Putting the Garden in Reptile Gardens

Reptile Gardens and Owl

For a fun Saturday night diversion, Sherry signs us up for the Fort Hays Chuckwagon Dinner and Show near Rapid City.  We have an afternoon to kill before the show so we decide to visit the Reptile Gardens.  I have very few close reptile friends and have mixed feelings about this touristy and popular attraction. Once again we have free passes so in spite of my lack of desire to mingle with the slithery cellmates of the snake emporium, in we go.

Glorious Gardens

Floral Abundance

As we enter the Reptile Gardens I immediately think, “they should have emphasized the Garden part of this place.”  The grounds here are a kaleidoscope of floral finery. While other guests crowd in front of glass covered displays housing apathetic giant poisonous snakes, I try to get just one good photo of those incredible black dahlias.

Between gasps of alarm, we chuckle at the bravado and well placed one liners at the Reptile Show.  During the performance a crocodilian gang eyes the young host as though he is a juicy chicken thigh just out of the feeding bucket.  While dodging gaping, tooth-lined maws, he entertains us with the lowdown on crocs, gators and caiman.  He reminds us again how to distinguish a gator from a croc which I once again promptly forget.

Squawking Birds and X-Rated Turtles

Prairie Dog Bubble
Sunny joins the Prairie Dogs at Home
I dare you to blink first!

I undertake a personal safari through herds of knee high folks clogging the path through the snake exhibit.  Each child is pasted to the display wall tempting the caged snakes with their sticky fingered assaults.  They appear unconcerned that only a thin shield of glass separates them (maybe the kids, maybe the snakes) from an assault. Once safely through this gambit, I reach the aviary section of the Sky Dome where multi-colored, vocal birds squawk and preen begging for a photo.

At Prairie Dog Town, I crawl through a 3′ high tunnel in order to peek my head up inside a glass dome.  From the dome, I am able to become a citizen of prairie dog town.  I pet a turtle who is over 100 years old among the Giant Tortoises.  Under some nearby trees, a turtle couple engages in an unashamed and somewhat shocking display of hot terrapin love.  On the other hand, it is impressive that they are so frisky at over 100 years old!


Reptile Gardens Highlights

Cover the kid’s eyes and crank up the Barry White music!
From the shadows of the Skydome Aviary
Glorious Zinnia

About Sunny Weathers

Pilot, motorcyclist and full time RVer. Follow me as I travel all over the US in my Country Coach RV volunteering, making new friends and pursuing a constant outdoor temperature between 70F and 80F. I'll share the fun and the tribulations and any great survival tricks I learn!

4 Replies to “Putting the Garden in Reptile Gardens”

  1. The “Turtles Picture” will surely make you famous.

    I suggest you make haste to copyright it.

    I tried to figure out how to print it so I could carry it around in my wallet. Then I realized I don’t have to hide them in my wallet, like the good old days. They can just keep on doing whatever they were doing in my cell phone.

    Which reminds me of the poem my old black lab Boraq wrote to his fiance Blackie after their last tryst together, which lasted three days in a fine Myers Park neighborhood in Charlotte. The poem was inspired by a little girl who asked her mother, as the dogs crashed around under the dining room table, which became their favorite spot, anyway, the little girl wanted to know whether his big red rocket was going to be okay after the”dog party.” So Boraq thought to send the following poem, which is still famous all over southeast Charlotte.

    “Ode to Blackie”
    My big red rocket’s
    Gone back in its socket
    And I’m lying still on the floor
    Curled up in a ball
    Can’t stand or I’d fall,
    Oh God can we do it once more?

    I can imagine Max sending that poem to Maxine after the wild time you managed to photograph.
    N. Clement

    1. Hahahahaha!! Thank you so much for that!! I am almost afraid to admit that we also got a video of the amorous turtles but it is too explicit for a family website 🙂 Who knew turtles made noises like that?? I will have to give you a private viewing next time we see you.

  2. Jim & Sandy Dukeman says: Reply

    Maybe getting a copy right would not be a bad Idea, never saw a picture like that before. Love the poem from Brock what a dog. :>)) GOD BLESS

    1. To say the least I was shocked to get that picture. Storm got video, but I was afraid to post that 🙂

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