As a part of our school year, we traveled by car (agh!!) from Wisconsin to South Dakota. Driving gave us the ability to visit a ton of different spots along the way to our bigger destination of Mount Rushmore! The kiddos loved this trip and, if I’m totally honest, I loved it too. Some highlights (that the kids enjoyed) included:
Wall Drug! This place is literally a tourist stop and shop, but a well placed one. Every single one of the kids loved stopping here on the way there and the way back. They have just about everything for the hungry traveler. From 5 cent coffee to a full restaurant. And they always offer free ice water! There are a ton of picture opportunities at Wall Drug too, including a fake Mount Rushmore. There is also a random T-Rex dinosaur that pops up and roars at you. To this day, my youngest son talks about the “scary dinosaur that made him run away” to just about anyone that asks!
Bear Country is in Rapid City and a must see if you ever happen to be in town! Bear Country is basically an open range zoo for animals from bears and antelope to mountain lions and buffalo. Visitors drive their cars (with the windows up and doors locked!) through each animal enclosure and view the animals. We were able to see wolves, mountain lions, mountain goats, antelope, buffalo and of course bears! The animals, all except the mountain lions, could walk right up to your car. Some bears and buffalo got pretty close to us and the kids went nuts! After driving through the open range areas, there is a small zoo that you are able to walk through which holds animals like skunks, badgers, bear cubs, deer and wolves. Definitely a favorite in our family!
Mount Rushmore was an amazing stop for the adults and the kids! Obviously, there is the Mount itself and our four wonderful Presidents on it. But there is also a great museum that teaches so much history about the process of carving Mount Rushmore and the Presidents represented on it. Of course there is also a little cafe and souvenir shop, which we also enjoyed! The kids learned so much history in the short time we were there. I tried to snap a good picture to capture this moment, this is what I got, lol!
We also visited Crazy Horse, a Pow Wow and Lakota museum, the Corn Palace and three different Laura Ingalls Homestead museums (which will be a whole different post!). This was our first long distance road trip with the kids and I would recommend it to anyone! Hands on learning for sure!