Venom and Valor: Adventures in Reptile Gardens
Ever seen an Albino python before? How about a six-hundred pound tortoise? Ever been face-to-face with a crocodile?
Situated right off Highway 16 in Rapid City, Reptile Gardens offers visitors rare glimpses into the secret lives of reptiles, amphibians, and much more. With over 225 species of species and subspecies, they boast more reptilian creatures than any other zoo in the world.
So what other reasons do you and your family need to visit Reptile Gardens this summer?
Prairie Dog Town
You’ll feel like a prairie dog yourself when you pop your head up from underground to view the animals at eye level. And with a clear dome separating you from the dogs, you can get as close as you want. These social creatures have made mazes of underground tunnels that you can explore at your leisure.
Although Methuselah, South Dakota’s oldest resident and Reptile Gardens’ biggest tortoise, passed away in 2011, you can still get an up-close-and-personal look at some of the largest tortoises you’ll ever see. They come from the family of Aldabra tortoises, and they’ve made quite the home here in South Dakota. Their size may be a bit intimidating, but these animals are quite friendly and only eat vegetables.
The Sky Dome
Reptile Gardens isn’t just about the reptiles. There are rare and exotic species of plants in the Sky Dome, and lucky visitors can spot some parrots blending in with the bright colors of the plants.
Want to see what the most venomous snake in the world looks like?
For the brave ones out there, the Fierce Snake can be found on the Mezzanine level of the dome. along with other rare species of snakes, like the rough-scaled python.
The Sky Dome also gives you the chance to go back, way back. Take a walk through history and view the fossil exhibits on display. Also check out the more recent photos and woodcarvings for viewing pleasure and for an educational experience.
Come For the Reptiles, Stay for the Fun
South Dakota is brimming with fun and activities for the whole family. If you’re looking for scenic overlooks, hiking trails, and tranquil rivers, head out to one of the many state or national parks. If you’re in the mood for a history lesson, check out the presidents of Mount Rushmore or bone up on some Black Hills gold rush trivia. And lastly, if you’re hoping for some exotic and educational fun for the whole family, check out Reptile Gardens and all of the strange and wonderful species they have to offer.
Location & Hours
Reptile Gardens is located at 8955 S. highway 16 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Day passes range from $8 to $16.50, depending on the age of the visitor and the time of year. For a schedule of hours and costs, please visit Reptile Gardens homepage here.