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Reptile Gardens, Rapid City

4.6
#1 of 14 in Outdoors in Rapid City
Located on the road to Mount Rushmore, Reptile Gardens was entered into the Guinness World Records in 2014 for being the largest reptile zoo in the world. A guide will introduce you to the attraction's reptile residents. An alligator and a birds of prey show are both regular events. Ask about show times when you purchase your ticket at reception, or visit the website to check the calendar. Make Reptile Gardens part of your personalized Rapid City itinerary using our Rapid City tour site .
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Reptile Gardens Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
2,025 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • I had visited this place 20 years ago and now had to take my 11 year old son here as from what I can remember it was fun as a kid. It didn't disappoint as he had just as much fun as I remember I did. ...  more »
  • The number of reptiles exhibited here is incredible. The bird shows and the snake shows are not to be missed. We enjoyed every aspect of this attraction. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Would...  more »
  • My kids loved this reptile adventure! We were fortunate to watch two shows featuring birds and snakes held at the Gardens. Both shows were great and everyone was able to pet a python, if they wanted. ...  more »
Google
  • This is a great place to visit if you enjoy seeing animals up close. It would be great to visit with children. There is enough to see and do at the Reptile Gardens to spend at least 5 hours here. The price of admission is also reasonable, given what you can do inside. There are 3 shows available, offered at regular intervals. They each last about 20 minutes. The shows are: alligator show, snake show, and bird show. These are all entertaining, and informative. Of these shows, there is plenty of suspense and excitement given during the gator show. I highly recommend spending time in the atrium/dome area. This is a truly unique building. You can walk through orchids, and see various lizards, birds, and other reptiles. I would say this is a hidden gem in South Dakota.
  • This place was so fun! We went in early September after school started so there were no crowds and the weather was perfect. This was my most favorite zoo experience I've ever had because many exhibits are open and you are very close to the animals. The habitats are all thoughtful and creative, mostly using real plants. All the gardens throughout are gorgeous and well planned and maintained. The variety of snakes is impressive. The whole facility is not a big as a traditional zoo but a perfect size for taking little kids. We didn't use a stroller for our 1 and 4 year olds though we occasionally used a carrier for the little one. There is a nice and shady playground for little kids too. The staff were very friendly and accommodating. The gift shop is huge and sell lots of fun animal themed items. As a former student and employee of a museum this place has my high respect for it's design and consumer experience.
  • This was a re-visit from my childhood. Still very cool, interesting and informative. They opened in 1937. They do not defang or inhibit these animals from their natural states. They have 3 giant tortoises...two of which are 55 and one who is nearly 113! I had my picture taken with one when I was 9 and now our 9 and 11 year old were able to do the same. Definitely go to the shows....alligator, bird and snake. The young folks who teach and entertain the groups are funny, and personable. You can take food in with you or eat from one of their stands. The spectacular flowers and enormous variety of reptilians will not disappoint! The best part...ask for a “vacation pass”. This will allow you to go back ANYTIME while still traveling without paying another entrance fee!! Folks, this is not just a “later in the day” this is any day. Total cost for our family of four to enter $60 and a few bucks at the large gift shop.
  • We visited Reptile Gardens in early July 2018. Our two sons, ages 6 and 7, are heavily into reptiles so this was the first place we visited on our stay in the Black Hills. It did not disappoint! It is the perfect size, not too big or spread out, so going back to see something we liked was easy. The trees, flowers, and exotic plants were gorgeous. There was a "Wow, look at that!" moment for our boys almost constantly, and quite a few for the grown-ups in our group as well. The wide variety of creatures (not only reptiles) seemed to be well cared-for. There were plenty of opportunities for the kids to safely touch some of the animals. The staff was well-informed, caring, and did a very good job of teaching the kids about the animals. I can't comment about the food or drinks available because we didn't take advantage of those, but I did notice there was a covered area for eating. Overall, we had a great experience, and our boys still remember Reptile Gardens as one of their favorite parts of our Black Hills vacation.
  • A very up close experience with some remarkable reptiles. The herpetologist who runs the snake and gator show is very funny and informative. We loved getting close and even touching to the giant tortoise as well as being allowed to touch snakes and even a baby crocodile. They also had some very large fossils/skeletons. I will be going back the next time I am in the area.

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