Tourism season in Black Hills is good for some but not for other - KOTA Territory News

Tourism season in Black Hills is good for some but not for others

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It has been a bizarre season for the tourism industry in the Black Hills. Some businesses are doing great, others not so much. The crazy weather this year is partly to blame.

The Knight family traveled all the way from Manitoba Canada to visit the scaly residents along Highway 16 at Reptile Gardens.


Reptile gardens has been on their agenda since departing on their family vacation.

"We figured the Reptile Gardens and Bear Country, the bigger ones they advertise more, we stopped at Wall Drug but doesn't say we won't do some smaller ones before we leave as well, said Scott Knight. The Knight family is only one of many visitors that has helped make Reptile Gardens' tourist season so great.

"Our numbers were up in April, our numbers were up in May, we actually finished June up about 4 percent in numbers of people," said John Brockelsby of Reptile Gardens. Reptile Gardens is able to draw people in even with rain and thunderstorms.

"We're about a 50/50 attraction, 50 percent inside and 50 percent outside and our main things we have outside is our shows and we do have shelters at all the show areas so with rain everything goes on just like normal," said Brockelsby.

However, some smaller attractions are struggling more.

Conrad Rupert the owner of the Black Hills Maze says being a smaller outside attraction has its disadvantages.

"It's been an interesting season to say the least. May we were actually up a little bit it was a pretty decent month but June with all the rain came through we were down double digits in June. Being an outdoor attraction as we are, June was not kind to us," said Rupert.

Though the tourism season has been full of obstacles this year, many are still optimistic.


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