Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Play Day in South Dakota

Here it is, our reward for zooming across the US, we gave ourself a break – one day to play, and we are right where we want to be, in Wall, South Dakota, from where we will go straight into some of the most dramatic scenery the world has to offer, the South Dakota Badlands.

The Badlands Loop was amazing. Few other tourists, but all blown away by the scenery and the displays. It probably took us longer than it needed to, but we were having such a good time. Many people were camping, and pulling long campers- there are many many spots for any kind of camper.

Then on to Hot Springs, with a few stops on the way, starting with Reptile Gardens, for AdventureMan. They have amazing displays, some very expert shows, and some of the fattest snakes I have ever seen. Here are some of the fat prairie dogs:

Then on to Mt. Rushmore, which is very impressive:

Then we took winding scenic highway 16 south, through the forests, and meadows full of amazing game; pronghorns, buffalo, and deer.

We took our time, stopping to watch the buffalo roam, enjoying the wonderful scenery. When we got to Hot Springs, we checked into the Red River Rock Resort and Spa, found our beautiful room, but still had time for one more special thing before our early evening massages – so we hurried to the Mammoth Museum, Wooo HOOOOO!

We had a great guide, Kelly, who kept the group informed and entertained, and my friends, this museum is totally awesome. Several years ago a developer began bulldozing this site for a housing development, but stopped immediately when he started unearthing these huge bones. With amazing vision, the city constructed a building to protect the site, which continues to be excavated, a little more every year. The museum is huge, and all the bones are still in their original locations, just partially excavated so we can see how they lay.

Kelly explained how mammoths used to come for the sweet grass growing around the edge of this sinkhole, then they would fall in and couldn’t get out. They have found many many skeletons of mammoths – and other animals – going down as far as they have been able to measure.

This museum is worth a trip – to South Dakota, and to Hot Springs. Our hotel and our massages were just a bonus, but this museum – this museum was the prize.

Then back to our room for our wonderful massages, getting rid of the stresses and strains of four straight days of driving, and a quiet evening as relaxed as limp noodles.

August 31, 2010 - Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, ExPat Life, Geography / Maps, Public Art, Travel


  1. Hi Intlxpatr! I see you saw our friends the pronghorns…Chuck pointed out EVERY LAST ONE as we drove through that part of the US on our honeymoon. I did wonder what I had gotten myself into marrying this guy!

    Comment by Leslie Thorpe | September 1, 2010 | Reply

  2. Have been to that amazing museum when our family had a reunion inI Hot Springs years ago. It is a real treasure. I love that whole part of the country…anyone want to retire in Rapid City?

    Comment by Grammy | September 1, 2010 | Reply

  3. And….while there, our daughters 6 ft. and 6’1″, thought it was hilarious to get t-shirts that said “date a mammoth”, or words to that effect 🙂

    Comment by Grammy | September 1, 2010 | Reply

  4. LLOOLLL, Leslie! AdventureMan winces when I say ‘we’re all married to the same man’ but . . . . LOOOOLLLL! I believe sometimes we are! Gary could have spent our whole play day at Reptile Gardens! (BTW, you would love the gardens; they are gorgeous!) Did you also see buffalo? For me, that was a thrill. They are so huge!

    Grammy, why am I not surprised that you would find that museum as thrilling as we did, LLOOOLLL! We are all such a bunch of NERDS! And LOL at your daughters; what great women, such great self confidence and sense of hilarity!

    Comment by intlxpatr | September 1, 2010 | Reply

  5. […] Quest before you go, look for local attractions, scenic roads, things that will appeal to you. The Mammoth Museum in Rapid City, SD totally made our day on our most recent long road […]

    Pingback by Summer Road Trip Tips « Here There and Everywhere | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  6. I could have swore that there were a Dinosaur Park near by !!!!

    Comment by daggero | April 15, 2011 | Reply

  7. LOL, Daggero, VERY nearby:

    Dinosaur Park

    Dinosaur Park
    940 Skyline Dr., Rapid City, SD
    I-90 exit 57. Following West Blvd south a little over a mile to the little brown “Dinosaur Park” sign, then follow Skyline Drive from there.
    Dawn- Dusk. (Call to verify)

    Have you been there? Looks like a great place to take the children.

    Comment by intlxpatr | April 15, 2011 | Reply

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