Free air force museum with a lot of planes.
The South Dakota Air and Space Museum is open 7 days a week from March to the end of December. The museum currently operates from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. It features a large airpark with aircraft static displays, exhibits inside the hangars and a first-class gift shop managed by the Ellsworth Heritage Foundation.
In addition to a number of other exhibits, the South Dakota Air and Space Museum currently features:
- 25 aircraft ranging from World War II bombers and transport aircraft to the contemporary B-1B Lancer
- 4 different missiles, including a Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
- The South Dakota Aviation Hall of Fame
- A Missile Procedures Trainer Exhibit
- An F-106 interactive aircraft cockpit
- A B-1B Cockpit and Offensive/Defensive System Operators Simulator
Admission is always free to the museum and its airpark. The bus tours of Ellsworth AFB, to include a stop at a Cold War era missile silo, are $7 for adults and $4 for children. A special group rate is available for large groups consisting of 10 or more people but should be reserved in advance by calling the gift shop at 605-385-5189. Please bring a driver's license or passport if you wish to take the bus tour. This is for security reasons.
The museum is located at 2890 Davis Drive immediately adjacent to the main gate of Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D. The museum is outside of the installation, so special access or identifications are not required.
If you want to get a feel of the people and their spirituality, go and take part in a pow wow. They will allow you to dance with them. Feel the beat of the Earth in the power of their drums and hear the chants of their ancestors.
It's an awesome experience.
Do not take photos of anyone or anything without permission from someone. DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL while you're there.
Show respect to the people and use the greeting 'Hau'.
There is so much to do in the Black Hills area that it is easy to overlook Rapid City (as I did). Use the town as a base for seeing: Badlands National Park; Wind Cave National Park; Mount Rushmore National Monument; Jewel Cave National Monument; Custer State Park; and maybe the nearby towns of Sturgis and Deadwood (although Sturgis is also a nice place to stay).
This was interesting and unusual. There are freaks of nature and gravity happening here. They help it out with how things are built. Until you see this it is hard to imagine. I wish I had taken a level with me! I did enjoy it, but I thought it was over priced. The tour only lasted about 20 minutes on the outside and costs $9.50 per person. That was a bit steep for the whole thing.
They change the Maze every year. The average time to work your way through the Maze is about 45 minutes to an hour. I was at 45 minutes, but had to stop and help out a few others along the way... No I did not cheat. They have people posted to watch people who are having trouble. The only time I talked to one was one time when I stopped, because I realized I was going the wrong way to find the end. She said I was right and that I needed to head back to the red tower.
There are four towers and four bridges you have to find to work your way through the maze. You do have to back track at times. At each of the towers there is a stamp to put on your card. They stamp the card before you start and when you finish. If you like puzzles at all you will like this one.
They do have other activities also.
Maze $8.29 Adults over 60 years and children under 6 years are free (Maze only)
Maze Mountain $6.00
Bank Shot Basketball $4.00
Water Wars $4.00
Batting Cage $2.00
Here is a factory that produces gold and you can get the jewelry at a much lower cost. The tours are free.
Regretfully the gold they produce no longer comes from the Black Hills but from other sites. What designates it to be Black Hills gold is that the jewelry must be produced in the Black Hills and contain the orange and green leaves in the design. The story behind this is in the tour.
This is a must see. It is best on a cooler day if possible, more bears will be out. Most of this is done from inside you vehicle. You drive through the other animals before getting to the bears. There are wolves, rams, dear, and others. Then through the adorable black bears. Just don't open the window!
Then there are areas with babies. This area you walk through. See the revenge of the wolf pups picture. Someone dropped their camera in the kennel and the pup was chewing it up. Say Cheese!?!?!
Warning - road rage can happen here. There was a wait to get to the bears and we waited our turn. Then all of a sudden there were jerks who were passing me as I got close!!! I don't think so!!! I started moving to the center of the road and ending the passing. NO ONE CUTS WITH ME!
This is fun and educational. It is on the spendy side. They offer several different shows once you are inside that are included in the entry cost. The first one we went to was the crocodile show. They actually had several different kinds of reptiles in there such as alligators. The audience gets to pick which one he wrestles.
There was a bird show with a large variety of birds. Amazing how they keep them from flying off.
We did not get to see the snake show, the bleachers filled up before we could get there.
The tortoises were great for the children. The could go up to them and touch them.
Then in the center is a large aquarium area with lots of different reptiles on display. Warning it can give little ones nightmares.
2010 Summer Season Admission - May 28nd through Labor Day
Children 5-12: $10.00
Children 4 and under: FREE
2010 Fall Season Admission - Labor Day through October 31st
Children 5-12: $7.00
Children 4 and under: FREE
This place is free!!!!!! It is a park that is done by the local Rotary Club and is donation only. This is one of the best city parks I have ever seen. It makes many pay parks seem trite. The imagination that went into this place is amazing. The stories are from all kinds of stories. Everything from Disney, Grimm Brothers, Hannah Barbara, movies and more.
This is a great place for little ones who have been in cars and going on tours with Mom and Dad to be able to run and play!
For a small price they kids can ride on the train ($1.00) or they can participate in art activities or other planned events.
Parking was available and admission was $2.00. Fair contained many food vendors, rides, freaks, local businesses, ande 4H competitions. Rodeo was $15.00 and a lot of fun. Music, announcer, & clown contributed to ambiance.
Carved as a tribute to four of the U.S.'s great presidents, Mt. Rushmore has become a symbol of liberty and the American Dream. Regardless of how often the country swerves off the rigth path, Mt Rushmore remains as a reminder of where we want to be going and the goals this nation has set out before it.
For tips, see my Mt Rushmore page.
Located south Rapid City and Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park is a mix of prairie, woods and lakes. There are buffalo and wild burros. The burros will come right up to your car and put their heads in the window looking for a treat.
Located on the southern flanks of the Black Hills, Wind Cave appears on the surface as a beautiful rolling prairie. Deep underground is a network of tunnels,carved over the centuries by running water. Take a fully lit tour of the main cave or take the historical tour using lanterns. Either way, you'll find that the intricate design of the cave and it's cool interior a contrast to the grasses above.
Don't forget to see the buffalo! Usually, that's not a problem as the buffalo find you. It's the only campground I know of where the fence is to keep the animals out and the people in.
Every town ought to have a place like Dinosaur Park, IMHO. Of course, it makes sense for Rapid City to have such a place, because plenty of dinosaur bones have been discovered here western South Dakota.
I first thought this was kind of silly - after all, a "drive-in zoo"?
It actually turned out to be very cool, and interesting. Animals you usually would not want to be in close proximity with actually come right up to your car - wolves, bears, etc.
There's also a small walk-through zoo area with baby animals. Nice.