Onward.. to South Dakota!
Katy Mann from Indy with Kids embarks on some pretty big road trips with her family of six, and South Dakota was a favorite for all of them! From the historic to the imaginative, Katy says South Dakota did not disappoint! Here are some of the state’s most popular attractions:
Life Size bronze statues of our nation’s presidents throughout the streets of downtown Rapid City. Art Alley is a public arts project where artists (including you) can obtain a permit to graffiti the walls in Art Alley. My kids loved playing at Storybook Island, a free play park with life-size figurines from the storybooks they’ve heard since they were babies. They also loved Dinosaur Park. My husband and I loved the Pawnseum — the world’s only pawn shop museum. More info: https://www.visitrapidcity.com/
Reptile Gardens (Rapid City, SD)
The largest reptile zoo in the world, Reptile Gardens houses more species of reptiles than any other zoo or wild animal park. Families can experience hands-on demonstrations and animal shows sure to thrill the group. Special exhibits like the Sky Dome and a fun-filled Prairie Dog Town, as well as areas featuring giant tortoises and Komodo dragons add to the fun. The gardens also showcase a collection of more than 50,000 species of flowers.
Storybook Island (Rapid City, SD)
Storybook Island invites children to visit their favorite storybook characters throughout the theme park. The eight and a half acre park features life-size figurines from classic children’s stories and also offers children’s train rides.
Dinosaur Park (Rapid City, SD)
Located on 20 acres on Skyline Drive, Dinosaur Park is home to life-size concrete dinosaur figures. Children are invited to climb on the gigantic dinosaurs and the whole family will enjoy the 100-mile views that reach all the way to the Badlands National Park.
From parks to arts and culture, entertainment and attractions, shopping, sports and over 700 restaurants, Sioux Falls is a beautiful place to visit with your family. Our children loved visiting the falls, the Butterfly House and the art sculpture walk downtown. Sioux Falls is also a great place to stay as you spread out to visit other South Dakota attractions. More Info: https://visitsiouxfalls.com/
Falls Park (Sioux Falls, SD)
Walk from downtown Sioux Falls to the gorgeous Falls Park, located at North Phillips Avenue and Falls Park Drive. Today, the park covers 123 acres. An average of 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the Falls each second. See the city’s namesake as well as some of the first buildings built in Sioux Falls.
Butterfly House & Aquarium (Sioux Falls, SD)
Enjoy over 800 free-flying butterflies from around the world in a year-round tropical oasis. Experience hands-on learning with the Shark & Stingray Touch Pool and the Pacific Tide Pool. Discover coral reefs, marine fishes, and other fascinating ocean creatures in South Dakota’s only public saltwater aquarium. This unique destination is like nothing else in the region!
Outdoor Campus East (Sioux Falls, SD) and Outdoor Campus West (Rapid City, SD) Experience the great outdoors of South Dakota at one of two Outdoor Campuses where children can learn about and enjoy outdoor activities like fishing, archery and gardening for butterflies. The Outdoor Campuses feature nature trails and freshwater aquariums for interactive family fun.
Other South Dakota Attractions You Have to See
Badlands National Park
The other-worldly landscape of Badlands National Park features a maze of buttes, canyons, pinnacles, and spires, a result of millions of years of wind and water erosion. Families can visit the park’s 244,000 acres and view a wide range of animals, like bison, prairie dogs, coyotes, eagles and hawks. Adding to the adventure of the national park, families can also go camping and join the ranger-led Night Sky Program for stargazing. Children can even become Junior Rangers and go on an adventure with the park rangers to explore plants, animals and fossils, and solve mysteries about the Badlands’ ancient history.
Home of Laura Ingalls Wilder (De Smet, SD)
Families are invited to Laura Ingalls Wilder’s homestead to travel back in time and experience what life was like in the 1880s when Laura and her family first settled in De Smet. The homestead offers covered wagon rides, 1880s school session and pioneering activities, like making rope and cob dolls. Each July with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society, visitors can enjoy plays depicting a story from the books.
Wall Drug (Wall, SD)
America’s Number One Roadside Attraction, Wall Drug is a 76,000-square-foot attraction featuring a restaurant, an array of gift shops, and Backyard play area for kids to explore. Wall Drug offers something for every member of family. The historic roadside attraction continues to follow its tradition of offering free ice water to thirsty travelers, and has been doing so since 1931.
Corn Palace (Mitchell, SD)
In 1892, the World’s Only Corn Palace was built in Mitchell, SD. Created as a community gathering place where city residents and their rural neighbors could enjoy a fall festival celebrating the agricultural accomplishments of South Dakota, it is now host to half a million worldwide visitors each year. The Palace is redecorated each year with naturally colored corn (13 different shades), and other grains and native grasses to make it “the agricultural show-place of the world”. A theme is chosen each year, and murals are designed by nailing ears of corn to the Corn Palace to create the scene.