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Badlands National Park
IUCN Category II (National Park)
Location Jackson, Pennington, and Shannon counties, South Dakota, USA
Nearest city Rapid City
Coordinates 43°45′0″N 102°30′0″W / 43.75°N 102.5°W / 43.75; -102.5Coordinates: 43°45′0″N 102°30′0″W / 43.75°N 102.5°W / 43.75; -102.5
Area 244,000 acres (98,740 ha)
Established January 29, 1939 National Monument November 10, 1978 National Park
Visitors 886,654 (in 2007)
Governing body National Park Service
Aerial view, 3D computer generated image
False-color satellite image of the park (more information)

Badlands National Park, in southwest South Dakota, United States preserves 244,000 acres (98,740 ha)[1] of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States.

The Badlands Wilderness protects 64,144 acres (25,958 ha) of the park as a designated wilderness area[1] and is the site of the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America.[2]

The Stronghold Unit is co-managed with the Oglala Lakota tribe and includes sites of 1890s Ghost Dances,[3] a former United States Air Force bomb and gunnery range,[4] and Red Shirt Table, the park's highest point at 3,340 feet (1,020 m).[5]

Contents

Administrative history

Authorized as Badlands National Monument on March 4, 1929, it was not established until January 25, 1939. Under the Mission 66 plan, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center was constructed for the monument in 1957-58.

It was redesignated a national park on November 10, 1978.[6] The park also administers the nearby Minuteman Missile National Historic Site.

Prehistory

Genera found in the area

See also: White River Fauna for a list of fossil animals discovered in the formations that make up Badlands National Park and surrounding areas.

Human history

Native Americans

For 11,000 years, Native Americans have used this area for their hunting grounds. Long before the Lakota were the little-studied paleo-Indians, followed by the Arikara people. Their descendants live today in North Dakota as a part of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Archaeological records combined with oral traditions indicate that these people camped in secluded valleys where fresh water and game were available year round. Eroding out of the stream banks today are the rocks and charcoal of their campfires, as well as the arrowheads and tools they used to butcher bison, rabbits, and other game. From the top of the Badlands Wall, they could scan the area for enemies and wandering herds. If hunting was good, they might hang on into winter, before retracing their way to their villages along the Missouri River. By one hundred and fifty years ago, the Great Sioux Nation consisting of seven bands including the Oglala Lakota, had displaced the other tribes from the northern prairie.

The next great change came toward the end of the 19th century as homesteaders moved into South Dakota. The U.S. government stripped Native Americans of much of their territory and forced them to live on reservations. In the fall and early winter of 1890, thousands of Native American followers, including many Oglala Sioux, became followers of the Indian prophet Wovoka. His vision called for the native people to dance the Ghost Dance and wear Ghost Shirts, which would be impervious to bullets. Wovoka had predicted that the white man would vanish and their hunting grounds would be restored. One of the last known Ghost Dances was conducted on Stronghold Table in the South Unit of Badlands National Park. As winter closed in, the ghost dancers returned to Pine Ridge Agency. The climax of the struggle came in late December, 1890. Headed south from the Cheyenne River, a band of Minneconjou Sioux crossed a pass in the Badlands Wall. Pursued by units of the U.S. Army, they were seeking refuge in the Pine Ridge Reservation. The band, led by Chief Big Foot, was finally overtaken by the soldiers near Wounded Knee Creek in the Reservation and ordered to camp there overnight. The troops attempted to disarm Big Foot's band the next morning. Gunfire erupted. Before it was over, nearly two hundred Indians and thirty soldiers lay dead. The Wounded Knee Massacre was the last major clash between Plains Indians and the U.S. military until the advent of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s, most notably in the 1973 standoff at Wounded Knee, South Dakota.

Wounded Knee is not within the boundaries of Badlands National Park. It is located approximately 45 miles (72 km) south of the park on Pine Ridge Reservation. The U.S. government and the Oglala Lakota Nation have agreed that this is a story to be told by the Oglala of Pine Ridge and Minneconjou of Standing Rock Reservation. The interpretation of the site and its tragic events are held as the primary responsibility of these survivors.

