’s in store inside.

City Hall Grand Hotel Williamsport PA Treasure
City Hall Grand Hotel There are no better words to describe the City Hall Grand Hotel than creative, quality craftsmanship, and adaptive reuse.

The interior reveals Williamsport’s industrial heritage while offering guests modern-day comforts. During the renovation, brick and lumber were salvaged and incorporated as key elements in the overall design.

City Hall Grand Hotel, Williamsport, PA

City Hall Grand Hotel offers two types of rooms: Traditional and Hulk Rooms.

HULK ROOM? What’s a Hulk Room?

Joshua Butters, Hulk Destruction, Construction, and Salvage Company, had a kinship with the city’s history. As a result, authenticity abounds as Butters honors Williamsport and its residents with one-of-a-kind room and names.

Many of the Hulk Rooms feature open showers and separate toilet rooms that lend a European flair. Guests who are traveling with children and need more privacy should request the “Flood” or Lumber rooms.

City Hall Grand Hotel Guest Room Open Bathroom
An open floor plan in many of the Hulk guestrooms featured an open shower room that’s ideal for couples and single guests. See the image directly below for another take on the open bath area.
City Hall Grand Hotel open floor plan second view
Brick and tile line the walls and floors in the Hulk bathroom shown below.

Privacy A Priority

A sliding door in several of the Hulk Rooms gives adults traveling with children more privacy. Be sure to ask for one of those guest rooms when you book your reservation.

City Hall Grand Hotel Industrial Heritage Shown Throughout the Building
You’ll be captivated with the restored photographs displayed throughout the hotel. “The Lumber Room” reflects the city’s title as the former Lumber Capital of the World. Some of the photos date back to the 1800s. Shown is one of the many tables Butters handcrafted.
Hulk Lumber Room City Hall Grand Hotel
A close-up photo of the late Joshua Butters’ craftsmanship shows off wood as one of Williamsport’s primary industries: Lumber.

Every detail, from the bed frames and sliding doors to the sink and light fixtures have Butter’s creative stamp.

City Hall Grand Hotel Crafted Lighting Fixtures
Soft task lighting adds a touch of minimalism to a Hulk Room at City Hall Grand Hotel, a re-purposed historic City Hall building in Williamsport, PA.

No two rooms are alike. Butters designed and crafted many of the accents exclusively for the City Hall Grand Hotel owners, Tim and Sandra Butters. Their vision for the late Victorian-Romanesque Revival-style building ties in with its former title, “Lumber Capital of the World.”

Salvaged lumber and hardware are repurposed in each guest room. Wood and metal were repurposed as headboards and other accent pieces.

Traditional Rooms

Lodging options are anything but generic. Guests can choose from a Hulk or Traditional room in the City Hall Grand Hotel. Custom-made fixtures mix with the new, antique, and repurposed to create an artful atmosphere in both styles.

City Hall Grand Hotel Decorative Accents
Take note of the hand-crafted sinks and other fixtures created by Joshua Butters and other local craftsmen.
One common trait is the attention to detail. The “Origami” swan you’ll find perched upon your bed when you arrive.

Bright and Airy 

Once you roll up the blinds you’ll enjoy the light that floods the room through large windows. Meanwhile, a soft color palette is among the charms you’ll find in a City Hall Grand Hotel traditional room. Each room in this magnificent historic City Hall is equipped with a mini-refrigerator and Keurig machine.

Two of the Traditional Rooms are equipped with a Jacuzzi Tub
If soaking in a tub filled with soothing, warm bath water is your idea of relaxation, request a room with a Jacuzzi tub.

Don’t expect to find a front desk in the lobby or anywhere else at City Hall Grand Hotel. One additional feature we love is the absence of wait time when you check-in. Guests receive a payment confirmation and a key code prior to their arrival.

From the ceiling to floor, expect the unexpected elements.
One of the show-stopping architectural details is an original glass ceiling in one of the Hulk Rooms.

City Hall Grand Hotel is conveniently located in downtown Williamsport at 454 Pine Street. Plan a visit and combine your stay with a trip to one of the nearby attractions. We visited Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, which led to an extraordinary video interview with founder, Clyde Peeling. The following day we set out for Rock Run for an afternoon hike to one of Pennsylvania’s most beautiful array of waterfalls.

Visit to book your getaway.


My lodging was comped but my opinions are my own and based on my experiences.


Joan Mead-Matsui is a five-time award-winning freelance journalist; travel writer and photographer. She covers news and features’ stories that range from unique travel accessories and products to destinations and attractions. Joan was a full-time freelance content and features writer for print and digital news sources and magazines. Visit her art website,

No Comments

Guest Writers’ Guidelines

  • By
  • July 4, 2016
Guest Writer Guidelines for Travel Writers

For Travel Writers and Product Reviews

Our guest writers’ guidelines are here to help you showcase your skills. Guest writers are welcome to pitch a story idea but your subject must be travel-related and contain quality content that’s exclusive to Read the guest writer’s guidelines and our content before you submit your idea.

Attention Content Writers:


Read the Guest Writers’ Guidelines.

  • Keep our audience in mind. Consider who will be reading our web content. We publish articles that are informative and educational.
  • Use an active voice.
  • Be concise, clear, and direct.
  • Email your travel-related idea to me.
  • CONTENT must be family-friendly and suitable for readers of all ages.
  • POSTS must be authored by the contributing guest blogger.
  • Proofread your post (using a reputable grammar and spell-checker like Grammarly) before you submit it to me for consideration. Submissions that have grammatical or spelling errors will not be published.
  • Include a title and subtitles and keep paragraphs relevant to the titles.
  • Research your keywords and include the keywords in the content so they occur naturally. Show the keywords you’ve selected at the bottom of your document.
  • Include at least three photographs you’ve taken.
  • Be sure to attribute all sources for the information you include in your story.
  • Message me using the form at the bottom of the page if you have any questions.
  • DO NOT submit a post, suggest topics, or ask me to review your guest post if you represent a company or any of its products, or affiliate programs.
  • DO NOT include affiliate links in the body of your post. The links will be removed BEFORE I publish your article and the post will remain indefinitely without the affiliate links.
  • DO NOT submit “stock” stories. Only one-of-a-kind stories will be accepted.

We also accept art-related posts from guest writers for, an art website I founded 25 years ago. Visit the website and learn more about Japanese Torn Paper Collage Art. The guest writers’ guidelines apply to both websites.

[ninja_form id=1]

No Comments
Travel Journalists Bistro is a learning and support group that teaches travel writers the skills they need to become successful travel journalists

Receive the latest news

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Get notified about new articles