Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Our South Dakota Mini Vacation

We decided it was time to try a small, four day vacation to the Black Hills with the entire family. This was a first time vacation for Grant, which wasn't as bad as I anticipated. Grant still had his challenging meltdown moments, but all in all he did great! This was also Tyler and Madison's first trip to South Dakota to see all the wonderful and historical sights. Here are pictures of a few that we experienced along the way...
Badlands National Park - This was taken early morning when the temps were in the 50's still and Madison was a bit chilly in her tank top. It's just beautiful and a must see!
Dinosaur Park - This free attraction is located in Rapid City on top of a hill that overlooks the city with an amazing view. Dinosaur Park was built in 1936 by the city and has seven life size dinosaurs. You just can't pass up free fun!
Mt. Rushmore - One can't go to the Black Hills without seeing the four presidents. I thought it was neat that some engineers/surveyors were checking the cracks in the mountain while we were visiting. The height of the workers really puts into perspective the enormous size of the monument.
1880's Train - We departed from Keystone to Hill City on a #110 black steam engine driven train for a two hour excursion. This was the highlight of Grant's vacation. He's such a huge Thomas the Tank Engine fan that he couldn't get enough of this trip!
The Mammoth Site - We weren't really sure we wanted to check this place out, but glad we did. A skeleton of a male Columbian mammoth was discovered while getting the land ready for a housing development in the late 70's. Since then about a dozen males (mostly Columbian and a few Wooly mammoths) have been discovered in this prehistoric watering hole. It's been said that the watering hole had warm water and abundant food which attracted mammoths to the area. However the soil was slippery, so the females would push the males into the hole and they had no way of getting out, so that was the end of them. Just kidding...but the story isn't too far from the truth! Check it out online!
Wind Cave - This was my favorite place to visit. There's nothing like going 200 feet below the earth to experience some of most fascinating sights. We were able to experience what a "breathing" cave was like and seeing the extensive network of passageways containing boxwork, popcorn and frostwork formations. We traveled down 300 steps, up only 11 steps and then rode an elevator 20 floors to the top. I can now add going into a cave on my 40 x 40. Touring a cave is a must do when taking a trip to South Dakota. I am told there are over 300 caves in South Dakota with eight of them giving tours. Wind Cave is the fourth largest cave in the world with only 10% of it "discovered".


Mamma has spoken said...

Sounds like a fun time with the family. Times like that are special. The kids will remember it all when they get older.

Mindee said...

We took the kids when Faith was Grant's age. It was a wonderful vacation. We stayed for nearly a week and never ran out of things to see/do.

You were brave to go in the cave though! I'm claustrophobic. Rich had to take the older two on his own.

Lisa said...

Hey it's great to know you when--cause we hope to go there next year and now we will know who to contact for all the info we need.

missy said...

looks like you had great fun. emmie has been asking questions about mt. rushmore lately. we should take our kids some time. btw, i love the music on your blog!