Outdoor Campus West in Rapid City is an amazing place. It's fairly new, and features hand-on exhibits inside featuring four different ecosystems in South Dakota. They have 32 acres with more than 1.5 miles of trails. There is a pond that kids can learn to fish on, a mud pie creating area, and a treehouse. Some serious fun. Best of all it's FREE.
Custer State Park is a South Dakota GEM. It's a pristine state park, and also has a resort company within the park with multiple unique properties to stay at. Recreation opportunities in the park are diverse, from hiking, rock climbing, canoeing, paddle boating, horse back riding, swimming, wildlife/bird watching, camping, jeep rides, chuckwagon cookouts, and of course just relaxing. We took a Buffalo Safari Jeep Ride along the back roads of the Wildlife Loop. We had Dave as our guide, and he couldn't have been more fun. I had a seriously fun time - can't wait to bring Grace out there.
The best part about these guided tours is they take you places the general public can't go. And they always know where the buffalo are, and take you right to them. A great time to visit the park is in May when the calves are fresh and you can watch them interact with the Momma.
And of course the beggin' burros are a Custer State Park favorite. I like to thin of them as the mascots for Custer State Park - the bison are the jocks, the burros are the mascots. They are just hilarious. It's likely that if you came here as a child, you probably remember both the bison and the burros. They leave an impression on a person!
Cozy little cabins scattered throughout the Black Hills.
Justin and I at Big Thunder Gold Mine. He's a good travel partner - I can yell at him like I can my husband, he can tell me to take a chill pill, and we can joke around constantly. It's refreshing to have someone like this to work with!
After the tour of the gold mine you pan for gold!
And of course the 1880 Train!
There is SO much more to do in the Black Hills - this is just a super small sample!