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The Living Wall

As you make your way to our Sky Dome, you’ll be greeted by our lovely living wall.  What is a living wall?  We’re glad you asked. 

Living walls (sometimes called green walls) are self-sufficient vertical gardens that can be attached to the exterior or interior of a building. Living walls are different from green façades (e.g. ivy walls) in that the plants in a living wall are rooted to a structural support, which is fastened to the wall itself. The plants receive water and nutrients from within the vertical support instead of from the ground.

Typically, living walls are found in urban environments where the plants reduce overall temperatures of the building. Plant surfaces however, as a result of transpiration, do not rise more than a few degrees above the ambient temperature and, are sometimes cooler.

Living walls also can be used for water reuse. The plants may purify slightly polluted water (such as greywater) by absorbing the dissolved nutrients. Living walls are particularly suitable for bigger cities, as they allow good use of available vertical surface areas. They are also suitable in arid areas, as the circulating water on a vertical wall is less likely to evaporate than in horizontal gardens.  While living walls can certainly be functional, they can also be very beautiful.

Every year, the garden staff at Reptile Gardens plants our living wall.  Plant diversity is the key to any botanical garden and we utilize different types of plants on our living wall to create striking patterns and unique designs.  Throughout the season, the living wall grows into a beautiful portrait.  Our staff achieves this by utilizing the multitude of colors, textures, and sizes from the plants that nature provides. Our system accommodates flowering perennials, beautiful foliage plants, ground covers and even allows for bushes, shrubs, and small trees! 

 


Be sure to stop and see the living wall at Reptile Gardens as you make your way to the Sky Dome.  The living wall at Reptile Gardens is one of our favorite parts of our botanical garden.  It’s so fun to see it change and grow throughout the season.  Don’t forget to take some time to unwind in our walking gardens and be sure to visit Tortuga Falls to relax and see Darwin, our resident Australian Kookaburra.  Reptile Gardens is located just 6 miles south of Rapid City, SD at 8955 S. Highway 16.  Just look for the giant dome at the bottom of the hill on Highway 16.

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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 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!