Bucket List Adventure: From Mount Rushmore to Badlands National Park

Fun tidbits about South Dakota:


  1. South Dakota has more shoreline than Florida. With its winding rivers and glacial lakes, it is a water-lover’s dream. I can’t decide what I want to do first – SUP or kayak? Thank you Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort.
  2. South Dakota was home to the deepest gold mine, Homestake Mine, until its closure in 2002. Thank you South Dakota Department of Tourism. The mine even housed a scientific lab at one time where scientists could conduct research in a sunless environment. This is where the solar neutrino problem was first discovered.
  3. It has the largest sculpture in the world, sort of. If it is ever finished, the Crazy Horse Memorial Carving, depicting the Lakota warrior atop his horse, will be the largest sculpture in the world. Thanks again Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort. The statue was started in 1948, by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski who was one of the artists who had worked on Mount Rushmore. The artist passed away before it could be completed, but his wife took over the foundation to complete the project. The Memorial will open back up on May 18, 2020 from 8 am – 8 pm. Check here to learn more about the monument and for visitor information.

Badlands National Park . . . or . . . the national park with the coolest name ever. It makes me picture myself cruising through a post-apocalyptic landscape in my mommy van on my Harley with my hair whipping in the wind. The Lakota coined the awesome sounding name. They referred to the area as “mako sica” which translates to “land bad.” That doesn’t sound nearly as awesome, but they had a point. The rugged terrain is filled with rocky mountains, very little water, and desert-like terrain. Thank you Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association. Visitors Centers and Entrance Fee Stations in the park are closed to the public right now but roads, trails, and campgrounds remain open. You can visit for free right now, but plan for few amenities. Trash and bathroom facilities may be unavailable so keep that in mind. I’ll say it now – even if that bathroom is open, I’m not going anywhere near it. I find national park bathrooms to be sketchy in the best of conditions. I will hold it. Stay up to date on conditions here.

If you have never visited Mount Rushmore, the time is now. Mount Rushmore is open to the public now. There is no charge to visit the memorial but there is a fee for parking. The visitor center and all educational programs are closed. Can you name the four presidents featured on Mount Rushmore? Give it a try, then scroll to the bottom to check your answer. Before you visit, check the latest conditions here.


Dignity, the 50-foot tall stainless steel statue of a Native American woman, overlooks the Missouri River and reminds us of South Dakota’s native heritage. Sculptor Dale Lamphere designed the beauty to honor the Lakota and Dakota people of the area. She is one of the hundreds of sculptures that make up the South Dakota Sculpture Trail.

Strange sites throughout South Dakota (I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves):

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Answer: The four presidents on Mount Rushmore are, from left to right, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.


4 comments on “Bucket List Adventure: From Mount Rushmore to Badlands National Park

    • Darlene Odenwald on

      Let me know when you are ready to go! Using a travel agent costs the same as booking online, but you get an advocate when anything goes wrong and I include a special gift with every booking.


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