We are closed for the season. Thank you all for your support and love this year. See you on March 6th!
Posts for 2011
Reptile Gardens Mourns the Loss of Maude Brockelsby
Maude Brockelsby, wife of Reptile Gardens founder Earl Brockelsby, died on 11 December 2011 at the age of 95.
Unique holiday gift shopping at Reptile Gardens
By now, you have survived the Black Friday chaos and maybe even snagged some deals on Cyber Monday — the Monday after Black Friday set aside for online shoppers.
If you still have some gift shopping to do but don't know where to start, try the gift shop at Reptile Gardens where you'll find a wide range of items from t-shirts to New Guinea artifacts.
Everyone knows that person who is impossible to shop for. They are into "unusual" things and you never know what to get them. Reptile Gardens has plenty of unique gifts, especially for animal, art and history lovers.
Reptile Gardens just lost its last link to the past, Marv Basham (1917-2011). Until yesterday, Marv was the last person still around who was here on opening day in June of 1937. He had helped build our original buildings and did a lot of other things back in the day when the crew consisted of just a handful of people and everyone did whatever was needed.
Animal conservation key focus at Reptile Gardens
Rapid City, S.D. — Education through entertainment is at the center of Reptile Gardens' animal conservation efforts.
Idea Wild to Accept Donation from Reptile Gardens
Rapid City, S.D. — Every year Reptile Gardens donates to numerous charities and conservation efforts. This summer, with the help of a little Rook named Zorro, the European relative of Crows and Ravens, Reptile Gardens raised over $8,000 to benefit Idea Wild, who will be present at Reptile Gardens to accept their donation on October 4th.
Reptile Gardens' website goes mobile
Rapid City, S.D. — Reptile Gardens wants to reach customers where they're at—their mobile devices.
Over 93 percent of adults in the United States own a cell phone and the demand for mobile access to Internet has skyrocketed. Twenty percent of households are mobile-only, and 11 percent of mobile phone owners make purchases through their phones. By January 2012, 50 percent of all cellular phones will be smartphones.
Methuselah Memorial established at Reptile Gardens
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 13, 2011—Rapid City, S.D.—Though the shock of Methuselah's death is still present, the team at Reptile Gardens is looking to the future. Plans are underway to establish a memorial for the beloved mascot and hopefully raise enough funds to bring another Galapagos tortoise to the reptile park.
Named after the Biblical figure, Methuselah, who was recorded as the oldest person whose age, 969 years, is mentioned in the Hebrew book of Genesis, the Galapagos Tortoise has been recognized as the oldest creature to have lived in the state of South Dakota.
Methuselah — Reptile Gardens' Beloved Mascot for 56 years.
On Sunday 9 July 2011 we were all saddened by the loss of our old friend and long-time animal resident, Methuselah the giant Galapagos Tortoise.
Methuselah arrived at Reptile Gardens in December of 1954 from the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, South America. He was flown to Miami and then transported by train to Rapid City. Thankfully, the crews of the rail freight company took good care of him, keeping him warm as he traveled from Florida to South Dakota in the dead of winter. He arrived in good health and adapted to life in South Dakota quite well. He joined a growing herd of giant tortoises already at the Reptile Gardens. The herd was made up of both Galapagos tortoises and Aldabra tortoises from the Seychelles Islands off the coast of Madagascar.
75 YEARS AND GOING STRONG! CALLING ALL FORMER & CURRENT REPTILE GARDENS STAFF MEMBERS
Next year, 2012, Reptile Gardens will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. You know what that means? We are planning a fun staff reunion to celebrate this momentous anniversary.
Practical Jokes at Reptile Gardens
Reptile Gardens' founder Earl Brockelsby (1916-1993) was notorious for his elaborate & sometimes nasty practical jokes. Among them were:
Methuselah received 100 pounds of watermelon from The Perse Girls Junior School as a birthday gift.
RAPID CITY — Reptile Gardens' late giant tortoise Methuselah's last birthday gift was also his most special. The Galapagos tortoise generally received watermelon on his birthdays — but this year, the watermelon traveled all the way from the United Kingdom.
South Dakota's oldest living resident about to celebrate 130th birthday in June
May 20, 2011—Rapid City, S.D.—It will be a birthday celebration like no other. In fact, extensive planning and preparation is already underway. The guest list is unlimited and the fanfare will include free cake and pop for kids, prizes and giveaways, as well as a coloring contest. The owners and staff at Reptile Gardens in Rapid City are throwing this extravagant event in honor of the state's oldest living resident—Methuselah, a 129-year-old Galapagos tortoise.
