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Scales and Tales

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Fill your stockings with mambas!

There’s nothing like waking up during the holidays to a fresh carpet of snow, fixing yourself a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and finding your stocking has been filled with snakes and alligators.

A coiled mamba viewed from the side


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Methuselah — Reptile Gardens' Beloved Mascot for 56 years.

Methuselah in 1970


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.


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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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