Voted the #1 attraction in South Dakota in the 2017 USA Today Reader's Poll

A panel of experts partnered with USA Today editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote on the USA Today website. Our staff is the main reason for our success and they are proud of this title. We're just so thankful and so grateful for all of our Guests and fans who voted for us! 

Thank You!

Reptile Gardens was voted the #1 attraction in South Dakota in th 2017 USA Today Reader's Poll

Heritage Family Business of the Year Award 2017

The Brockelsby Family founded The Black Hills’ Reptile Gardens® in 1937 and today, the popular Midwest tourist attraction is still under ownership of the same family. Today, Reptile Gardens hosts more species of reptiles than any other park or zoo in the world. Since its founding, the Garden has provided a great entertainment experience for literally millions of visitors.

Thank You!

Prairie Family Business Association Logo

The Prairie Family Business Association Heritage Family Business of the Year Award is presented each year to a family business that has been in business for 75 years or longer.

Reptile Gardens is a Great Service Star Business!

Reptile Gardens has been designated as a Great Service Star Business from 2003 -2017 and will continue to be one through 2018. Being designated a Great Service Star Business is an honor, and means helping the business community to set an example of excellent customer service, listening to our customer input, and recognizing our employees who make excellence part of their daily routine.

Thank You!

Image of South Dakota Great Service Award logo.

Reptile Gardens Wins TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence Award

Reptile Gardens has continuously been awarded the Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor since 2012. This award is the result of a culmination of reviews from people around the world, and we are honored and humbled by so many people sharing their wonderful experience. From our family to yours: Thank You.

Small Business Administration’s
South Dakota Family-Owned Business of the Year Award: 2010

The Brockelsby family was recently honored with the title of South Dakota Family-Owned Business of the Year. Presented by the South Dakota Small Business Administration District Office, the award is given to a local business based on success, employment opportunities, potential long-term growth and efforts to strengthen the community.

Tom Didier Excellence in Family Business Award: 2008

The Brockelsby Family, proud owners of Rapid City’s world-renowned family attraction, Reptile Gardens, is the 2008 recipient of the Tom Didier Excellence in Family Business Award. It was established in 1994 to acknowledge the importance of family-owned businesses to the economy and the region. This award recognizes multi-generational family businesses with practices and policies that positively impact local business, as well as the neighboring community. This award is sponsored by the South Dakota Family Business Association from the University of South Dakota and it honors the many achievements and contributions of the Brockelsby family.

AAA GEM Designation Attraction

Reptile Gardens was the first attraction in South Dakota to receive the AAA GEM designation. Attractions and events with the GEM designation are deemed to be of exceptional interest and quality by AAA’s professional evaluators.


Executive Proclamation

Reptile Gardens Day

Steve Allender, Mayor,
Rapid City, June 17th, 2017

Executive Proclamation

Earl Brockelsby Day

Dennis Daugaard, Governor, South Dakota, May 11, 2016

Executive Proclamation

United Nations & Reptile Gardens Location Rememberance Day

Sam Kooiker, Mayor, Rapid City, June 16, 2015

Executive Proclamation

Methuselah Day

Dennis Daugaard, Governor, South Dakota, July 10, 2012

Executive Proclamation

Reptile Gardens Day

Sam Kooiker, Mayor, Rapid City, June 30th, 2012

Executive Proclamation

Go Slow For a Day

Sam Kooiker, Mayor,
Rapid City

July 10th, 2011



Things To Do

Main Exhibits




Animal Facts



Native to South Dakota


Botanical Gardens


About Us

Privacy Policy

Sky Dome

Step inside the Sky Dome to experience a warm tropical climate while exploring our indoor jungle filled with exotic and unique flora and fauna. 

Rattlesnake Gulch Funtier Town

Try your hand at gemstone sluicing, go on a 3D safari, or test your aim at the shooting gallery! Our very own old west ghost town has numerous photo opportunities and activities to keep the kids entertained.

Cheyenne's Habitat

Cheyenne the bald eagle has been a permanent resident of Reptile Gardens for 11 years with permission of the US Fish & Wildlife Service.

Maniac's habitat

Maniac is our resident giant saltwater crocodile. At over 16 feet long and1,350pounds, he is one of the largest giant crocodiles in the western hemisphere. If you don't see him at his enclosure inside the SkyDome, make sure to check outside!

Prairie Dog Town

Get down to eye-level with these fuzzy little animals and see firsthand what life is like in a typical prairie dog town!

Methuselah's Playground

Methuselah was a giant Galapagos Tortoise weighing in at over 600 pounds, and a long time resident of Reptile Gardens. His memory lives on at this playground featuring a bronze statue of Methuselah himself. 

Snake Show stage

Get up-close-and-personal with our snake ambassadors in this family-friendly snake handling show.

Gator Show stage

Dozens of Alligators, Crocodiles, and Caimans and one keeper...what could go wrong? Separate fact from fiction in this educational, family-friendly show and get a chance to pet Fluffy, our baby gator!

Bird Show stage

Interact with birds from around the world at the Bird Show, where they love to show off their beauty and intelligence. 

Gift Shop

Carrying a wide variety of Reptile Gardens souvenirs as well as educational books for every age and a variety of stunning rocks, minerals, and fossils from all over the world.

Green Parrot Cafe

Hungry? Refuel with buffalo burgers, The Maniac burger, Black Mamba Shakes, Indian Tacos, and more!

Giant Tortoise

Don't miss this photo opportunity! Get up-close and personal with these friendly giants who love to have their neck scratched and are great with kids. 

Tortuga Falls

Take a stroll through this meditative garden, gaze into our turtle and koi pond, listen to the waterfalls, and don't miss Darwin the Kookaburra! 

Walking Garden

We're about more than just Reptiles! Our outdoor gardens are beauty to be seen as they change throughout the season and year after year. 

Living Wall

This vertical garden is a wall of color that grows and changes through the Summer season creating striking patterns and unique portraits as it grows. 

Pet A Python

At the end of every snake show, you will get the opportunity to pet a python and chat with our knowledgeable show presenters. Don't forget your camera!