48-Foot Snake on Tour in Grand Central Terminal

48-Foot Snake on Tour in Grand Central Terminal

March 20, 2012 at 4:00 am

This 48-foot long snake once lived, 600 million years ago. A replica is on display in Grand Central Terminal Thursday and Friday. Photo by Mark Von Holden/ Smithsonian Channel.

The titan of snakes arrives for a two-day stint in Grand Central Terminal before moving on to the warmer clime of the Capitol.


Never fear — there may be 750,000 commuters rushing by on Thursday and Friday, but this 48-foot snake won’t move a muscle. Created by Smithsonian Channel, this scientifically accurate replica of the Titanoboa allows the world to marvel at the largest snake ever discovered. The fossil of the amphibious snake was discovered by a team of paleontologists digging in the coal mines at Cerrejon in La Guajira, Colombia. The Titanoboa weighed 2,500 pounds and dates back more than 60 million years to the Paleocene epoch.


The replica of the Titanoboa is assembled in Canada, and a photographer explains what it’s like to shoot the giant snake. Video courtesy of the Smithsonian Channel.

Smithsonian Channel is unveiling the creature at Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall in anticipation of  “TITANOBOA: MONSTER SNAKE,” to be broadcast on April 1 at 8 p.m. on the Smithsonian Channel.  If such an oddity on display weren’t exciting enough, the free exhibit also lets visitors play the classic video game “Snake” on a monster-sized screen.

After a short two-day stay within the hub of commuters and tourists, Titanoboa moves to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where it will go on display on March 30.


Screen the trailer for “TITANOBOA: MONSTER SNAKE.” Video courtesy of Smithsonian Channel.

To get your creepy crawly on in New York City after the Titanoboa leaves town, hit up one of the city’s many nature-focused cultural attractions:

A scientifically accurate replica of the world's largest snake debuts at Grand Central Terminal this week. MetroFocus/ John Farley.

The American Museum of Natural History

The Titanoboa slithered and swam in the comfort of a dinosaur-free world. Its extinct predecessors are on view on the fourth floor of the sprawling American Museum of Natural History on Central Park West. Ever visited the Giant Squid? Better make it your business to see this slippery creature! There are also lots of taxidermy frogslizards and snakes.

The Bronx Zoo
Nearly one year ago New Yorkers were on the lookout for another snake: the 18-inch Egyptian Cobra that went missing from the Bronx Zoo for six days.  The “Bronx Zoo Cobra” still tweets to its 212,000-plus followers (safely from the Reptile House presumably).

The Staten Island Museum
Founded in 1881, this museum near the Staten Island Ferry Terminal holds 3,000 taxidermy birds, skins, skeletons, eggs and nests. There’s also a slew of specimens preserved in alcohol.

Titanoboa will be on display Thursday and Friday (March 22 and 23)  in Grand Central Terminal on East 42nd Street.  Vanderbilt Hall is on the south side of the terminal.


Mutual of America PSEG


MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.


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