Every year millions of tourists flock to Mt. Rushmore, the most popular attraction in the Black Hills of South Dakota. But what happens once you’re done gazing at the stony faces of America’s most iconic presidents? From prehistoric rocks to historic small towns, visit these four sights to get a delightful dose of Americana during your time in South Dakota.
1. Get the Lay of the Land at the Museum of Geology
Visitors will undoubtedly be in awe of the fascinating rock formations of the Black Hills, and a (free!) visit to the Museum of Geology in Rapid City will give you a behind the scenes look at how they came to be. You’ll have a chance to see rare fossils from the area, mounted skeletons of dinosaurs, and even glow in the dark stones.
Not to mention, there are plenty of hands on activities to keep the kids entertained. Be sure to visit near Easter for Dinosaur Extravaganza, where kids will not only learn about dinosaurs, they’ll get the opportunity to dig for fossils and become real life archaeologists.
2. Catch a Show and Experience Native American Culture
In Hill City, nestled among the trees of the Black Hills National Forest, you’ll find High Country Guest Ranch. The ranch hosts Brulé, where you can see the 5-time Native American Group of the Year perform. Set outdoors at the Buffalo Moon Theater, the show is a stimulating combination of sights and sounds that’s sure to immerse you in the culture of the area.
Don’t pass this up – the group has performed all over the country and on television to spread their unique message! During the summer months, they perform every Monday through Thursday evening.
3. Get a Taste of Life as a Prospector
Ever wonder what it would be like to live during the gold rush? At Wade’s Gold Mill you’ll get a chance to experience exactly that! Boasting a “Trip Back in Time” with authentic antique mining equipment, you’ll find yourself transported to the exciting days of the Black Hills Gold Rush of 1874.
Kids will love learning to pan for gold, and there’s no better thrill than actually finding some ore they can take home to show their friends! Before you visit, check their website to learn more about taking a guided tour of the modern placer mill!
4. Experience the Old West in Deadwood
Speaking of gold, a visit to the Black Hills wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the historic town of Deadwood, which seemingly popped up overnight during the gold rush. Practically frozen in time, you’ll be able to get a feel for what it would have been like to live in this lawless town during the 1870s.
Take a stroll down main street and marvel at the historic buildings, but keep an eye out for the gunslingers! Daily shootouts are reenacted, so you can see what it was really like back in the day. For another dose of thrill and excitement, catch the portrayal of the murder of famed poker player, Wild Bill and then attend the trial of Jack McCall, his murderer!
End your visit by stopping at Mount Moriah Cemetery, where many of the Deadwood legends are buried! You won’t want to miss this opportunity to truly live the life of the old West.
From fascinating rock formations to sights dripping with history, there’s plenty to do when you visit the Black Hills. Book one of our Black Hills vacation rentals today and fill your trip with these activities and more!