Menu

Scales and Tales

Bird's Eye View from Reptile Gardens, Volume 2

I hope everyone survived the winter - and I hope winter is done for all of us in general. We are now in our spring season here at Reptile Gardens and we opened our doors on March 4th! If you are interested in seeing our new additions to the lower ring of our Dome and check out the spring bird and snake programs, along with all the other exhibits and the tropical flowers, now is the time to come. SkyDome


Read More

Here We Go Again and Again and Again! A stupid snake story rears its ugly head one more time.

This photo has been floating around the Internet since 2010 and now for the new year 2017, here it is again. So, I will rerun the post I made about it during its 2012 appearance. Some of the "facts" have changed a bit from the last time it showed up as it always the case with pure fabrication.Stupid Snake story-1


Read More

Birds Eye View from Reptile Gardens

Hello all animal and plant lovers/nerds!


All of the staff and animals here at Reptile Gardens are just now settling down for, what appears to be, a chilly winter season. Everything is starting to shift gears from our busy fall schedule to an all ready chock full winter list of chores and updates!



boa Soaking up some sun in the dome.


Read More

Antivenin vs Antivenom

Categories: Snakes, Reptiles

In conversation with friends and Guests it occurred to me recently that the average person knows virtually nothing about antivenoms. Not that most people should, it really doesn't impact their lives. However, I have also found most people are quite fascinated when I tell them about this unique medicine.



Read More

Bird Brains: Training Exotic Birds and Birds of Prey

Categories: General

Have you ever had someone call you a bird brain? Usually that means that they are saying you're not too smart. Yet, sometimes we use an owl as a symbol for being wise. Mixed signals, right? I think this is a pretty good example of exactly how little we know about what birds are thinking.


Unfortunately, birds can't tell us what they are thinking, so we can't be 100% certain about how they feel and what they want. However, that does make working with animals more fun. Gotta love a challenge! Instead of listening to them tell us what they think, we have to learn to pick up on their subtle hints.




Read More

Do They Mate For Life?

When our parrots and owls are on their walks through the park, curious Guests often ask "Do they mate for life?" I always say "Well... sort of." There is rarely enough time to delve into the sordid details of avian love, but with Valentine's Day approaching, I thought I'd give it a try!

Pigeon

Read More

The REAL "Story of an Eagle"

This bizarre story has resurfaced on Facebook recently but it has been around for at least 8 years. In keeping with our policy of debunking totally incorrect animal photos and stories we offer you the truth about eagles. The original text of this recurring post is in quotes. Our factual responsesto each partare below them in bold.


Read More

HOW BIG IS BIG? Facts from the World's Largest Reptile Zoo about Giant Reptiles and Snakes. — PART 2

As I mentioned in the first part of this post last week, our reward sign exists mostly to make a point that most reptile zoos fail to mention: not how big reptiles really get, but how big they really don't get.


Read More

HOW BIG IS BIG? Facts from the World's Largest Reptile Zoo about Giant Snakes and Reptiles. — Part 1

Categories: Snakes, Reptiles
We have a sign on the grounds—which can also be seen on our website—that lists various reptiles and how much we would pay for really large specimens. We've had many thousands of questions over the years about this sign. One of the reasons we've had so many questions about how large reptiles (especially giant snakes) can get is because their size may be the single most misunderstood thing about these already very misunderstood animals.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake Western Diamondback Rattlesnake



Read More

Reptile Gardens Wins TripAdvisor's 2015 Certificate of Excellence Award

Reptile Gardens has officially been awarded the 2015 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor for the fourth consecutive year. We're extremely happy to have been awarded this certificate for the last four years. Our staff has a tremendous amount of pride in ensuring that our guests have an experience that is truly memorable. Every day we strive create those memorable experiences by welcoming, engaging, entertaining, and educating guests of every age. This award is the result of a culmination of reviews from people around the world, and we are honored and humbled by so many people sharing their wonderful experience. From our family to yours: Thank You.


Read More

Reptile Gardens Opening Day

With the arrival of spring, Reptile Gardens is once again preparing to open their doors for the new season. Opening day will be Saturday, March 14, 2014 at 9AM. It will be their 78th year welcoming visitors from all over the world.

