Powered by Blogger.

Visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with 2 Kids and a Baby {Guest Post by Healthy Happy Thrifty Family}

Visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with Kids {Guest Post by Healthy Happy Thrifty Family} | CosmosMariners.com

I hope you've been enjoying the guest posters while I've been in Germany. Today, I've got another awesome blogger: Krystal from Healthy Happy Thrifty Family will be sharing her experiences traveling in South Dakota with her family.

When she's not blogging, Krystal can be found having fun with her three wonderful kids or working part-time as a college instructor.  Her spare time is filled with writing, gardening and chasing backyard chickens.
______________________________

My 6-year son had been begging to go to Mount Rushmore for years. We told him that he had to be able to name the presidents first! We finally decided to take him this year. I started researching the Black Hills area of South Dakota, and realized that there were a ton of activities in the area. 

We took a five day trip this year and plan to go back in a couple years to see the rest.  We really didn’t have time to fit everything we wanted to do into one trip!

Visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with Kids {Guest Post by Healthy Happy Thrifty Family} | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via}

MOUNT RUSHMORE
Our most important stop was obviously Mount Rushmore.  We visited twice, once during the day and once for the evening lighting ceremony.  Admission to the National Monument is free but you do pay a small fee for parking that is valid for the year. You can come back as many times as you like during the trip!  We really enjoyed the small but really informative museum area and we hiked up the hundreds of stairs to get a closer view of the faces.  

My 6- and 4-year-olds participated in the Junior Ranger program.  There is a little activity guide to complete and they receive a badge upon completion.  If you’re going in the summer, I suggest going early in the day to find parking and enjoy in cooler temperatures.

Visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with Kids {Guest Post by Healthy Happy Thrifty Family} | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via}

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK
We had a hard time deciding whether to visit Wind Cave National Park or Jewel Cave National Monument. They are both in Black Hills area.  We settled on Wind Cave because we heard that they had their own herd of bison.  And, I was determined to see a bison at some point on the trip. 

Wind Cave offers prescheduled tour times.  We signed up for a shorter tour that was about an hour long because I thought that was all that would hold our interest.   There was a small fee person for the tours.  It was a really cool tour and this particular cave has a unique boxwork formation that is very rare!  There were some tight spaces, but it was really dry inside and beautiful.  I was able to complete the whole tour with my infant in the carrier.  My kids completed the junior ranger program here as well.  


Visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with Kids {Guest Post by Healthy Happy Thrifty Family} | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via}

 I also wasn’t disappointed in terms of bison.  We found the herd on our way out of the park!  There were probably around 50 bison with lots of calves. We’ll likely visit Jewel Cave when we return, because according to our tour guide, they’re actually very different on the inside.  These are both great choices for a rainy day, as conditions in the cave aren’t affected by rain.

Visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with Kids {Guest Post by Healthy Happy Thrifty Family} | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via}

CUSTER STATE PARK
There is a ton of amazing scenery in this park.  You pay a fee for a multi-day pass to enter the park per vehicle. We took a swim in Sylvan Lake and hiked around it a bit.  It was serene and beautiful with large rocks protruding out of the lake.  We also drove on needles highway, with some tight corners and really amazing views and tunnels.  


Visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with Kids {Guest Post by Healthy Happy Thrifty Family} | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via}
I was hoping to see more bison, but we didn’t find any on the loop we drove.  We did find some free range donkeys that were pretty friendly.  I could definitely spend more time here on our next trip.

Visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota with Kids {Guest Post by Healthy Happy Thrifty Family} | CosmosMariners.com
{photo via}

STORYBOOK ISLAND, RAPID CITY
This was the hit of the trip for my children.  There are scenes throughout the park that children can walk up to, play on and pose at for pictures. We happened to stumble upon their annual character day.  So in addition to all of the really cool structures, local teens were roaming around dressed as storybook characters.  They had a magic show and a really cute train ride for the kids.  Admission was free but they do ask for a donation.

I can’t wait to plan another trip to the Black Hills.  We enjoyed the friendly people and have so much more to see!

Have you been to the Black Hills?  What was your favorite attraction?


_______________________________


Make sure to show Krystal some love!
_______________________________

Want even more travel goodness? Sign up for the newsletter and get the latest Cosmos Mariners updates, giveaways, and travel news right to your inbox!
Newsletter Signup Newsletter Signup