Yes, we are open! We will remain open through the fall, closing for the season at the end of November. Park is open 7 days a week from 9am to 5pm, with last ticket sales at 4pm.  See you soon!

Virginia Garrigan

"There’s just something about this place that makes people want to stay."

Position: Human Relations Director

Responsibilities: Deals with lots of different personalities and makes things work.

With a strong focus on her staff and their needs, Virginia organizes and refines the Reptile Gardens team. She develops and manages employment programs, job evaluations, benefits, and promotions. She also implements plans for finding applicants to fill their summer season job openings.

As far as the year-round, full time positions, she smiles and says, “Full time positions are easy, we have a strong policy for hiring from within. Many kids will start working at the Gardens at age 15 and work here all the way through college. Some even come back as full time staff members.”

Virginia also conducts interviews and uses her acute sense of placement to match employees to the proper jobs. She also uses motivation to encourage positive staff performance. She says,

“An average employee may turn into an outstanding performer if they’re motivated correctly; the key is learning each person’s trigger.”

So, what’s Virginia’s story?

Virginia began as a Bumper Girl at age 13. She has also worked in the snack bar, the Giant Tortoise Yard, managed the former Bewitched Village Show, raised mini horses, and taken care of the lizards and parrots. She has also presented Snake Shows on occasion, while working with the Reptile Department.

“When I worked in the Reptile Department I was helping get the King Cobra out of his enclosure. There were two doors in the exhibit, but one was accidentally left open, so when I opened the one door he came flying out the other door and landed on the floor at our feet!”

Virginia’s pretty much done it all except Gator Show, which she has no intention of taking on.

“Leave it to the boys!”


Things to know about Virginia

  1. She is adamant about teaching young staff members to have respect for the job.
  2. Both of her daughters worked at Reptile Gardens through their high school years.
  3. Outside of work, Virginia enjoys camping, taking road trips with her friends, spending time with her family and jeeping in the hills.
  4. Virginia is an avid fisherwoman.
  5. Favorite animal: Parrots.



Things To Do

Main Exhibits


We are unable to offer shows for the 2020 season. Admission rates for 2020 have been reduced to reflect this change. We plan to offer our full schedule of shows for the 2021 season.



Animal Facts



Native to South Dakota


Botanical Gardens


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