Happy Birthday, Reptile Gardens!

Posted on Posted in News and Updates
Sam Hurst and Eric Abrahamson at the event.
On Saturday, June 17, the iconic Black Hills tourist attraction Reptile Gardens celebrated its 80th birthday. Hundreds of current and former Reptile Gardens employees attended an afternoon-long party featuring proclamations by the Rapid City mayor, the governor of South Dakota, and the office of one of South Dakota’s U.S. Senators.
Vantage Point historians Eric Abrahamson and Sam Hurst were on hand to sign copies of Hurst’s most recent book, Rattlesnake Under His Hat, a biography of Reptile Gardens’ enigmatic and eclectic founder, Earl Brockelsby.


Johnny Brockelsby, center, addresses the crowd at Reptile Gardens’ 80th birthday party in Rapid City on June 17. Just before him stand dozens of current and former employees, many of whom were interviewed for Sam Hurst’s book, “Rattlesnake Under His Hat.”