Methuselah was born in 1881 in the Galapagos Islands. Earl Brockelsby, Reptile Gardens founder, brought the giant tortoise to South Dakota in 1956. Since then, the 600 pound Methuselah has become one of the most popular attractions at the reptile conservatory.
Public Relations Director for Reptile Gardens, John Brockelsby, explains the added significance of the creature's birthday celebration: "Both Galapagos and Aldabra tortoises are threatened with extinction in the wild. They have the potential to live more than 150 years, but not many in the wild ever have the chance—commercial expansion, agriculture, and predators have really affected the tortoises' life spans."
Reptile Gardens invites visitors to tour their Giant Tortoise Yard and meet the gentle creatures as a way to raise awareness and support for the protection of the endangered animals. The slow-moving giant tortoises, each with a uniquely colored and patterned shell, pose with children and adults for photographs in the petting area. Guests are able to experience the docile nature of these toothless, vegetarian giants.
Even though Methuselah probably won't be sharing any of his birthday treat—a giant watermelon—with Reptile Gardens visitors, guests can enjoy free cake and pop on Saturday, June 11th and Sunday, June12th. Prizes will be dispensed also, including fun prizes for coloring contest winners. Coloring sheets will be available at all Family Thrift Center locations in Rapid City.
With more than 200 species of reptiles at the park, families and visitors of all ages are guaranteed to have an exciting, and educational, experience. In addition to the large crowd of exotic residents, Reptile Gardens is home to Cheyenne, a majestic Bald Eagle, and a coterie of Prairie Dogs. Botanical-enthusiasts will enjoy strolling through the gardens—full of colorful flowers and lush vegetation like ornamental trees, tropical plants, orchids, and bromeliads.
To learn more about Reptile Gardens' hours, admission costs, and Season Pass specials, call (605) 342-5873 or (800) 335-0275 or visit their website at www.reptilegardens.com.
About Reptile Gardens
Founded in 1937, Reptile Gardens is a reptile park located in Rapid City, South Dakota. Their mission is to educate the public on important environmental issues, while working closely with many major zoos worldwide to promote species survival. Housing a large variety of unique reptiles, and exotic plants, this reptile zoo is actively involved within the local community and provides wildlife education for people of all ages.
Reptile Gardens kicks off spring season with national exposure
Featured Reptile of the Week
Featured reptile of the week: the Fiji Iguana. Good work everyone, my 'Who Am I' post from the other day is indeed a Fiji Iguana. It is, in fact, a hybrid Banded/Crested Fiji Iguana and is on loan to us from the San Diego Zoo - which is working closely with the Finjian government on conservation of these critically endangered lizards. The main threat to these lizards is habitat destruction, much of it from goats released on their islands.
Back When the Sky Dome was New
David, Jada, Clint and the rest of the staff have been really busy in the Sky Dome since we closed for the season. They have done a lot of work on the mezzanine level and even more in the Safari Room, painting, planting new plants, moving cacti, and more.
With all this work going on in the Dome I was reminded of when it was built and of the big tree that is still the centerpiece. This is an article that ran in the Rapid City Journal in 1964.
Rocks, Fossils, Jewelry, and New Guinea Art!
Next week, we are headed to the world's largest gem and mineral show in Tucson, Arizona to seek out and buy rare and beautiful rocks, fossils, minerals and who knows what else for our 2011 season. We never know what we will find but there are always new and exciting things offered by the several thousand vendors who come to the show from all over the world.
Hey, Where's Your Top 10 Most Deadly Snakes List?
For many years we had an immensely popular "Top Ten Most Venomous Snakes" list posted here at the Reptile Gardens and, subsequently, on our web site. Many of you remember this list and have asked about it. We get thousands of web search hits to our site every year looking for just such a list.
True Grit Rattlesnakes - How True is it?
The other day National Geographic contacted regarding the veracity of the rattlesnake scenes in the new movie, True Grit. Terry's interview is posted on the National Geographic blog.
New Year, New Web Site!
We have just launched a new, totally revised Reptile Gardens web site. Things change fast in the cyberworld and we do our best to keep up. It took months of work by our staff and the folks at Robert Sharp and Associates to get things exactly like we wanted them and it is finally done. We think this new site with its simpler interface will be easier to negotiate - visitors will be able to quickly find what they are looking for. It will also work nicely on mobile devices.
- Crocodiles and Alligators
- Flowers and Gardens
- Insects and Spiders
- New Guinea Art and Artifacts
- Orchids and Tropical Flowers
- Reptile Gardens history
- Reptile Gardens News
- Turtles and Tortoises