Go to Reptile Gardens!!! It's kinda interesting to see vicious creatures behind a nice thick glass!
Fondest memory: The Missouri River, camping along it, fishing in it, and sometimes even going to the bathroom in it and cursing all those downstream, just kiddin', I'd have to say that if you're into roughin' it in the great outdoors, than the great plains of South Dakota really gives you that feeling.
See Mount Rushmore if you go to South Dakota. It is the single most historic site of your life. The history behind it and its personal story are inspiring.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory was when we went to see some wildlife and the donkeys came up to our van and almost took off a mirror when they were scratching their ears.
Personally, I found Rapid City much more enjoyable than Sioux Falls. Though SF has much more in the way of commercial industry, Rapid City definitely has much more in the way of character. You can almost feel the presence of the settlers as they searched out a place to rest on their way across American, searching for gold. The Old West has left its imprint on Rapid City, as well as an ever-present Native American influence. The two are parallel; joined by a shared history, yet never touching.
To get a flavor of the area, visit the Alex Johnson hotel on 5th and Saint Joseph's Street. It's the oldest hotel in town and has a long, prestigious history. It's plop in the middle of Rapid City, near all the shops and restaurants, about a 20 minute drive from Mt. Rushmore. Even if you don't stay at the Alex Johnson, visit the vestibule area full of Indian artifacts, and bursting with information on the history of Rapid City.
Also in Rapid, shop at the Prairie Edge on 5th and Main. Spend hours searching through Tribal beadwork, ritual materials, traditional Native clothing, paintings, ceramics, rugs, books, music, incense, etc. The shop is two levels and includes an expansive gallery displaying works of local artists. There is always something incredible on display. Local Kat Deuter is a Lakhota artist who does especially beautiful and delicate paintings of Native American children which are very popular in town.
Fondest memory: What I love most about South Dakota is the sky. In the three years I lived there, I never tired of the expanse of blue from horizon to horizon. Admittedly, upon arrival, I found myself actually intimidated by it's size; a city girl at heart! But after returning to the city from South Dakota, I found myself suffocated by large buildings, and even trees! The sight of the prairie touching the sky, grasses gently blowing in the breeze, fills me with calm and a sense of connectedness. It's like you can't be touched by outside forces when you are in South Dakota; you are protected by that amazing sky.
A Must-Add: My son was born in Rapid City, so I have a particular fondness for it. In fact, I went into labor in the Journey Museum and had to rush to the hospital from there (thanks to my friends at Rapid City Regional Hospital!).
The Journey Museum has been a huge undertaking for the city and I will address it more in the section on Museums : )
Indians as they are known and prefer to be known have inhabited this continent from time immemorial..50 or 60 thousand years, by the last archeological estimations.. to give a time contrast, 1900 years ago spanish was not even a language!
As such, they live in their own world, their culture defined by themselves as their spiritiual connections to the communal past and the present, with expressions in their art, dance and music.
Fondest memory: Yesterday and Today, I was with many indian children aged around 10, individually talking to them and their parents about the need to remain healthy physically to carry on their culture spiritually. It is very fulfilling.
Visit the desolate yet beautiful BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK.
Fondest memory: Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park comprises nearly 244,000 acres of buttes, pinnacles and spires that were created by erosion, blended with the largest mixed grass prairie in the United States. Sixty-four thousand acres of this territory are designated official wilderness.
The park is also the home of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America.
Favorite thing: I had a hard decision to make, since we were only in S.D. for one night, whether to see Mt. Rushmore's lighting ceremony, or the one at the Crazy Horse Memorial. I chose Rushmore, and was not dissapointed. The sight of those faces gradually being lit as the sky darkened took my breath away. I do plan to return one day to see the lighting of Crazy Horse, however.
Along highway back to S.D. from Montana sighted herds of pronghorns.
Fondest memory: That first view of the Badlands is breathtaking and I will never forget our close encounters with bison in Custer state park (in our car).
This one's a given. You actually must see the four heads (as my four year old calls Mt. Rushmore. Also, Crazy Horse.
Fondest memory: We camped while we were there. The best part was waking up in the morning and stepping out of our tent and taking in the spectacular view of the mountains.
Favorite thing: We went through the Badlands. The colors of the rocks and sands are unbelievable. Too bad we didn't have color photography.
Favorite thing: These were the first Indians I ever saw. That's my mother on the left. I am the teenager in what we used to call dungarees, i.e. blue jeans
Fondest memory: A trip to see the mountain dedicated to the presidents is a must while visiting South Dakota. It is definitely one of the top spots in America to visit. One of my favorite spots in the country.
Favorite thing: Visit MT. RUSHMORE... There is also a very interesting museum that details the process by which the faces were carved into the mountain.
The Radisson Hotel Rapid City is located in the city's historic downtown, an easy walk to the main...more
Stayed here 3 nights toward the end of September, 2010 on business. It is very convenient to...more
100 Pine Crest Lane, Box 320, Deadwood, South Dakota, 57732, United States
Good for: Families