Reptile Gardens ranked as one of top 10 best zoos

RAPID CITY, S.D. — Reptile Gardens has been placed at #10 in USA Today’s recent ranking of the top zoos in America.

The list USA Today created, which was released on August 13, included 272 major zoos across the United States. The top 20 zoos were placed in rank order. Rankings were based on an average rating and number of reviews on Yelp, a widely known business directory review service.

“This is one of the highest honors our park has ever received,” said Reptile Gardens CEO Joe Maierhauser. “To be ranked in the top 10 of more than 200 zoos is an incredible achievement for us.”

USA Today cited the fact that Reptile Gardens is the “largest collection of reptiles in the world” according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Visitors can see everything from deadly snakes to tropical birds and giant tortoises and fierce alligators,” according to the announcement from USA Today. “In addition to the zoo, there is a botanical garden and a three-level Sky Dome featuring an indoor jungle to explore.”

Reptile Gardens Curator of Animals Terry Phillip said, “It’s a great privilege to be included in the same list as such world-renowned institutions as the San Diego Zoo, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, and the Denver Zoo.”

Reptile Gardens PR Director John Brockelsby said the honor was “a testimony to the vision of our founder Earl Brockelsby as well as 82 years of hard work by our management and staff.” He said an award like this “just further inspires us to be the best family destination and animal park that we can possibly be.”

Reptile Gardens was founded in 1937 and has been continuously operated by the same family for 82 years.

The USA Today award is just one of several that Reptile Gardens has received in recent years including:

  • USA Today Readers Choice Award, Best Attraction in South Dakota — 2017
  • Heritage Award, Prairie Family Business Assn. — 2017
  • SBA Family-Owned Business of the Year for South Dakota — 2010
  • Prairie Family Business Assn. Family Business of the Year — 2009
  • USA Today Top 10 Roadside Attractions In The Country — 2001
Categories: Local News, National News, South Dakota News