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




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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