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Mt. Rushmore - Activities Near the Presidential Monument

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At least once in everyone's lifetime, you must see the famed Mount Rushmore Memorial. This incredible monument is a feat in art and sculpture! With the faces of four of America's much-lauded presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln carved into the side of the mountain, the sight is truly amazing. The monument is so large that you'll catch glimpses of it from miles away as you wind up to the base on the famed Needles Highway.

In 1927, before the advent of most modern day machines, sculptor Gutzon Borglum began drilling into the 5,725-foot mountain face. An incredible 14 years and $1 million later, Mount Rushmore was born. The presidents' faces stand at 60 feet tall and tower 500 feet above the earth, peering down over swaying pine, spruce, birch, and aspen. This is just the "tip of the mountain" of history that awaits at the monument.

Nearby attractions are endless. With the cities of Keystone, Deadwood, and Rapid City close by, you could easily spend a few weeks here and still not see all the area has to offer! You also have plenty of lodging options to choose from.

  • The Mount Rushmore Tour should be the starting point of your exploration of the area. Here, you can learn all the history of the monument as well as shop for gifts and snap some awesome photos.
    A visit to the Mount Rushmore Monument including a Chuck Wagon Supper and Show are a must! Not only will you visit the grand Mount Rushmore Monument, but you'll also be treated to an old-fashioned chuck wagon supper complete with a Western variety show.
  • How about taking a train ride and viewing the Mount Rushmore Lighting Ceremony? Take a scenic train ride through the South Dakota countryside followed by the lighting of the monument. The only thing more impressive than seeing Mount Rushmore by day is watching its lighting by night!
     Two For Tuesday makes for a great adventure! You'll travel to the famous Deadwood, South Dakota, and then go on to Spearfish to see The Black Hills Passion Play, which recreates the dramatic events during the last seven days in the life of Christ.
  • Other adventures might include The Reptile Gardens in Rapid City. Get up close and personal with hundreds and hundreds of species of reptiles with everything from crocodilians and amphibians to turtles and lizards.
  • Visit the Black Hills Caverns and get a first-hand look at many amazing underground formations. Here, you'll see logomites, stalagmites, stalactites, helictites, and rare crystals. You'll even learn more about what all these things are!
  • The Rushmore Water Slide Park offers wet and wild fun for the entire family.
  • For a real taste of the Old West, stop in at The Old Time Saloon Number 10. One of the oldest saloons in Deadwood. This famed saloon is where Wild Bill Hickok was shot while playing poker, holding the famous "Aces and Eights" hand, now known as "Dead Man's Hand."
  • Deadwood has modernized over the years to become a legalized gambling town while keeping its roots and aesthetics firmly planted in the Old West.  Visit the graves of Wild Bill, Calamity Jane, and a whole host of other famous Western figures.

With so much nearby, your dining choices range from a Chuck Wagon Dinner at Circle B Ranch and real Western cowboy vittles to upscale, gourmet experience.

If a great western vacation combined with even better American West history sounds like a great way to kick up your heels and have some fun, be sure to put Mount Rushmore, Keystone, Deadwood, and Rapid City in your day planner - right next to "vacation."

(Rapid City and Sioux Falls have the two closest airports to Mt. Rushmore.)

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