Rapid City Journals

Great Things to do Round and About Rapid City

A travel journal to Rapid City by Casual Tourist

Mount Rushmore National Memorial Photo, Keystone, South Dakota More Photos
Quote: We've been to the Black Hills and Badlands in South Dakota on several occasions and thoroughly enjoyed our adventures there. This is a journal of our discoveries.

Great Things to do Round and About Rapid City

Overview

Quote:
To me, everything about the Black Hills and Badlands are memorable moments. There are caves, monuments, wildlife refuges galore. And then there are the Hills. I'm a rock hound and the Hills are a wonderful place to find rose and white quartz, as well as a variety of other rocks. The area is littered with little shops where polished and unpolished rocks can be found.

Quick Tips:

Spend a week or two in the Hills. There's a myriad of things to do.

Best Way To Get Around:

Better have a car to drive. The attractions are spread out over several miles.

Bear Country

Attraction | "Bear Country USA"

Quote:
Bear Country USA is more or less a wildlife refuge. Most of the animals roam free throughout the compound, though some are caged. Generally, it's the predatory animals that are caged, such as large cats, foxes and wolves. Animals such as the bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, reindeer and deer were free to roam about, as were the various types of bear.

It seems that it took about an hour and a half or so to drive through the compound. For the most part, the animals were close enough for viewing, but in some instances they were difficult to find.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2000

Bear Country
13820 South Highway 16
Rapid City, South Dakota 57702
(605) 343-2290

Reptile Gardens

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Attraction

Reptile Gardens Photo, Rapid City, South Dakota
Quote:
Reptile Gardens offer both indoor and outdoor displays as well as various shows. They have a cute bird show, an interesting snake show, and I'm not sure if they are still doing it, but used to have an alligator show also. All of the shows are included in the price of admission.

Though there are many different areas to view they are all within easy walking distance to one another. The grounds are neatly kept and there is a large gift shop that serves as the exit.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2000

Reptile Gardens
Box 620
Rapid City, South Dakota 57709
(605) 342-5873

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Attraction | "Mount Rushmore"

Mount Rushmore National Memorial Photo, Keystone, South Dakota
Quote:
Mt. Rushmore is absolutely impressive. Driving to the sculptured mountain you come upon occasional outlooks where you can see the four presidential faces from a distance. I didn't have much luck getting any extrodinary photos from these lookouts, though I did try. There was adequate parking at the National Memorial on each of the occasions that we visited. A little climbing is necessary to get from the parking lots to the public areas. A large gift shop and restaurant sit opposite the actual monument, surrounded by a large patio-type area. Available on the patio area are those wonderful silver binocular-type machines that you put money into for better viewing of the sculptures. ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2000

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
13000 Highway 244
Keystone, South Dakota 57751
(605) 574-3171

Crazy Horse Memorial

Attraction | "Crazy Horse Monument"

Quote:
This monument is still in the process of being constructed, but enough of it is finished to present an impressive sight. When finished it will be a sculptured horse with Crazy Horse as the rider of the horse. The horse's head was clearly visible the last time we visited the monument. There is a museum that tells about the history of the project. Outside the museum is an area to sit and view the monument.

The day we visited the site there was work being done on the monument and it was quite interesting to watch men as small as ants climbing around on the rock face of the mountain.

Though this attraction is a bit out of the way, I feel that it is well worth seeing.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2000

Crazy Horse Memorial
Highway 385, 4 miles north of Custer
Black Hills, South Dakota

Mammoth Site Excavation

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Attraction

Mammoth Site Excavation Photo, Rapid City, South Dakota
Quote:
I've always had a secret desire to be an archeologist and so this attraction was a favorite of mine. A 30 minute guided tour takes you through an actual excavation site where, at certain times of the year, you can watch the scientists go about the business of digging up bones. This major site for mammoth fossils was discovered by accident in 1974 and has been preserved by having a building constructed over it. Excavation continues to this day. It was a fascinating and educational experience.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 5, 2001

Mammoth Site Excavation
Outside Hot Springs
Rapid City, South Dakota

Wind Cave National Park Photo, Hot Springs, South Dakota
Quote:
Wind Cave National Park has a vast array of activities. Our visit, unfortunately, was brief but left good reason to return. The cave has several different guided tours available for fees ranging from $6.00 to $18.00. There are also several hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty.

The cave is of historic and geological interest and is just great fun to go through. It's just absolutely fantastic to explore the inside of the earth.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 12, 2001

Wind Cave National Park
26611 U.s. Highway 385
Hot Springs, South Dakota 57747
(605) 745-4600

Badlands

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Story/Tip

Badlands Photo, Rapid City, South Dakota
Quote:
The Badlands are beautiful, vast and forboding. On one visit we took advantage of the helicopter tour over the area. The view was breath-taking. It's been a while and I'm not so sure of my memory but the cost was somewhere between $10 and $15 per person for the helicopter and the ride lasted about 5 minutes, so take this into consideration if you choose this activity. There is a free walking tour of an area chuck full of fossils. This was pretty interesting as there were glass display cases with explanations of what we were seeing. The coloration of the earth strata was gorgeous, especially as the evening sun cast its rays along the hills. No matter the beauty, this is a place whe...Read More