Scales and Tales

Reptile Gardens offers a Rapid City attraction that parents love as much as kids

Smile and say gator!

Rapid City, S.D. — Family vacations are often focused on children.

Although adults receive a well deserved break from everyday stress and work, children usually serve as the center of attention during a family trip. However, not all family vacation destinations differentiate the two. Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, SD, is a Black Hills destination that has fun attractions for the entire family- adults included.

With both the "Reptile" and the "Garden" characteristics of its name, the local animal park encompasses exciting attractions that will fascinate not only those looking for a sanctuary of beautiful flowers, flourishing vegetation, trees, tropical plants, orchids, and bromeliads but also those who want to discover a world of exotic amphibians, bugs, and reptiles.

While guests of the renowned reptile park risk running into an occasional friendly lizard in the Sky Dome or encountering a giant yet welcoming tortoise, they can also obtain a unique education about the many species of animals within Reptile Gardens. Guests of all ages can enjoy learning about the assorted types of animals, from both an instructive and humorous point of view. Greet and meet birds from around the world, receive training on how to handle snake encounters, and watch a fearless demonstration of just what alligators and crocodiles can do.

Recently featured in the Denver Post as a family friendly vacation destination, Reptile Gardens gives both children and adults the chance to unwind and relax while still learning something new on their vacation and have a lot of fun while doing it. To view the full article featured in the Denver Post visit: .

Offering younger guests the chance to burn off some of their liveliness in Bewitched Village, a place where they can sluice for gemstones and arrowheads or experience a black light 3D safari with its notorious spinning black hole, or play at the new fun Methuselah's Playground. Other guests have the opportunity to view a 16-foot Giant Saltwater Crocodile. Reptile Gardens provides exhilarating entertainment for all ages. To see a complete list of attractions at this Rapid City destination, go to /attractions/ .

Whether families are in search of amusement for children or activities for adults, Reptile Gardens is a destination to visit on your family vacation.


About Reptile Gardens

Reptile Gardens maintains one of the world's finest collections of reptiles. To learn more about Reptile Gardens' employment opportunities, hours, admission costs and season pass specials, call (605) 342-5873 or visit their website:




Main Exhibits






Other Reptiles

Amphibians and Bugs

Native to South Dakota


Botanical Gardens




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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!