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Reptile Gardens
Rapid City, South Dakota 57709
Voice: 800-335-0275

In 1935, at age 19, Earl worked at a Rapid City tourist attraction called "The Hidden City." Sometimes he would end his tours by removing his hat and revealing a live rattlesnake coiled on top of his head! Earl took note that weather or not the tourist enjoyed the Hidden City, they always were excited and thrilled to see a live rattlesnake close up. Two years later, Earl decided that it might be possible to build a profitable business based on people's fascination with reptiles. He and some friends constructed an 18 by 24 foot building a the top of a long hill about 3 miles south of Rapid City and put a hand full of specimens on display. The location was carefully chosen because in those days cars often overheated as they reached the top of a long hill. The idea was for them to stop in Reptile Gardens' parking lot to cool their radiators and maybe stay to see the Gardens.

Founded 69 years ago in 1937, and still under the ownership of the same family, the Black Hills Reptile Gardens has steadily grown until it is now considered one of the leading tourist attractions in the State.



Pictures and information were provided by Reptile Gardens

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