Employment - "A Great Place to Work!"


Customer contact specialists with outgoing personalities, winning smiles, and the ability to have spontaneous conversations with complete strangers.

Who should apply:

Any “people person” above the age of 16.


You must be available from Memorial Day through Labor Day as our short season makes it difficult to accommodate any extended absences.

Summer season positions:

Gift Shop

Hiring timeline:

Accept applications: January – April
Conduct interviews*: January – April
All positions filled: May


Due to the large number of applications we receive we apologize but we may not be able to get back with each and every one of you. Please know we have received your application and will keep it on file for one year. Should there be an opening we will contact you about an interview. Thank you.

Contact Us

Online Application

Download Application


Submit the completed application to:
Virginia Garrigan, Human Resources Director
Black Hills Reptile Gardens, Inc.
Box 620
Rapid City, SD 57709

Note: We do on occasion have openings throughout the season or may need help in the fall, so feel free to contact us any time regarding employment.

* Applicants must apply in person, do not send a representative or parent to speak for you.


Reptile Gardens is open to the public from the first Saturday in March through November 30. Openings each season depend on how many of the previous season's staff return; most people work several, if not many, years with us. We do sometimes have job-share opportunities, although most of our positions are full-time through the summer.


Our busy season is from Memorial Day through Labor Day. During the summer we employ 75 to 100 people; most work with our Guests and have little direct contact with the animals.

Spring & Fall (shoulder seasons)

During April, May, September, and October we employ fewer people, but do occasionally need staff.


From November through March, our permanent staff of 20 is able to handle all the work to be done.



Visit for Hours & Location


Note to out-of-state applicants

We do not mail out applications and do not hire without a personal interview; however, if you plan to be in the area we can arrange an interview with you. If you are in the area at some time other than March or April, we can often arrange to meet with you if you contact us well in advance. We are always delighted to employ people from out-of-state and have had seasonal staff members from all 50 states.

Keep in mind that we do not offer dormitories or other housing and rent in this area can be relatively high. Many of our out-of-town staff members have been able to live with Rapid City area family or friends while working here.

About our hiring philosophy

The staff at Reptile Gardens is very proud of being one of the first businesses in South Dakota to receive the Governor's Great Service Award for "Outstanding Commitment to Hospitality and Education in the Visitor Industry." To that end, we are always looking for friendly people.



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!