These are really fun and spark interest in the National Park Service system. The brainchild of a marketing genius, the purchaser can get a stamp from each of the NPS sites he or she visits. The collection of these stamps, similar to postal cancellation postmarks (which include the name of the park and the date visited) become fun to collect. It's a great way to get the kids (of all ages!) excited about going to different parks, monuments, seashores, etc. that are operated by the NPS.
The passport itself is reasonably priced and the stamps are, of course, free. Each NPS facility has a stamp available at the visitor's center. If you don't see it just ask the ranger on duty. Some (e.g., Mt. Rushmore, Cape Hatteras Lighthouse) have special stamps with a depiction of the area/monument. Great fun!
You can obtain an NPS passport at any park Visitor's Center or online at the National Park Service Store.
Around Rapid City you can get stamps at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, Badlands National Park, and Jewel Cave National Monument.
The absolute MUST see of this city is definately Mount Rushmore. But on your way there, there are so many off the side of the road activities, you will find plenty for the family.
Fondest memory: Born and raised in North Dakota, the flattest state ever! South Dakota was breath-taking and I fell in love instantly with the landscape, scenery, monuments, site-seeing, etc. Driving through South Dakota was beautiful. That alone is a great memory.
Favorite thing: Go to Wall Drug before you ge thtere, if you're coming from the east. The Black Hills is a great area with lots of neat towns. If you can't go to Mt. Rushmore (too many people) just take a hike through the forest and get a view from further away. The drive through Custer St Pk is cool. Go out to the Badlands for a day trip and if you want to go to Wall Drug.
Favorite thing: Mt.Rushmore is the No. 1 attraction of the region. The stone heads of George Washington, Abe Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson are impressive. No entry fee, but parking at the main lot is expensive. There is a possibility not to pay the parking fee. Coming from Rapid City you can leave the main road about 700 feet before the main parking area. A small road leads to a small parking lot. If I remember it right, there is a sign leading to the small area. Parking is for free there. You just have to climb some stairs to reach the monument. If you like ice cream you have to get one at Mt. Rushmore. I´ve never seen cones that big. I´m a big ice cream fan, but I wasn´t able to finish that one. And it wasn´t too expensive...
You must drive up to Mt Rushmore and see the Presidents faces etched on the side of a mountain that was carved by primative means, no power tools on any kind were used just chissels and picks, which was done many decades ago.
Fondest memory: There are many things to keep you busy in and around Rapid City. Some of my favorites are the Reptile Gardens which takes many hours to see all the animals there. Not just reptiles are there they have exotic birds which put on a demonstration , as well as lots of exhibits such as the tropical rain forest which you can walk through at your leasure and see wildlife moving freely while you walk through the area. The closest thing in this area to the rain forrest. Also they have domestic animals there which you can go into the petting zoo for hands on petting. It took us over 5 hours to go through the whole Reptile Gardens and see all that was there to see. It is lots of fun for kids as well as adults alike.