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Scales and Tales

Posts for 2010

Visit Santa This Week At Reptile Gardens

Starting this Saturday the 18th of December Santa will be here every day through Christmas Eve. Bring the kids to meet Santa and take your own photos with him. Reptile Gardens is the only place where you can take your photo not only with Santa but also include Fluffy the Gator or Marilyn the Albino Python in the photo. The most unique Christmas photos ever. And it is FREE too!


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You Guys Have It Easy Out There Now That The Tourists Are Gone

Today's blog combines a column written in 1967 by long-time General Manager Jim Campbell with updates and additions from me.

By the way, we aren't anywhere near closing yet. We're open until the end of the year.



Those of us who work here all year around frequently hear this question come fall: "S'pose you're all set to loaf for the winter? You are closed now, right? All your animals hibernate don't they?"


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Reptile Gardens' Green Team - Recycle and Reuse

Here at Reptile Gardens, we learn a lot from our animal friends. For instance, did you know that many snake species lie absolutely motionless for long periods of time after a big meal? In large pythons it can be weeks! The snakes take a siesta, because energy is precious to cold-blooded animals, and they can conserve this energy by eliminating all unnecessary movement. We've taken this lesson to heart, and have organized a "Green Team" to identify ways to eliminate waste, and conserve resources around the Gardens.

Our Green Team, led by Assistant Manger Clint Hubbeling, has come up with a number of great ideas to conserve, such as: Reusing office paper by printing on both sides of the paper.

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Our Name Has Two Parts, What About Those "Gardens"?

Every year, something beautiful happens at Reptile Gardens. An army of gardeners descends upon the grounds, and transforms the winter barren flowerbeds into a fragrant sea of stunning annual flowers. Our gardeners plant over 40,000 annuals, and hundreds of perennial species as well. While many people know that Reptile Gardens is home to the world's largest reptile collection, folks are often pleasantly surprised to learn that our grounds are a botanical-lovers paradise as well.
Guests often ask our gardeners for advice and ideas on plant species selection and general care. To transform your backyard into a private oasis, our resident expert "green-thumb" David Yahne details a few favorite plant species which thrive in the Dakota climate.


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Reptile Gardens Coloring Contest Winners

Winners of the Reptile Gardens Coloring Contest Announced

June 2010 — Despite the lack of sunshine, Reptile Gardens had a great turn out for their 73rd Guest Appreciation Weekend, Birthday Party for their beloved giant tortoise Methuselah, and Coloring Contest.


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What Can I Do About Black Widows Around My House?

Black Widow spider



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It is Spider Season! Black Widows and their Friends.



Black Widow showing belly marking, not always a perfect hourglass.


As warm weather approaches, we start getting calls about spiders and odd bugs people find in their garages, storage sheds, yards, and houses. The most common calls we get are in regard to spiders, especially black widows, brown recluse and a mysterious GIANT! spider that seems to strike fear in all who see one. The latter would be the common wolf spider.

Out of the tens of thousands of spiders in the world, only a few are dangerous to humans. The most common dangerously venomous spiders in the US are the Black Widow, the Brown Recluse, and the Hobo spider - and they rarely bite people. Far more people die each year of bee and wasp stings that from spider bites. And by the way, it is just a myth that the common daddy longlegs spider is extremely deadly - there is no scientific evidence to back up this fanciful tale.


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Reptile Gardens...or United Nations?

Many people do not know that the Black Hills was one of the top finalists in the search for a location for the United Nations.

The beginnings of what was to become the United Nations were set in motion back in 1941. By 1942 the term United Nations, coined by Franklin Roosevelt, was first used. Over the next few years the UN Charter was created and ratified and a search was begun for a place to house this new international organization.


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Reptile Gardens wins South Dakota Family-Owned Business of the Year Award

Brockelsby family honored for generations of success

Fresh off of their April 1 season opening, Rapid City family attraction Reptile Gardens has been named the 2010 South Dakota Family-Owned Business of the Year by the Small Business Association District Office.

Founded by Earl Brockelsby more than 70 years ago, the Black Hills reptile park is still managed by Earl's children, grandchildren, and nephew. The Brockelsby family and park staff are dedicated to the continued success of Reptile Gardens, which today houses more species of reptiles than any other zoo or park in the world.


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Mac the Scarlet Macaw

Mac the Scarlet Macaw posing for one of his many portraits


On Wednesday, 10 March, we lost one of the very few living creatures that has been at Reptile Gardens longer than even us long-timers, Mac our Scarlet Macaw.

Like most parrots in the days before wildlife laws and captive breeding, Mac was captured in the wild, in South America. He was brought to the US in the early 1950's and arrived here at Reptile Gardens as a large adult bird in 1956. We estimate his age at the time of his death to have been over 70 years.

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Rapid City Reptile Park readies for first spring visitors

Black Hills attraction offers adventure, excitement for whole family

Reptile Gardens has been a staple of the Black Hills family entertainment industry for decades, drawing thousands of visitors each year to view exotic animals up close. With just days to go before the park's season opening, staff are eagerly anticipating the upcoming flood of visitors.


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Yikes! Another Fake Giant Reptile

This photo keeps resurfacing and several of our staff members just got it emailed to them again. So, in our unending crusade to dispel as many reptile myths as we can we will have a go at this one.

Huge gator, or forced perspective?Huge gator, or forced perspective?



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Snakes

Other Reptiles

Amphibians and Bugs

Native to South Dakota

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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!