Results 11-20of 24 Reviews
August 16, 2006
From journal Maidien Voyage - Cross country disaster
May 19, 2006
From journal South Dakota: Land of Plenty
November 14, 2005
Overall, my trip was okay, but not a place I really want to return to be honest. There was nothing bad; it just wasn't that exciting. The land was very pretty and there were smaller things there that I thought were fun, like digging for gold and going to some of the caves (we had a very good tour guide). I believe it was Crystal Lake Caves. But a lot of the things that the place is more known for, like buffalo, needle rock formation, and Mount Rushmore, I thought were esteemed too highly. I don't think four men's faces in a rock is all that exciting when I think about all the things I could be exploring on a vacation. I know that it is a very well-known and patriotic site, but that was pretty much all there was to do: go there to stand and look at that one thing.
They did have some very good water/amusement parks in the area we stayed in and, in addition, good parks for horseback riding. Another thing I really did enjoy there was the restaurants with live dinner theatre. I think I would look for other places to return to next time, although some people really do seem to like it there.
From journal Adventure in South Dakota
September 5, 2005
Before you enter the amphitheater for the ceremony, you walk through the Avenue of State Flags, which are tall granite columns on each side of you. All the state flags are flying, and the name of the state is engraved on the column. I thought this was impressive, especially since the columns framed the faces of the Presidents. It was incredible to see the faces of four of our U.S. Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, carved into the side of Mount Rushmore.
The amphitheater was large and had plenty of cement benches for everyone to sit on. There was a lot of space between the rows, which made it easier to accommodate wheelchairs and baby strollers. At about 8:30, a Park Ranger welcomed everyone and started asking multiple-choice questions about the four presidents. This was fun for the crowd, especially since there were a lot of children in attendance, and this seemed to keep everyone occupied. Next, they showed a film on the history of the monument and the area. They played classical and patriotic music and illuminated the faces of the Presidents. Then the Ranger invited all veterans and current military personnel to the stage to lower the American flag. They lowered the flag, folded it, and passed the flag to each person, and everyone stated their name, state, and branch of the military they served in and anything else they wanted to say. It was a very moving ceremony!
I highly recommend visiting Mount Rushmore at night. It was terrific!
From journal Summer week in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota
October 15, 2004
After driving all over trying to find the free parking (my husband refuses to pay for parking), we finally gave up and went to the car entrance line. The woman working at the booth informed us that the free parking was closed, so we paid our fee (not without grumbling) and parking in the first spot we could find.
It was close to dinnertime for us, so we headed to the cafeteria first. Though we are well traveled and know the exorbitant prices of museum and monument food areas, we resigned ourselves to eating here. The menu didn't hold anything exceptional, so we settled on the special, spaghetti and meatballs, salad, a roll, a fountain beverage for under $6. We were very surprised to see that the plate of spaghetti we were given was HUGE and that we could get free refills on our sodas. It turned out to be a great meal for a great price! We were very impressed. The dining area is large, clean, and very modern.
After our meal, we visited the very informative and well put-together museums. We also walked the Presidential Trail, which is a boardwalk trail with stairs up and down, but isn't too strenuous. The trail takes you directly under the monument and also to the Sculptor's Studio, which had closed by the time we got there.
The nighttime lighting of the monument begins at 8pm. Unfortunately, it began to rain while we were sitting in the amphitheater, waiting for the show to begin. The rain at first was on and off, but soon a thunderstorm began to roll through. The ranger who was giving the presentation decided to shorten the program and simply turned on the lights for us. I have been told since that they normally play classic, American songs during this, but our lighting was accompanied only by the soft sounds of rolling thunder. It was quite eerie. After my husband spent some time taking great care to snap the photos you see below, we walked to the gift shop. The gift shop is quite large and had many of the souvenirs that we had seen in many other shops throughout South Dakota. Since the rain began to pick up, we had to cut our visit short with a dash to our car!
