After our morning at Mount Rushmore, we headed down the mountain, and stopped a few miles down the road…I had been here before; 25 years ago.
I remembered it being a little larger, but it was still cool!
A big building full of lizards, and gators, and snakes! (oh my!) There were so many animals! And, being from the north, we had never seen many of the different species. We had a great time learning about the reptiles on display here… (though I couldn’t tell you what kind this lizards is – I’m just the photographer!) there were some creepy looking frogs… and some other frogs that looked like bats!
This overly-friendly fellow was giving me the evil eye – I’m pretty sure that he was sizing me up for dinner! There were hundreds of different kinds of snakes, many of them very poisonous. and lots of rattlesnakes on display… and other kinds of snakes that are not found in the US in the wild. Some of them didn’t look very happy… and others, like this albino python were looking for their dinner (glad it wasn’t us!) Outside they had a prairie dog enclosure. There was a little tunnel that led to this viewing dome – Peanut thought they were so cute! Since it is not officially ‘tourist season’ around here, there were not many programs going on the day we were there (which was fine by us, it was chilly). We did get to see a Snake Show though! One of the snakes that was shown was a King Cobra. Lance (I think that’s what his name was), was a knowledgeable guy, and made the demonstration very entertaining. The King Cobra that he showed us wasn’t feeling very sociable though, and it struck at him! we laughed – he looked over at us and joked that we had a sick sense of humor! 😉 LOL!
In the main, circular building, there is a ‘rain forest’ of sorts in the center. It was toasty warm, which was wonderful since it was a little blustery out, and we took our time walking around finding lizards and parrots, and all sorts of beautiful, and unique flowers… but, of all the different attractions that Reptile Gardens offered, I believe that the kids enjoyed the circus mirrors the best. It was the end of the day, and we were the only ones left there, so when the little boys lined up and started dancing and singing in front of the mirrors, I let them… I don’t know who initially started it, but they were kicking their legs off to the side, and singing the Oompa-Loompa song from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ~ you know, “What do you get from a glut of TV? A pain in the neck, and an IQ of 3“… – we love that movie – and especially that song! ~I think you had to be there, but it was the funniest thing ever!
Though, on a side note, when you are in WalMart and your son sees a kid throwing a fit and starts to sing, “what do you do when your kid is a brat? Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese Cat? Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame, you know exactly who’s to blame… the Mother and the Father!!!” Now, that can be a little embarrasing! hehehe!!!!
Anyway, after Reptile Gardens, as we drove back into Rapid City, we passed the Rushmore Waterpark. Since it was May, the outdoor water slides were not yet open, but it was still neat to see them again; my family would often would stop and spend a day there on our trips back to see my grandparents while I was growing up. Arriving back at the camper, we ate some dinner, and then went in to play… Peanut is a pretty good toss!!!
One more day to play in Rapid City, and then we are off and into Montana!