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Tom Lang

"I’m so glad I don’t have to wear a tie!"

Position: General Manager and Vice President

Responsibilities: Directs and coordinates the day-to-day operations of Reptile Gardens – the glue that holds it all together.

A key player in keeping Reptile Gardens running smoothly, Tom has been the General Manager at Reptile Gardens since 1984, and Vice President since 1994.

He directs and coordinates all aspects of the reptile park’s daily operations: implementing the policies and procedures as the liaison between management and the staff (which is quite an undertaking during the summer season when the staff jumps to100 people), interacting with Guests, and helping out wherever he is needed. He is also one of the biggest cheerleaders for the staff, encouraging them and helping them do what they do even better.

“It’s unique to find a job you enjoy doing. Sure, this is work, but every day is different. I’m so happy not to be stuck behind a desk all day!”

After graduating from the University of South Dakota with a business degree, he moved to the Quad Cities, but later moved back to SD. When Joe asked him to consider returning to Reptile Gardens to become General Manager, Tom jumped at the opportunity to retire his monkey suits.

Young Tom…

Tom began working here at age 14 as a Bumper Boy. Back in the day, the animal park would hire young kids to stick Reptile Gardens’ bumper stickers on all the cars in the parking lot (of course this is no longer standard practice, but the stickers can now be purchased in the Gift Store for $0.10). He’s also been a maintenance boy, and has worked in the Sky Dome, the Reptile Department, maintenance, and presented many snake shows, missing only one summer since 1975.

 

Things to know about Tom

  1. He grew up in Rapid City.
  2. His daughter worked at Reptile Gardens for a couple of summers.
  3. When he isn't at work, he is usually on the golf course.
  4. He has traveled to the Galapagos Islands with Joe to learn more about the Reptile Gardens’ most popular residents, the giant tortoises.

 

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Activities

Main Exhibits

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Animals

Snakes

Other Reptiles

Amphibians and Bugs

Native to South Dakota

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Botanical Gardens

Indoor

Outdoor

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About Us

Sky Dome

Step inside the Sky Dome to experience a warm tropical climate while exploring our indoor jungle filled with exotic and unique flora and fauna. 

Rattlesnake Gulch

Try your hand at gemstone sluicing or go on a 3D safari. Our very own old west ghost town as numerous photo opportunities and activities to keep the kids entertained.

Cheyenne's Habitat

Cheyenne the bald eagle has been a permanent resident of Reptile Gardens for 11 years with permission of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Maniac's habitat

Maniac is our resident giant saltwater crocodile. At over 16 feet long and1,350pounds, he is one of the largest giant crocodiles in the western hemisphere. If you don't see him at his enclosure inside the SkyDome, make sure to check outside!

Prairie Dog Town

Get down to eye-level with these fuzzy little animals and see firsthand what life is like in a typical prairie dog town!

Methuselah's Playground

Methuselah was a giant Galapagos Tortoise weighing in at over 600 pounds, and a long time resident of Reptile Gardens. His memory lives on at this playground featuring a bronze statue of Methuselah himself. 

Snake Show stage

Get up-close-and-personal with our snake ambassadors in this family-friendly snake handling show.

Gator Show stage

Dozens of Alligators, Crocodiles, and Caimans and one keeper...what could go wrong? Separate fact from fiction in this educational, family-friendly show and get a chance to pet Fluffy, our baby gator!

Bird Show stage

Interact with some of the most exotic birds from around the world at the Bird Show, where they love to show off their beauty and intelligence. 

Gift Shop

Carrying a wide variety of Reptile Gardens souvenirs as well as educational books for every age and a variety of stunning rocks, minerals, and fossils from all over the world.

Green Parrot Cafe

Hungry? Refuel with buffalo burgers, The Maniac burger, Black Mamba Shakes, Indian Tacos, and more!

Giant Tortoise

Don't miss this photo opportunity! Get up-close and personal with these friendly giants who love to have their neck scratched and are great with kids. 

Tortuga Falls

Take a stroll through this meditative garden, gaze into our turtle and koi pond, listen to the waterfalls, and don't miss Darwin the Kookaburra! 

Walking Garden

We're about more than just Reptiles! Our outdoor gardens are beauty to be seen as they change throughout the season and year after year. 

Living Wall

This vertical garden is a wall of color that grows and changes through the Summer season creating striking patterns and unique portraits as it grows. 

Pet A Python

Don't miss your chance to Pet a Python!  Our snake handlers ar here to talk about any questions or myths you've heard about snakes. Don't forget your camera! Our pythons are very photogenic and love to photos with you!