Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, South Dakota

On our second full day in Rapid City, South Dakota we decided to go kayaking.  We found a small lake nearby where they rented kayaks. The Sheridan Lake Marina wasn't that crowded this time of year and the owner and workers were so helpful.  They only had 4 so Alec and my husband shared a canoe instead.  

Unfortunately, just about as soon as we left the boat yard the wind really picked up and it made kayaking quite difficult.  We didn't last much more than an hour or so kayaking and decided to head back to the house for lunch and to come up with a plan for the afternoon.

The boys mentioned that they'd like to check out the Reptile Gardens that we had passed a few times to that's what we did. 

The parking lot was bustling with traffic and while we weren't really sure what to expect we were excited to go in and check it out. 

The gardens were amazing!  I could not get over how many beautiful blooms they still had everywhere; I would have though they would be past season by mid- Sept.

Like the name states they had many reptiles to see.

But I think the Evan's favorite part was getting to see the prairie dogs up close... at one point Evan sneezed and a whole bunch of the prairie dogs lets out yelps and barks and started running.  It was pretty funny.

There was also a little dome that you could go in and get up close with the prairie dogs.

We sat through the snake snow and learned a lot about venomous versus non- venomous snakes.

From there we decided to walk through the dome in the center of the park where we saw so many more reptiles and even a few new species of plants.  I was quite taken with the collection of orchids.

We headed out to watch the bird show.

We stopped by to watch the alligator feeding (typically they have a show but in the off season they drop back to just a daily feeding). I thought this guy was nuts!

He brought out a baby alligator for the crowd to pet.

Then we headed back tot he dome to finish checking out the upper deck.

Once we finished up in the dome we had just a few more things to see.

We could walk into the enclosure with the turtles and pet a giant tortoise.

It was a fun way to spend our afternoon.

Other posts from this trip include:

Driving from Denver to Cheyenne
Where we stayed in the Black Hills
Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Trail
Driving the Needles Highway through Custer State Park
Visiting Mount Rushmore
Visiting Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo


  1. What a great post!! Beautiful flowers and loved seeing all the animals....
    Thanks so much for stopping by!!

    1. Thank you! We were so impressed with how beautiful the gardens were and how many different animals they had.

  2. Great pictures! Those flowers were beautiful! That is pretty neat to be able to see the prairie dogs from up close. My boys would love this place!

    1. Thank you! It was a really neat place and we got up close with a few lizards and birds too.

  3. Love the flowers! What a cute prairie dog. Can't say I'm a huge reptile fan but I do love that giant tortoise!

    1. I'm not a big reptile fan either but it was lots of fun seeing the everything else at the reptile gardens.

  4. Beautiful shots, love the flowers. I love seeing all the animals. I bet it was a lovely place to visit :)


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