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Your students are really going to love you for this trip, a 3-day journey through the Black Hills most popular attractions, from Mt. Rushmore to Wind Cave! Your group will have the opportunity to explore some of our countries finest natural wonders, as well as explore the 'Presidential City' itself (Rapid City). We guarantee everyone in your group will find something they love during this trip!
Black Hills Mining Museum
This museum was built by miners from the nearby, now shut down Homestake Gold Mine, over 140 miners lending a hand by sharing their personal stories, professional know-how, and various artifacts with the museum. The museum is dedicated to 'the presentation of the rich mining heritage of the Black Hills'. During your visit your group will be able to look around the museum, the main floor holding displays full of memorabilia and objects 'from a bygone era'. Then you will have the opportunity to take a guided tour of their simulated underground mine, this experience providing the 'only comprehensive look at both early-day and modern underground mining in the Black Hills'.
Historic Deadwood is one of the most immersively educational cities to stop in during your Black Hills visit, the entire area a step back in time to the Wild Wild West. Experience the legends of Lakota tribes, gold mines, and serious saloons while here, several attractions within built to both entertain and educate. Learn about the dead tree namesakes in the gulches, the American Indian roots of the city, and about Wild Bill Hickock and his incident while here, we guarantee you will want to come back again!
Museum of Geology
While here your group will see various exhibits containing things such as rare fossils from the White River Badlands, mounted skeletons from mammals and dinosaurs, and mineral displays including meteorites, crystals, and gems. The exhibits focus on paleontology, the study of ancient life, and mineralogy, the study of minerals. If you have any young ones in your group visit the Kid's Zone, full of hands-on activities and exhibits. There are guided tours for groups, as well as special events like Night at the Museum and summer field camps. Before you go be sure to visit the gift shop and pick up your own educational books, rocks to study, or toys/souvenirs.
Main Street Square
Rapid City's Main Street Square is the place to be for family fun while visiting the city, this public space in the heart of downtown holding regular special events, seasonal activities, and plenty of opportunity for more city exploration! If you are visiting during the winter, Main Street Square turns into a wonderland of fun winter-themed activities, boasting an ice skating rink and tons of holiday-themed shopping, eating, and events. In the summer you can enjoy playing in the dancing fountain, watching movies in the park, and regular festivals/live events! Outside of the square, you will find a downtown area filled with great places to shop, eat, and have fun!
South Dakota Air and Space Museum
While here your group will see over 30 vintage military aircraft, from the WWII era to modern-day B1s. See various artifacts within the indoor galleries as well, and even visit the onsite missile silo! The legendary exhibits throughout 'showcase the American journey, celebrate brave military personnel, and tell the story of both past aviation and the future of aerospace'. You will literally get to 'walk through history' when visiting the various galleries both inside and outside. Inside you will find Cold War history, stories of the pioneers of the industry, and details on the Ellsworth Air Force Base, plus see some aircraft. Outside you will see many more aircraft and missiles like Minuteman II, and even be able to tour the Missile Silo! See the B-1 B Lancer, the Vought A-7D Corsair II, and much more.
Mt. Rushmore is a true American classic site to see, a National Monument featuring a massive sculpture within the Black Hills region. The granite faces of some of our most recognizable and respected presidents will be an awe-inspiring and unforgettable experience, the sheer height of each face quite frankly astounding. The famous presidents depicted high above ground level are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, the faces of these legends alone an excellent learning opportunity for your student group. There is an onsite museum with interactive exhibits to explain the ‘birth, growth, duty, and presentation of the president’s of the country’, the rich heritage here attracting over 3 million guests annually.
Rushmore Cave and Adventure Park
This cave experience and amusement park all in one allows you and your student group to explore, learn, and have tons of fun all in the same spot, practically a dream location for field trips and group trips! This cave is the closest one to Mt. Rushmore, the area’s largest stalactite cave as well as South Dakota’s 9th longest cave (3,652 ft). One of the biggest draws to the cave is the ‘Big Room’, an astoundingly massive space completely filled with stalactites dripping from the ceilings and walls. This cave also features the largest column within the Black Hills. For more fun head over to the Adventure Park, the premier destination for family fun in the area (both sites right off of HWY 40, 5 miles East of Keystone). Here you can ride solo or with a friend on the Screaming Eagle Zipline, Mountain Coaster, or Gunslinger 7D Interactive Theater Ride.
Custer State Park
Custer State Park is one of the most visited sites within the Black Hills/ Badlands area, a wildlife reserve that is both the largest and the first state park in South Dakota. Sitting on a whopping 71,000 acres, or 110 square miles, Custer State Park provides guests with ‘clear mountain waters and open ranges’, a truly breathtaking site full of wildlife and educational opportunities galore. Head to the outdoor education center on-site, the perfect place to get more insight on the buffalo, bison, antelopes, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, and friendly burros roaming the park.
Wind Cave National Park
This 28,000-acre park sits in the southwest corner of South Dakota and is well-known for it's unique 'box work' formations within the cave, as well as diverse wildlife above ground within its tall and short grass prairie 'ecotone' (2 ecosystems meeting together). During your visit, we suggest you start by walking around the Visitor Center, which will teach you all about the park, the cave, and the history of the land through various exhibits and films, then take a tour of the cave and hike on any of the 12 trails above. The cave is named such due to the barometric winds experienced at the entrance. There are vast chambers within like the Post Office and Elks Room, and several different 'speleothems', or cave formations, to see throughout.
Just a bit east of the Hills, the Badlands offer an 'otherworldly' geological variety, the landscape sprayed with cliffs, canyons, and buttes. The views here are absolutely one of a kind, so be sure to bring your camera! You will also want to bring your hiking boots, as this spot is chock-full of park trails, hiking paths, and backcountry fun. Take a scenic drive, explore the wilderness, or maybe even camp amongst the local wildlife while here! There are seven different towns within the area, one of our favorites to send student groups being Wall, home of the famous Wall Drug Store.