How much of the experience is outdoors?
This varies according to the season. When it is chilly in spring and fall, our attraction is roughly 80% indoors and 20% outdoors. As things warm up and summer arrives, this shifts to about 50% indoors and 50% outdoors.
- INDOORS: The majority of our reptile displays are indoors and can be enjoyed anytime. There is a lush garden in the Safari Room. The giant tortoises have their own building that can always be visited. You will be able to enjoy exhibits, and plants, regardless of weather (unless the weather is extreme, and we are closed!)
- OUTDOORS: Our bald eagle and prairie dog town are outside year-round. During the summer, our shows outside. The bleachers are covered, to provide some shade and protection from precipitation for our Guests. During the summer, shows will continue regardless of rain, unless it is hailing or lightning is very close – we want our staff and our Guests to be safe! Tortuga falls and the many flower beds on grounds are outside.
Can I bring food? Is there food available there?
In the spring and fall, you are welcome to bring food along if you like. Our gift store stocks snacks like chips, jerky, snacks and soda year round.
In the summer our Green Parrot Café is open and serving hot food and cold treats (hamburgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, taco salads, ice cream, coffee). During this season, we ask that you not bring large coolers or outside meals onto the grounds. There is a shady stand of trees on the south side of the parking lot that lends itself well to picnicking.
If you need to, you can enter the park, leave to have lunch (in the parking lot or at one of Rapid City’s delicious restaurants), and return to continue enjoying the Gardens. Just make sure to get a season pass or vacation pass prior to leaving.
Water bottles are always welcome. There is a water fountain in the lower ring of the Sky Dome. If you have small children and need to keep a few small snacks in a purse or diaper bag, feel free to do so.
Do you have an ATM?
Are Pets Allowed?
ADA approved service dogs are, of course, allowed although there are three areas where they are not allowed.
We do offer a shaded grassy area adjacent to our parking lot for walking your dog. We only require 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.
Since our facility is home to many species of wild reptiles and birds, some of which have natural predatory instincts, it is important for the safety of our guests, service animals, and the zoo’s animal population that all guests adhere to our service animal policy. This policy is in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as well as national, state, and local ordinances and applicable laws.
A service animal is defined by the ADA as “a dog* that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the person’s disability.” Pets, exotic species, therapy animals, or emotional support animals are not considered service animals under ADA and therefore are not permitted within the gated perimeter of Reptile Gardens.
Due to the natural predator/prey instinct of animals as well as health and disease transmission concerns, there are a few areas of the zoo where service animals are not permitted to accompany their handlers. For the safety of our guests, service animals, and zoo animals, service dogs may not accompany guests in the Safari Room in the center of the Dome, the Tortoise Yard, and Avian Avenue.
Service animals must be on-duty and serving in their official capacity and under control of their handler at all times; the owner of the service animal is solely responsible for its care and supervision. Under the ADA, service animals must be harnessed, leashed or tethered unless these devices interfere with the service animal’s work or the individual’s disability prevents using these devices.