John Brockelsby (aka Johnny B.)

"It’s great working with family. We get along well and complement each other’s talents."

Position: Public Relations Director

Responsibilities: Reptile Garden’s image shaper and relationship builder.

Whether in print, in person, on the phone, or via email, Johnny B. keeps the lines of communication open between Reptile Gardens and the public. He works to maintain Reptile Gardens’ relationships with Guests and the industry, cultivates contacts with journalists, conducts tours for the media and other special Guests, responds to inquiries, and is also very involved in marketing and hospitality training.

Johnny B. says of his typical day at the Gardens:

"Everyday is different; I get to meet people from all over the world, share information about our amazing facility, promote events for our Guests, and work with family, all at the same time."

He began his career at Reptile Gardens at an early age. Since his dad, Earl Brockelsby, started the reptile park, young Johnny got a job working in the Giant Tortoise yard (one day a week) at age 8, and by 14 he had a very brief stint in the Gator Show, although, he quickly realized he prefers less hazardous pets. His other positions have included: tour guide, admissions, and sales manager.

Favorite animal

Methuselah is his favorite animal. Johnny still has a picture of him and Methuselah, taken when he was 5 years old (that is, Johnny not Methuselah!). He says he remembers that day clearly, as he and Methuselah shared 2 full watermelons together!

Johnny’s most memorable moment…

"I was the night manager a few years ago and I was called to the Alligator arena. One of the keepers had his hand in the gator’s mouth and it refused to let him go. I have to admit, I was a little unsure of what to do, so I tapped the gator’s nose a few times and he finally released the keeper’s hand... I was so relieved to see all his fingers still attached!"


Things to know about Johnny B.

  1. He loves working with people.
  2. Outside of work, he likes to golf in tropical places. His favorites include Mexico and Latin America.
  3. Through Johnny, Reptile Gardens actively supports Jr. Achievement, Children’s Care Hospital, Children’s Home Society, and Storybook Island.
  4. His job has involved him with the CVB, Chamber of Commerce, and the Governor’s Tourism Board as Past President. He’s also on the Black Hills Badlands & Lakes Association and the Journey Museum Boards.



Things To Do

Main Exhibits




Animals Facts



Native to South Dakota


Botanical Gardens


About Us

Privacy Policy

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 Funtier Town

Try your hand at gemstone sluicing, go on a 3D safari, or test your aim at the shooting gallery! Our very own old west ghost town has 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!