Next stop, Mount Rushmore!! This is the first visit I have ever made here. I am 41 years old and I think that it pretty darn pathetic!! I didn’t want the kids to be like that, so when planning this trip, this stop was a must. We headed over here from the South Unit of The Badlands National Park. Keystone, SD was packed to the gills with tourists, bikes and people. The first thing I thought was Thank God we aren’t staying here!! I wondered if Mount Rushmore was going to be elbow to elbow like this. To our surprise it wasn’t that bad. Parking was really easy and not far from the entrance. Everything went very smooth.
Once we got inside we headed straight for the Information Center for our Passport Stamp and Stickers. Park Rangers were very helpful and gave us a map of the property. We headed into the avenue of flags, which was pretty sweet to see all of them in a pathway leading up to Mount Rushmore.
Once we got through the flags, then came the wait in line for your perfect picture in the front of Mount Rushmore. We waited a few minutes, everyone was really nice and courteous which is fantastic, I love the Midwest!!! Here is what we got for a picture!
Not very impressive?? LOL!! Love when the kids have their darn eyes closed. I’m going to buy them sunglasses for next year so they can knock themselves out with the closed eyes thing and nobody will know! After this fantastic photo shoot, we headed down the stairs to the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center to work on our Junior Rangers. Talk about information! This place was awesome! We learned so much here. Did you know that the Hall of Records is found behind Teddy Roosevelt? Did you know that there once was a Mount Rushmore baseball team?? Did you know that the rock is Harney Peak Granite? Do you know why these presidents were portrayed? Birth, Expansion, Development and Preservation. Man I love learning. I had no idea we would enjoy this place as much as we did!
The Junior Ranger booklet was so much fun and so was the Park Ranger that gave the boys their badges and made them take the pledge. What a hoot! It was hard to leave!
We wandered out and decided to go to the sculpture’s studio for another Passport Cancellation. We ended up with this beautiful view of the Memorial! I would suggest taking your family photo from here. Better picture and less crowds. This one turned out pretty good 🙂
The Sculptor’s Studio was neat. I had no clue that they were suppose to be carved in suits. Obviously I have not done my research on this place. Cute little gift shop here but not very big. Off on the Presidential Trail we went. This hike was beautiful, especially through all the Ponderosa Pine trees! Lots of steps so be prepared, relatively easy, of course my kids ran it. Good photo ops along the way.
Back to the main area and we were craving ice cream! Probably because everyone within 40 feet of us had ice cream in their hands. We strolled over to Carver’s Cafe and Ice Cream to get the scoop (get it, the scoop??). It was absolutely delicious! While kids were enjoying their ice cream I ran over to the main gift shop, Holy Moly this place was huge and had just about anything you would want!! Gifts galore! I picked up what I needed and left before I found other crap that I really don’t need (I’m really good at finding crap I don’t need). Boys finished up and we were off. Mixed with a half day at Badlands and a half day at Mount Rushmore, we decided to go check in at our hotel in Custer. Boy am I glad this is where we decided to stay. I highly recommend staying in Custer if you are doing Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave or Jewel Cave, what a great town. Low crowds and excellent choices of hotels and restaurants.
We stayed at The Bavarian Inn. Kids loved it, pool, tennis courts, lots of games to borrow and a life size connect 4. Rooms were big and our neighbors were fantastic. I will be back to visit this place again. I can’t recommend it enough!
4th stop on National Park Trip Season 2 and we aren’t anywhere close to stopping. Come back and check out our next stops soon!! Gotta fill up our National Park Passport Book. 🙂