Badlands National Park

Fossil hunters

The history of the White River Badlands as a significant paleontological resource goes back to the traditional Native American knowledge of the area. The Lakota found large fossilized bones, fossilized seashells and turtle shells. They correctly assumed that the area had once been under water, and that the bones belonged to creatures which no longer existed. Paleontological interest in this area began in the 1840s. Trappers and traders regularly traveled the 300 miles (480 km) from Fort Pierre to Fort Laramie along a path which skirted the edge of what is now Badlands National Park. Fossils were occasionally collected, and in 1843 a fossilized jaw fragment collected by Alexander Culbertson of the American Fur Company found its way to a physician in St. Louis by the name of Dr. Hiram A. Prout.

In 1846, Prout published a paper about the jaw in the American Journal of Science in which he stated that it had come from a creature he called a Paleotherium. Shortly after the publication, the White River Badlands became popular fossil hunting grounds and, within a couple of decades, numerous new fossil species had been discovered in the White River Badlands. In 1849, Dr. Joseph Leidy, published a paper on an Oligocene camel and renamed Prout's Paleotherium, Titanotherium prouti. By 1854 when he published a series of papers about North American fossils, 84 distinct species had been discovered in North America - 77 of which were found in the White River Badlands. In 1870 a Yale professor, O. C. Marsh, visited the region and developed more refined methods of extracting and reassembling fossils into nearly complete skeletons. From 1899 to today, the South Dakota School of Mines has sent people almost every year and remains one of the most active research institutions working in the White River Badlands. Throughout the late 1800s and continuing today, scientists and institutions from all over the world have benefited from the fossil resources of the White River Badlands. The White River Badlands have developed an international reputation as a fossil-rich area. They contain the richest deposits of Oligocene mammals known, providing a brief glimpse of life in this area 33 million years ago.

Homesteaders

Aspects of American homesteading began before the end of the American Civil War; however, homesteading didn't really impact the Badlands until well into the 20th century. Many hopeful farmers travelled to South Dakota from Europe or the East Coast to try to eke out a living in this hard place. The standard size for a homestead was 160 acres (65 ha). This proved far too small to support a family in a semi-arid, wind-swept environment. In the western Dakotas, the size of a homestead was increased to 640 acres (260 ha). Cattle grazed and crops like winter wheat and hay were cut annually. However, the Great Dust Bowl events of the 1930s combined with waves of grasshoppers proved too much for most of the hardy souls of the Badlands. Houses built out of sod blocks and heated by buffalo chips were soon abandoned. Those who remained are still here today - ranching and raising wheat.

Gunnery range

The Stronghold District of Badlands National Park offers more than scenic badlands with spectacular views. Co-managed by the National Park Service and the Oglala Lakota Tribe, this 133,300-acre (53,900 ha) area is also steeped in history. Deep draws, high tables, and rolling prairie hold the stories of the earliest Plains hunters, the paleo-Indians, as well as the present day Lakota Nation. Homesteaders and fossil hunters have also made their mark on the land. There is a more recent role this remote, sparsely populated area has played in U.S. history: World War II and the Badlands gunnery range.

As a part of the war effort, the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) took possession of 341,726 acres (138,292 ha) of land on the Pine Ridge Reservation, home of the Oglala Sioux people, for a gunnery range. Included in this range was 337 acres (136 ha) from then Badlands National Monument. This land was used extensively from 1942 through 1945 as air-to-air and air-to-ground gunnery ranges. Precision and demolition bombing exercises were also quite common. After the war, portions of the bombing range were used as an artillery range by the South Dakota National Guard. In 1968, most of the range was declared excess property by the USAF. 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) are retained by the USAF but are no longer used.

Firing took place within most of the present day Stronghold District. Land was bought or leased from individual landowners and the Tribe in order to clear the area of human occupation. Old car bodies and 55 gallon drums painted bright yellow were used as targets. Bulls-eyes 250 feet (76 m) across were plowed into the ground and used as targets by bombardier bombing flights. Small automatic aircraft called "drones" and 60-foot (18 m) by 8-foot (2 m) screens dragged behind planes served as mobile targets. Today, the ground is littered with discarded bullet shells and unexploded ordnance.