Impala Lily


Read More

Reptile Gardens in the Winter

Categories: General
The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler. Fall is definitely in the air at Reptile Gardens. We will be closing for the year 2014 on November 30, so stop by to see us again soon before we close our doors for the winter. Which raises the question: What does happen at Reptile Gardens in the winter?


Read More

Flower photography tips

Categories: General
When photographing flowers, it is easy to be distracted by their overall general natural beauty and hard to overcome the urge to just start snapping frame after frame without much rhyme or reason. While some shots can produce lovely results, try the following tips to hone in on each flowers unique characteristics, and produce some images that pay tribute to a flowers stunning individuality.


Read More

A Black Hills fall vacation may be just what you need

Categories: General
As the sun slowly sets on summer, it is easy to think of the long, cold winter ahead. However, there is still plenty of time to take in the lovely season that is autumn for a quick Black Hills fall vacation.


Read More

Reptile Gardens is Open in 2014

Categories: General
With the arrival of spring, Reptile Gardens is once again preparing to open their doors for the new season. Opening day will be Saturday, March 29, 2014 at 9AM. It will be their 77th year welcoming visitors from all over the world. New at Reptile Gardens for 2014 is their latest claim to fame. Reptile Gardens has been officially designated the World's Largest Reptile Collection by the Guinness Book of World Records. In addition to the amazing reptile and amphibian collection, their botanical gardens continue to get more beautiful each year.


Read More

Searching for a unique holiday gift? Search no farther than Reptile Gardens!

Categories: General
As the holidays approach, many people begin the quest for gifts that are memorable and out of the ordinary. Add to the season the busy shopping malls and outrageous prices, things can quickly become stressful. Do not despair ... unique holiday gifts for everyone on your list can be found at Reptile Gardens!

The summer season has come to an end; however, Reptile Gardens is open through the month of November from 9 am — 3 pm daily. And as an added bonus, all items in the gift shop are 20% off! Escape the cold bite of the chilly air and visit the Sky Dome where it is always warm and tropical. Not interested in seeing our reptile friends and botanical gardens? No problem, visit the gift shop for free!


Read More

Conservation is For the Birds — No, Really

Categories: General
Ever year, Reptile Gardens, located in Rapid City, South Dakota welcomes thousands of visitors. Some of the highlights of this unique attraction include the alligator, snake and bird shows. These shows are meant to educate, entertain, and inspire. One show in particular also helps to support biodiversity. By definition, biodiversity is the variety of life on earth including all plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms.


Read More

The Rich History of New Guinea Tribal Artifacts

Categories: General
The tradition of tribal arts and crafts is well-rooted in New Guinea, stemming back thousands of years to well before European explorers first sighted the island in the 1500's. Many people wrongfully assume that it is located in Africa — which is forgivable since there is a nation in Africa called Guinea. New Guinea is, in fact, the second largest island in the world and is located northeast of Australia.


Read More

Orchids — Nature's Eye Candy

Categories: General
When you think of orchids in nature, what conjures in your mind - lush rainforests, exotic locations, and wedding boutonnieres? There are over 20,000 different kinds of orchids, not including countless thousands of hybrid varieties. Orchids live in on every continent of the world except Antarctica. This diverse and surprisingly hardy flowering plant comes in many shapes and sizes. We even have native orchids here in South Dakota. The flower of each variety has a unique and delicate character that is fascinating to the eye. Read on to discover just a few of the most common types of orchids.


Read More

Gator Watch in Akron, Ohio!

Categories: General
If you happen to be at the All-American Soapbox Derby in Akron, Ohio the weekend of July 20 and 21, 2013, you may recognize something very familiar.

Ally Claar, age 11, will be competing with the best of the best soapbox racers in her Reptile Gardens inspired entry, the Ally-Gator. Ally qualified to go to the All-American with her race time in the Pikes Peak Soap Box Derby in June.


Read More

Planning a visit to Reptile Gardens?
Sign up to receive great stuff right in your inbox!

Close

Activities

Main Exhibits

Shows

Shops

Close

Animals

Snakes

Other Reptiles

Amphibians and Bugs

Native to South Dakota

Close

Botanical Gardens

Indoor

Outdoor

Close

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!