Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Black Hills

Soon we'll be heading out to South Dakota. We're planning a trip with another family. There will be four adults and five kids, ages 5 and under. It's sure to be interesting, keeping them all entertained and also of equal importance, well-rested.

We're planning to see the major sites of the area:

*Wall Drug
*Reptile Gardens
*Mt. Rushmore
*Crazy Horse
*Custer State Park
*Hill City

I'd love to hear from anyone who's also been there. Anything that we've just got to do? Anything we might be forgetting?

Let me know. I'm so excited to go, I just don't want to miss anything!


Anonymous said...

Nothing says fun childhood memories like the heads of dead men carved into rock! HAHAHAHA! Have you watched North by Northwest, the Hitchcock movie? Climactic scene on Mount Rushmore is a classic.

I know nothing about the state's geography, but De Smet had lots of events and sites related to the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House" books.

Have a great vacay!

Midwest Beach Girl said...

Let's see, all I know is that at reptile gardens you can get your picture taken on a giant tortoise. The kids should definitely do that. I don't remember a whole lot about my first trip, and the second one was dominated by the overheating, broken mini-van.

Oh, and be prepared to say "no" to buying lots of crazy things at Wall Drug. I still am not sure why it is a necessary stop, but I know that it is!

Mama said...

Mammoth dig at Hot Springs, Storybook park in Rapid City, Wind Cave- we wouldn't recommend any other cave. In Ne- Chimney Rock, Scottsbluff, Cody Ranch, Fort Robinson, Car Henge, Windless Hill, Rock School, Jail Rock, Courthouse Rock......... your kids may be too young, our kids loved it, but the girls were 5 when we went and so B was 8. He was ready for Ne History and it made it all so real.. enjoy!!

Aliki2006 said...

L. would SO love this trip! I hope it's fantastic for all of you...can't wait to see photos!

Jen said...

We did many of those items on our trip a few years ago. I would also add Old McDonalds Farm (?I think this is what it is'll see the ads when you get there) and Bear Country USA. The kids loved the drive through to see all the bears. The farm is definitely for the younger crowd, but it was easy entertainment. We actually went twice (tickets were good for more than one day) because we had little kids and they loved feeding the animals and watching the pig races. Have fun!!!

Anonymous said...

Well, you have a lot cut out for you on your trip to South Dakota! And best of luck to you with the kids -- they will love our state and there is a lot for both the kids and the adults to enjoy!

I noticed you highlighted the 1880 Train. Contact Meg Warder if you need more info on this.

•Contact: Meg Warder at 605-574-2222 or
•1880 Train goes between Hill City and Keystone...and back again. Train trip takes approximately 2 hours. Leave your vehicle in Hill City at the train depot.
•One of the departures leaves the station promptly at 10am from Hill City.

Reptile Gardens, Bear Country, and the Old MacDonald Farm are all along Hwy 16 and would make great stops for your children!

Wall Drug is a major stop for the visitors that come to our state. Pick up some western gear and really get down to feeling like you are in South Dakota! And I would tell you to buy your kids whatever souvenirs they would like ;)

Hill City and Keystone are fun little towns. Keystone has a fun ice cream shop, I believe it is called Iron Mountain Coffee, and it is next to where the 1880 Train stops in Keystone, then takes you back to Hill City.

A few other ideas include:
-Hot Springs: Wild Horse Sanctuary and the Mammoth Site.
-Custer State Park: Wildlife Loop and Jeep Tours. Trails for biking/hiking and lakes for swimming.
-Crazy Horse Memorial, just outside of Custer.
-Beautiful Rushmore Cave: 13622 Highway 40, Keystone, SD. Cave tours are 8am-8pm.
-Wind Cave National Park, outisde of Custer State Park, is named for the strong barometric winds found at the entrance and contains more than 100 miles of chambers and passageways. This site is known for excellent examples of boxwork, which are honeycomb-like formations of calcite. There are also other decorative deposits such as frostwork, flowstone, popcorn, and delicate helictite bushes.
-Jewel Cave is another great stop!

I hope this helps. If you need anything else before you leave, please do not hesitate to contact us. Enjoy your trip and thank you for visiting South Dakota!

Safe travels,
Emily Currey
South Dakota Office of Tourism or

MidwestTwinGirl said...

Have fun! Maybe you should see if you can find a Ghost town to hit in SD to check off one of the 101 places to go list . ..