The Journey Museum gives visitors a look at artifacts from ancient Indian tribes and settlers who lived in the area, shows them what type of dinosaur bones were discovered beneath the plains, and teaches them how the hills were formed. They also offer a variety of programs, classes, and outreach programs, many of which are themed around archaeology. For more information, visit: http://www.journeymuseum.org/.
Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup is an annual event in October that is open to the public. Watch cowboys and cowgirls race across the Dakota plains, herding more than 1,500 buffalo. In 2012, the roundup will be held on Monday, September 24. For more information, visit: www.travelsd.com/about/events/buffaloroundup.asp.
Badlands National Park
Located in southwestern South Dakota, this park is known nationally for its spectacular views of ancient, eroded cliffs and its rich collection of fossilized mammal remains. Visitors are welcome year-round, but in summer months the park hosts a variety of activities including ranger-guided tours, talks, and activities for children. The Ben Reifel visitor’s center is also a good place for explorers to begin learning about the park and the history of the region. Check their website for directions, a calendar of events, and more information about the educational opportunities at the park: http://www.nps.gov/badl/index.htm.
Black Hills Museum of Natural History is currently constructing a new museum location. When it is completed, the museum will house a large collection of fossil and minerals, with outdoor trails. For more information: http://www.bhmnh.org/home.html
Ingalls Homestead is a museum where you can learn how pioneers, such as Laura Ingalls, lived while visiting the Ingalls homestead. Try rope making, wheat grinding, corn shelling or visit the prairie schoolhouse or take a covered wagon ride or visit exhibits on farming and daily life. For more information visit: http://www.ingallshomestead.com/index.html
The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs South Dakota is the world’s largest mammoth research facility. Tour the site, view ice age fossils and observe a real scientific excavation while learning about paleontology, geology and paleoecology. There are also several exhibits and a dig site for children. For more information: http://www.mammothsite.com/default.htm
The Black Hills Caves is a unique cave system full of rare underground rock formations. Explore the caves and get an up-close look at what the world looks like beneath the surface. For more information, visit: www.travelsd.com/Attractions/Black-Hills-Caves.
Archaeology and Paleontology in South Dakota is a Web site hosted by the South Dakota travel agency. On this site is a list of archeological and paleontology sites open to the public and school groups, as well as a list of museums. To view the list, go to: http://www.travelsd.com/Outdoors/Archaeology-and-Paleontology
Year-round, the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village offers a glimpse of archaeologists at work in their Archeodome, where there are potions of earth lodges from a 1,000-year-old Indian village. But for a few Archaeology Awareness Days ever summer, children have an opportunity to watch flint-napping, make their own pottery vessel, throw atlatls and more. In the nearby lab, kids can wash and identify artifacts. A smaller simulated site is set up for youngsters to have a first-hand experience in archaeology. For specific dates and other details, call (605) 996-5473, or visit www.mitchellindianvillage.org.
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