Reptile Gardens plays it safe | Black Hills Travel Blog

Reptile Gardens plays it safe

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Yesterday, in the Rapid City Journal, there was a really interesting article about the folks down at Reptile Gardens who work with the visitor attraction's dangerous residents.

The popular tourist stop, near Rapid City, was founded back in 1937 and has long been a favorite among vacationing families in the area. The Journal article highlighted one of the Reptile Curators - Terry Phillip and his work with the venomous snakes and crocodilians on the site.

According to the article, Phillip might have as many as 1,000 encounters with venomous snakes in a single week! But, despite the dangerous nature of many of the animals at Reptile Gardens, he's only been bitten once in 13 years.

Let me do some math here: 1,000 interactions with dangerous reptiles every week. 52 weeks in a year. 13 years of working with these animals. That's 676,000 encounters with dangerous reptiles. And only bitten once!

That's a pretty good safety record, if you ask me.

The story went on to discuss how Reptile Gardens keeps a large variety of anti-venom on hand, just in case the unthinkable would happen. It's a good thing too, because the Black Hills area hospitals aren't equipped to deal with non-native cobras and black mambas - such as they have at Reptile Gardens.

That impressive safety record among the employees is evident in all aspects of a visit to Reptile Gardens.

Although the dangerous animals often get the majority of the attention, there is much more to Reptile Gardens than that. It's a great place for the entire family. From the slow and gentle giant tortoises to the lively animal shows - it's one of the Black Hills' family attractions that children and adults alike will long remember.

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About the Author

Joe is a resident of Spearfish, S.D. He grew up in the tall-corn state of Iowa, where he developed an early interest in all things outdoors. After high school he moved to Vermillion, S.D., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising.

During his college years, two things caught his attention: the beauty of western South Dakota’s Black Hills and a girl from those Black Hills. After graduating from college, Joe traveled across the country as a recruiter for the University of South Dakota. He saw the sights from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and everywhere in between, but it was the Black Hills (and the girl) that kept drawing him back.

He and wife moved back to the Black Hills in 2008. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker and road cyclist whose future plans include trying to fit a pair of kayaks into the spare bedroom.

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