Visit the largest reptile zoo in the world.
Reptile Gardens is a park featuring botanical gardens with acres of flourishing flowers and amazing plant life. You won't want to miss Tortuga Falls or the Living Wall in the gardens. Reptile Gardens is also a very unique animal park with more species and subspecies of reptiles than any other zoo or wild animal park in the world. Visitors can see live shows and experience the exhibits in the Skydome, a climate-controlled jungle terrarium with tropical plants. The Reptile Gardens have snakes, giant tortoises, and crocodiles. Some crocodiles are up to 16-feet long. Visitors can also see turtles, lizards, birds, frogs, toads, gators, and prairie dogs. There is an insect display and snake presentation as well. The snake exhibit is incredible and offers a chance to see many rare snakes from all over the world. The black and green mambas, vipers, and cobras are impressive.
Two types of giant tortoises, Aldabra and Galapagos, and both are represented at the Reptile Gardens. Aldabra tortoises are originally from the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean (east of Africa), and the Galapagos tortoises come from the Galapagos Islands of the western coast of South America. Both are protected animals because they are very rare. They are truly gentle giants, and visitors, young and old, love to meet the Aldabra tortoises, Tank, Orville, and Samson. These creatures can live up to 150 years old. They are strict vegetarians with no fat or cholesterol in their diets. These tortoises love attention, being fed, and having their necks scratched.
Methuselah was a special giant tortoise and was South Dakota's oldest resident. He was born on the Galapagos Islands in 1881 and weighed 600 pounds. He came to Reptile Gardens in 1954, and his favorite food was watermelon which he feasted on for his birthday each year. He passed away on July 9, 2011. In Methuselah's honor, the Reptile Gardens has created a playground and a bronze statue of Methuselah. There is a gift shop and cafe on-site if you need a break from the outdoors. Adults and children of all ages will enjoy spending time at this lovely attraction.