Yes it is true, Rapid City has been a festive tourist attraction since the birth of Mount Rushmore. Though a lot has changed since the beginning, families still flock to this destination for it’s rich history and fun-filled family attractions. While it seems that the activities end at the Badlands National Park, this city is so much more than it once was.
Stay and Play at WaTiki Indoor Waterpark
When traveling with younger children, you will find there is no better solution to a long day seeing the sights than spending time at the waterpark. What’s even better is when you can stay and play in the same location. WaTiki Indoor Waterpark offers this and so much more.
WaTiki Indoor Waterpark Resort is open all year long offering little bits of summer no matter the weather outside. With over 30,000 sq. ft. of wet and wild fun, it’s the perfect place for kids of all ages to let go of some of that excessive energy. As a bonus, mom and dad can relax in the Oasis Hot Tub while enjoying a mixed bring from Sliders Bar.
Hungry after the swim? Take in a delicious pizza or salad from Marco’s Pizza. Then grab your favorite cup of coffee before starting the next day at the onsite Starbucks. Call it a win and thank us later.
Take Flight at Rush Mountain Adventure Park
Looking for thrills along your Rapid City, SD journey? Rush Mountain Adventure Park is the place to be. They set the standard for family adventure with four wild attractions in one location. Carve the mountain on the Rushmore Mountain Coaster, ride the Soaring Eagle for an amazing heights thrill, shoot bandits at the Gunslinger 7-D Interactive Ride or experience the caverns of Rushmore Cave.
The Soaring Eagle Zipline Ride was the unique in the zip market that you can sit comfortably and soar down the hill and be brought them back to the top. This ride offers seating for two riders which is a plus for families that wanted an activity they could do together. Especially for those that have younger children who need someone to ride along with them!
The mountain coaster was the descendant of the alpine slides. People loved the alpine slides but safety was a true concern. The Rushmore Mountain Coaster eliminated those safety concerns while increasing the speed and thrills of the ride. While the building of the ride came with challenges, the result was today’s Rushmore Mountain Coaster. It’s a must have experience!
Tour Rushmore Cave
Take a scenic guided cave tour into a strange underground world. Families can journey through the the stalactite-filled caverns on a walking tour through Rushmore Cave. Tours leave every 15 minutes, so generally they are not over crowded. The cave itself is cool and comfortable. The journey itself is truly stunning.
For those looking for something a little more extreme. Try the Xpedition Adventure Tour and go spelunking! This is a true caving adventure that requires belly crawling through some tight spaces with an experienced guide that will lead you through some areas off of the main tour route that almost no one else sees. This extreme adventure is not for the faint of heart and is not recommended for the claustrophobic.
See a True to Size Giant at Dinosaur Park
Enjoy free family fun at one of the Black Hills’ original tourist attractions, Dinosaur Park. Dedicated to the public in 1936 and located on a ridge of sandstone that encircles the Black Hills, this is a quick stop when taking in all the photo sights.
Along this ridge dinosaurs of the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous were present and not far from the park dinosaur footprints have been found. Visitors can view seven life-size concrete replicas of monstrous prehistoric reptiles that once inhabited the areas the park is now located.
Dinosaur Park also offers spectacular 100-mile views and if you take a look to the east you can see the South Dakota Badlands. Most rocks of the Badlands are too young to have dinosaurs preserved, but fossil mammals are superbly represented. In fact, to the west and north of the Black Hills, dinosaurs have been found in great abundance in the basins of Wyoming and on the Northern Great Plains.
Get up close and personal at Reptile Gardens
A personal favorite of ours when visiting Rapid City is Reptile Gardens. This National Geographic noted location includes more than 200 species and subspecies of reptiles and more than 1,000 animals. It employs 100 seasonal employees and 20 people full time allowing it to function all year round.
Attractions include an Sky Dome, Old West Town, Methuselah’s Playground for kids, Prairie Dog Town, educational shows and botanical gardens that Johnny Brockelsby, Reptile Gardens founder said rank among the region’s best.
Drive Through Bear Country
Bear Country is a unique drive-thru wildlife park featuring some of the best North American wildlife. Visitors will encounter free moving bears, wolves, elk, buffalo, and other wildlife on your three mile drive. They might even walk right up to your vehicle; so make sure to bring along your camera.
Once the Bear Country drive has ended, you can enjoy the playful antics of bear cubs and other park offspring in a walk through Babyland. While there, families will learn interesting facts about our animal residents at our keeper chats, demonstrations, and informative programs. Make sure to pick up a temporary tattoo for the kids, take a family picture with the mascot and take a rest while enjoying the tranquil ambiance of the main patio area surrounded by waterfalls.