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Scales and Tales

Reptile Gardens' spring season begins April 1

Rapid City, S.D. — It has been a busy winter for Reptile Gardens staff members as they prepare for the start of another exciting season.

Reptile Gardens Catt flowerThe world famous reptile zoo will officially open their doors on Saturday, Mar. 31—one day earlier than usual to accommodate for the weekend.

From the opening day until May 28, Reptile Gardens will observe spring hours which are everyday from 9 a.m. — 4 p.m. Admission is lower during this time. When a guest pays the first-time admission fee they are entitled to visit the park for the rest of the season for free. That makes now the perfect time for visitors who plan on visiting the Gardens often this summer to pick up their summer passes.

Reptile Garden's CEO, Joe Maierhauser, says they have been working hard to get everything cleaned, repainted and looking good for the opening weekend. He says there are several attractions this season that no one has ever before seen or experienced.

"The orchid exhibit will be changed and even more spectacular," Maierhauser said. "The desert area located inside the Sky Dome was completely renovated. New exotic palm trees and other tropical plants will be added."

A brand new outdoor exhibit for Maniac, Reptile Gardens' showcase saltwater crocodile, will be finished by the time conditions are warm enough to let him outside.

Another thing to look forward to this season will be the completion of Methuselah's playground and the bronze statue to be erected in honor of the beloved giant tortoise.

"Since Methuselah was all about kids for all the years he was here, we decided to make his memorial a fun kids area," Maierhauser said.

The life-sized, life-cast statue of Methuselah is currently being built and will be unveiled on the anniversary of his death, July 10.

This season will be a very exciting one with attendance expected to match or exceed that of last years. With all the new things to see and do, returning visitors should have plenty of reasons to come back for another memorable trip.

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