“Why South Dakota?”, someone asked while we were exchanging our vacation itineraries for the upcoming year. “Because, it looks completely different for us, and besides there’s a lot to experience“, I said gleefully. We love to travel the world and experience many different things. It keeps one open to new ventures. “Seems boring…I wouldn’t want to go.” We have heard this from many people when we excitedly told them about our upcoming trip to both South Dakota and Wyoming. But, we love our National Parks more than most. I especially love the visitors center and the nostalgia of the National Parks sign. I adore Smokey the Bear. I love to read the history of the Parks, and see the vintage photos of the excavating and building process. To witness someones vision turning into a reality, makes the impossible seem possible. To add a fun factor when touring National Parks— get a passport. Not the kind of passport to get out of the country (although highly recommended, too) but the kind of passport that’s specifically for National Parks. It’s a book containing a list and information of all the parks, with an area to place your stamp, or cancellation, to mark your time there. We are addicted to ours. You can also add commemorative stamps to put in your passport, too. I know, this may seem geeky, but we love it. Our goal is to visit as many National Parks as we can. If you can feel my National Park vibe, you must see Mount Rushmore.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial was completed in 1941, and is located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. The incredible 60 ft. granite faces overlook the entire park. I thoroughly enjoyed having George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, as a beacon in the background, while journeying around this park. These president’s were chosen, respectively, to represent birth, growth, development and preservation of the United States. This site offers a gorgeous museum with interactive exhibits.
There is no entrance fee for Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but there is an $11 fee for parking. No big deal if you ask me. We visited in October, when we normally like to travel to beat the busy bustling of summer tourists. The busiest times of the year are June, July and August. We were there for a few hours, mainly because we take our time in the visitors center and museum, but you could easily walk it within an hour if you hurry. But, why would you? This site is pristine after all these years and it’s a beautiful hike through. I honestly don’t mind my tax money going towards the National Park System, especially when the upkeep is top notch.
One suggestion, plan your visit in advance. Luckily, we visited during a clear day, and we could easily see the memorial, however we went back again at night (they were open until 11pm) and we couldn’t see our hand in front of our face, let alone seeing the memorial directly in front of us. I really wanted to have a few night photos, as the ones I’ve seen looked phenomenal. I have heard many stories of folks visiting the memorial with a tight schedule, and never actually see Mount Rushmore, because the visibility was horrible for the one day they had planned to visit. We made sure we had a 2 day window to visit, to account for any inclement weather and conditions.