Rapid City in South Dakota is home to the Reptile Gardens, a family-freindly attraction that has been drawing in crowds since the 1930’s. With over 225 species of reptiles, the Reptile Gardens is a must see for any visitor.
What can I see and do at the Reptile Gardens?
It's a zoo, but with reptiles, birds, small animals, and exotic plants. You will see a Komodo Dragon, saltwater crocodiles, venomous snakes, prairie dogs, and a bald eagle.
Where are the Reptile Gardens?
8955 S. Highway 16 in Rapid City. From Rapid City, head towards Mount Rushmore. Just 6 miles out of town you'll see the Reptile Gardens.
When are they open?
The Reptile Gardens are open 7 days a week from April through November.
- April-May: 9am to 4pm
- Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day Weekend: 8am to 6pm
- September-October: 9am to 4pm
- November: 9am to 3pm
How much to they cost to visit?
- Adults: $16
- Seniors: $14.50
- Children (5-12): $11
- Children under 5: Free
Discounts apply if you visit before Memorial Day Weekend or after Labor Day Weekend.
Who can I call if I have more questions?
Call the gardens directly at 605-342-5873.
What's the history of the gardens?
The Gardens were founded by Earl Brockelsby, who was encouraged by the human fascination with reptiles and snakes. He had kept many snakes as personal pets as a child and drew the attention of neighbors and friends alike. By age 19, Earl began envisioning his Reptile Gardens as he led tours at another local attraction, exciting visitors with a rattlesnake that he carried around under his hat. The thrilled reactions of the tourists made him realize that his dream was worth attempting. In 1937, Earl’s dream was realized and the Rapid City Reptile Gardens opened up. However, in the 1960’s, the Rapid City Reptile Gardens had to move because of the pending Highway 16 expansion. As a result, the gardens move to Spring Creek Valley, where they are located to this very day.
The Rapid City Reptile Gardens have grown considerably since Earl’s early start. He has since passed on, but the family continues to run the gardens with the same vision and passion as Earl.