Things to do in South Dakota
Rapid City - be a cowboy or girl at the Flying T Chuckwagon
Pretend you are a cowboy for a night by having dinner at the Flying T Chuckwagon, and enjoy the music and comedy show. The Chuckwagon was the social focal point for the cowboys on the trail and the show copies this feeling. The whole show is held in a barn to give extra authenticity, you even eat off metal plates.
Rapid City - explore the Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Located just outside of Rapid City is one of the most recognisable monuments in the world. Mount Rushmore is a massive memorial carved in to the granite of the mountainside on the Black Hills. Depicted on the memorial are Presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt. Taking 14 years to complete, Mount Rushmore was said to be finished in 1941. The original plans showed Washington’s carving including his waist and a coat and Lincoln having hands.
Rapid City - go black bear spotting at Bear Country
As you drive around Bear Country keep your eyes open as this is the home to the largest collection of Black Bears in the world. They can appear, seemingly out of nowhere. In the spring, you maybe very lucky, to even catch a glimpse of some playful, but still dangrous, newly born cubs. The park also has a lot of other wildlife including elk, deer, cougars and buffalo. So enjoy your trip and be sure to take a camera.
Rapid City - see the reptiles at the Reptile Gardens
Starting off as one man’s collection of snakes, the Reptile Gardens in Rapid City are a large collection of reptiles from all around the world. Some of the deadliest snakes and the ugliest reptiles can be found here. Children will love the various shows, and be sure to show them the giant tortoise, who is more than 130 years old, plus try to see the feeding of the alligators and caiman.
Rapid City - sing a song at old MacDonald’s farm
Open every day of the year Old MacDonald’s Farm offers children of all ages a chance to meet and pet, farm animals and for a select few the chance to feed them. There are mini rides for the kids to go on and do not miss out on the pig races, that take place 5 times. See if you can pick the winner.
Rapid City - soak up the atmosphere at Main Street Square
Main Street Square in Downtown Rapid City is the centre point for the city, and a great place, community meeting point. The square offers a range of activities throughout the year including farmer’s markets, lunchtime concerts and roller derby matches. All around the square are shops, restaurants, art galleries and museums, that will keep you entranced and busy all day long.
Rapid City - take a trip to the Jewel Cave National Monument
For a simply magnificent day out take a trip to the Jewel Cave National Monument, named after the magnificent calcite crystals that make up the stalagmites and stalactites that can be found in the caves. These are lit to show them off to their best, as you follow the informative guides on either a short 20 minute tour or a longer tour that includes crawling through narrow spaces, which is not recommended for small children the elderly or those that have claustrophobia..
Rapid City - visit the Badlands National Park
Looking more like something you would find on the moon, the Badlands National Park are a wild place to go exploring by car or on horseback. They are made up of ancient fossil beds and you can still find fossils, if you look hard enough. But please leave them when you find them, for others to enjoy. The park has much to see including at its entrance a reminder of the Cold War, with the now deactivated Minuteman Missile silo that is open to the public.
Rapid City - walk around the Devils Rock
Made famous by the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the impressive Devils Rock is a Volcanic intrusion that is thought to be all that is left of an ancient volcano or possibly a chimney of volcanic rock, that has been formed from sandstone. It is possible to walk around parts of the rock, that rises over 1,200 feet above the surrounding countryside, and even to climb it, if you are an experienced, well equipped climber.
Rapid City - walking with the dinosaur's at the Dinosaur Park
Don’t be surprised as you are driving around Rapid City, to look up to see dinosaurs seemingly walking around loose. Created back in 1936 to attract the visitors that were coming to see the work on Mount Rushmore, there are 7 sculptures to see and be photographed with. The kids will love to see these gentle giants, some of which they can sit on whilst having their picture taken.
Introduction to South Dakota
The US state of South Dakota is located in the central area of the country, close to Wyoming and Minnesota. South Dakota is a fun place to visit, with much to see and do and there are also many good value South Dakota hotels close to the tourist facilities of the state. The rural areas, especially around the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Falls Park, are popular with hikers and other outdoor sports enthusiasts, as well as those just wishing for some peace and quiet. South Dakota hotels in the rural areas mainly consist of old style bed and breakfasts and cottage and lodge rentals. Hotels in South Dakota that are located in the cities such as Rapid City are usually large with full facilities, including pools and restaurants. Inns and bed and breakfasts do not have a lot of facilities but are comfortable and welcoming.