As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor or veterinarian? The President of the United States of America? Perhaps a chef or firefighter? Paul DiDario wanted to work with animals, but not the cute and cuddly kind — he wanted to work with reptiles. Specifically, those of the slithering and scaly variety. When DiDario was five years old, his father caught a rough green snake in the yard to show him. And this curious kid was (not literally) bitten by the reptile bug. From there, his interest and passion grew, with DiDario devouring all the books and information he could find, dreaming of a career where he could work with these captivating creatures.

In 2017, DiDario’s childhood dream became a reality. With the support of his wife, Andreana (an avid avian enthusiast herself), and family (including his father who had ignited his interest in reptiles so long ago), OBX Lizard Land was born. Located along Highway 158 on the way to The Outer Banks, OBX Lizard Land is a refuge for reptiles, amphibians, and avian species. It’s a place to come and learn about some of the world’s most fascinating (and misunderstood) creatures. It’s an immersive experience aimed at demystifying and protecting some of the most vulnerable and endangered species on the planet. It’s an iconoclast that’s sure to stoke a sense of awe and wonder at the wide, wonderful, wild world.

Interested to learn about other unique American small businesses? Our 2022 Small Business Spotlight series highlights the often-overlooked work of small business owners across the country, from Massachusetts to Southern California.

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Many thanks to Paul DiDario for sharing the story and mission of this amazing small business in North Carolina. Learn more about OBX Lizard Land at its website, Facebook, and Instagram pages, and find this one-of-a-kind attraction at 2815 Caratoke Highway, Currituck, NC, 27929. Of course, OBX Lizard Land is just one of the many small businesses affecting positive change in North Carolina; please nominate your favorite attractions and businesses for a chance to be featured in an upcoming Only In North Carolina article. And be sure to follow Only In North Carolina on Facebook and Instagram to learn about the state’s most incredible places, attractions, and events.

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