Having enjoyed another hotel breakfast (which is up there as one of the best), we headed out to the Mount Rushmore Monument – the select presidents in the Black Hills mountainside. The road out was through a couple of full-on tourist towns complete with museums of aspects of gold mining, wrangling, chainsaw carving (it’s a forestry area) and, of course, the Mount Rushmore faces. Many of the camping grounds and attractions aren’t open as they await the winter off season. Quite a bit of construction going on.
On our way we visited a safari park at Bear Country. A drive around took us through the park with sections for prey and predators. Some seem to get on and some don’t. There were deer, reindeer, wolves and BEARS! They were lolling about and wandering and being adorable. Out of the car at the walk around bit took us to other enclosures including the BABY BEARS! The park is nice (even smells nice) and all the animals seemed quite playful, clean and happy. One of the kids with the families doing the rounds with us were watching the baby bears wrestle in their little house yelled out ‘Look they’re fighting in the house like you and Dad, Mom!’ A very embarrassed Mom said ‘No we don’t’.
From here we went up to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The view was amazing and way greater than what either of us expected. The public spaces are laid out to walk you through a row of state flags and then be confronted by the images on the mountain opposite. The atmosphere is positive and it is fun to be surrounded by all these visitors from all over America (and the world). There are lots of families with young children (school is still in here) and there is a lot of laughing and running around.
The Custer State Park is not too much further and a free-range park with deer bison (buffalo). There were prairie dogs (so cute) amongst the deer and even some bison. The Needles rock drive was also very impressive with tunnels and bridges and even the occasional view of the famous mountain sculptures.
We returned for a night visit to Mount Rushmore. They have lights for illumination and they appear to float. Even though it was after 6 it was still reasonably busy.
Dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s which is another chain like Sizzler. Nice and quick and great value. We were regaled by a whole group wearing waistcoats and Stetsons but then, we are in South Dakota.
Rosie | the baby bears – too cute and so playful
Angus | Mt Rushmore!