From journal Mt. Rushmore, Custer and the Badlands, SD 2004
Rodeo, New Mexico
August 22, 2004
After gazing upon the faces and people-watching for a while, we walked down the steps to the Borglum Viewing Terrace, where a sculptor was supposed to be working. His materials and sculpture were there, but no sculptor. So after waiting a short while, we continued on to the Sculptor’s Studio. There, a park ranger gave an informative presentation about the history and construction of the faces, in front of the original small-scale model of them carved by Gutzon Borglum. This sculpture includes their torsos as well as their heads, as Borglum intended also for the mountain carving.
The original idea for mountain carvings in South Dakota came from state historian Doane Robinson, who had envisioned sculptures of famous heroes of the West (such as Lewis and Clark, and Red Cloud) as a way to increase visitation to the Black Hills and South Dakota. In 1924, he invited Gutzon Borglum, an already well-known sculptor from back East, to select a site in the Black Hills for this purpose. Mount Rushmore was chosen, but Borglum wanted to sculpt presidents of the United States, and his will prevailed. George Washington, father of the nation, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln, who preserved the union despite Civil War, and Theodore Roosevelt, monopoly-buster and conservationist, were selected.
Work began in Fall 1927, and continued through the Depression with federal funds, although financial problems often arose. Borglum, an inspired but highly temperamental artist, alienated many supporters in 14 years of work, and died in March 1941. His son Lincoln continued supervising work on the faces until October 1941, but funds were finally cut due to World War II.
Back to the present day, we walked the half-mile wooden walkways and steps that comprise the Presidential Trail loop, which got us closer to the faces. As we returned, thunderclouds grew thicker and an ear-splitting burst of thunder sent little ones scurrying for their moms. Somehow, during our visit, we entirely overlooked the Lincoln Borglum Museum and Giftshop, underneath Grand View Terrace.
From journal Black Hills Blues
New Milford, Pennsylvania
August 17, 2004
From journal From PA to SD and back in 7 days!
May 6, 2003
On the way to the monument you will go through Custer and other small towns that go out of their way to provide touristy snacks and purchases. This whole area is working towards your enjoyment. Prices I found were not out of line.
The parking permit of $8 is for an annual permit. It's too bad I couldn't put it on a rental car.
The website for the monument is at Mount Rushmore with the area website at Rapid City/Black Hills.
From journal Rushmore
November 29, 2001
The monument has a vast parking garage system and a new visitors' center that have both been subject to considerable controversy, some calling them eyesores and worse. That said, the old system was clearly inadequate, so one has to put up with them, although the Avenue of State Flags is certainly impressive.
If you can possibly arrange to do it, be at the monument at night for the ranger's lecture and the illumination of the faces. On a clear night this can be spectacular.
A Historical NoteThe monument was the brainchild of an immigrant Polish sculptor by the name of Gutzom Borglom. Enlisting the support of Teddy Roosevelt in the 1920s, the project finally got off the ground during the Depression of the 30s. Over the course of some 10 years, the faces were painstakingly carved by the judicious placement of hundreds of thousands of dynamite charges.
Helicopter ToursIf you don't mind shelling out the money, a number of local companies run helicopter tours around the monument, which must be an extraordinary experience.
From journal West River South Dakota
July 9, 2001
You can park for free if you get there early and take a short walk to the memorial, or you can pay $8 per car and park in some very nice parking decks right next to the entrance. We had to pay during our visit.
There's a walking path that goes closer to the mountain and to the sculptor's studio. There's some steps so don't take a stroller if you can avoid it.
The on-site cafeteria was pretty good but the price was a tad high for cafeteria food. The gift shop was actually pretty nice as well.
On a personal note, we went on Independence Day 2001 and it was pretty busy. My mom thought it would be neat if we all wore these $5 Old Navy USA Flag t-shirts she bought. A lot of other families had the same idea. I realized then that I am now completely mainstream.
From journal Road Trip to South Dakota - Black Hills