Voted the #1 attraction in South Dakota in the 2017 USA Today Reader's Poll

A panel of experts partnered with USA Today editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote on the USA Today website. Our staff is the main reason for our success and they are proud of this title. We're just so thankful and so grateful for all of our Guests and fans who voted for us! 

Thank You!

Reptile Gardens was voted the #1 attraction in South Dakota in th 2017 USA Today Reader's Poll

Heritage Family Business of the Year Award 2017

The Brockelsby Family founded The Black Hills’ Reptile Gardens® in 1937 and today, the popular Midwest tourist attraction is still under ownership of the same family. Today, Reptile Gardens remains as one of the largest reptile zoos in the world. Since its founding, the Garden has provided a great entertainment experience for literally millions of visitors.

Thank You!

Prairie Family Business Association Logo

The Prairie Family Business Association Heritage Family Business of the Year Award is presented each year to a family business that has been in business for 75 years or longer.

Reptile Gardens is a Great Service Star Business!

Reptile Gardens has been designated as a Great Service Star Business from 2003 -2017 and will continue to be one through 2018. Being designated a Great Service Star Business is an honor, and means helping the business community to set an example of excellent customer service, listening to our customer input, and recognizing our employees who make excellence part of their daily routine.

Thank You!

Image of South Dakota Great Service Award logo.

Reptile Gardens Wins TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award

Reptile Gardens has continuously been awarded the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor since 2012. 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.

Small Business Administration’s
South Dakota Family-Owned Business of the Year Award: 2010

The Brockelsby family was recently honored with the title of South Dakota Family-Owned Business of the Year. Presented by the South Dakota Small Business Administration District Office, the award is given to a local business based on success, employment opportunities, potential long-term growth and efforts to strengthen the community.

Tom Didier Excellence in Family Business Award: 2008

The Brockelsby Family, proud owners of Rapid City’s world-renowned family attraction, Reptile Gardens, is the 2008 recipient of the Tom Didier Excellence in Family Business Award. It was established in 1994 to acknowledge the importance of family-owned businesses to the economy and the region. This award recognizes multi-generational family businesses with practices and policies that positively impact local business, as well as the neighboring community. This award is sponsored by the South Dakota Family Business Association from the University of South Dakota and it honors the many achievements and contributions of the Brockelsby family.

AAA GEM Designation Attraction

Reptile Gardens was the first attraction in South Dakota to receive the AAA GEM designation. Attractions and events with the GEM designation are deemed to be of exceptional interest and quality by AAA’s professional evaluators.


Executive Proclamation

Reptile Gardens Day

Steve Allender, Mayor,
Rapid City, June 17th, 2017

Executive Proclamation

Earl Brockelsby Day

Dennis Daugaard, Governor, South Dakota, May 11, 2016

Executive Proclamation

United Nations & Reptile Gardens Location Rememberance Day

Sam Kooiker, Mayor, Rapid City, June 16, 2015

Executive Proclamation

Methuselah Day

Dennis Daugaard, Governor, South Dakota, July 10, 2012

Executive Proclamation

Reptile Gardens Day

Sam Kooiker, Mayor, Rapid City, June 30th, 2012

Executive Proclamation

Go Slow For a Day

Sam Kooiker, Mayor,
Rapid City

July 10th, 2011



Things To Do

Main Exhibits




Animal Facts



Native to South Dakota


Botanical Gardens


About Us

Dog Policy

We love all animals, wild and domesticated. Unfortunately due to a high number of recent incidents with dogs, our insurance company has advised us that we can no longer allow dogs, or other personal pets, on the Reptile Gardens grounds. ADA approved service dogs are, of course, allowed although there are three areas where they are not allowed for their safety and the safety of our animals. We do offer a shaded grassy area adjacent to our parking lot for walking your dog. We only ask that your pet be leashed and attended to at all times. You are welcome to come and go from the park as often as you like to tend to your dog. For more information, visit our FAQ Page


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