For safety, 125 families were relocated from their farms and ranches in the 1940s. Those that remained nearby recall times when they had to dive under tractors while out cutting hay to avoid shells dropped by planes miles outside of the boundary. In the town of Interior, both a church and the building housing the current post office received six inch (152 mm) shells through the roof. Pilots in practice, operating out of Ellsworth Air Force Base near Rapid City, found it a challenge to determine the exact boundaries of the range. Fortunately, there were no civilian casualties. However, at least a dozen members of flight crews lost their lives in plane crashes.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "2008 Badlands Visitor Guide" (PDF). Badlands National Park. National Park Service US Department of Interior. http://www.nps.gov/badl/upload/BADL%20Planner%202008.pdf. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  2. ^ "Critical Park Issues - Reintroduction of the Black-Footed Ferret". Badlands National Park. http://www.nps.gov/badl/exp/issues.htm#bff. Retrieved September 26 2005. 
  3. ^ "Badlands: Human History - American Indians". Badlands National Park. http://www.nps.gov/badl/exp/humans.htm#natives. Retrieved September 26 2005. 
  4. ^ "Badlands: Gunnery Range History". Badlands National Park. http://www.nps.gov/badl/exp/humans.htm#gunnery. Retrieved September 26 2005. 
  5. ^ "U.S. National Park High Points". Peakbagger.com. http://www.peakbagger.com/list.aspx?lid=1821. Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  6. ^ "Legislative History". Badlands National Park. http://www.nps.gov/badl/exp/legislat.htm. Retrieved September 26 2005. 

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Badlands National Park [1] is a United States National Park that is located in southwestern South Dakota. This park is marked by rugged terrain and formations that resemble a science fiction landscape of another world. These rock formations take on the shapes of domes, twisted canyons and slanted walls, often striped in different colors. The formations contrast sharply with the rolling hills and prairies in which they stand.

In addition to the rock formations, the park contains the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. The most endangered land mammal in North America, the black footed ferret, was re-introduced to the 64,000-acres Badlands Wilderness Area. The park also contains the world's richest fossil beds from the Oligocene epoch, dating back around 20-35 million years.

Badlands late summer scene
Badlands late summer scene

Understand

Natural history

During the youth of the Rocky Mountains, about 60 million years ago, large number of streams carried eroded soil, rock and other materials eastward from the range. These materials were deposited on the vast lowlands which are today called the Great Plains. Dense vegetation grew in these lowlands, then fell into swamps, and was later buried by new layers of sediments. Millions of years later, this plant material turned into lignite coal. Some of the plant life became petrified, and we can find large amounts of exposed petrified wood in the badlands. While sediments continued to be deposited, more streams cut down through the soft rock layers, carving the variety of mesas, buttes, rock formations, pinnacles, spires and valleys are the features of the badlands seen today.

Human history

For eleven thousand years humans used the area for hunting. They hunted bison, rabbits, and other animals.

Fossils hunters arrived after the 1840s. Trappers traveling from Fort Pierre to Fort Laramie collected fossils. One fossil ended up being described in the American Journal of Science. Within decades new species were being discovered.

Homesteaders arrived at the end of the 19th century and the US government removed the natives from their land. This culminated in the massacre at Wounded Knee, which is approximately 45 miles south of the park in the Pine Ridge Reservation.

The Dust Bowl of the 1930s prompted many homesteaders to move elsewhere. Some who stayed are still there today.

The United States Air Force took possession of more than 340,000 acres of the Pine Ridge Reservation and about 340 acres of what was then Badlands National Monument and used it extensively between 1942 and 1945 as a gunnery range. This is now the Stronghold unit of the park and is co-managed with the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Unexploded ordnance remains in the area.

Flora and fauna

While the badlands terrain may appear to be barren, there is a great variety of wildlife and plant life here. The minimal annual precipitation feeds the grasses and wildflowers of the badlands. The brilliant colors of the blooms add to the palette of grays, browns, reds, ochres and greens of the land. The wildlife includes nearly two hundred species of birds, (mule and white tail) deer, prairie dogs, pronghorn, big horn sheep, and bison. Other mammals in the park include bats, rabbits, and coyotes. The park has reintroduced the black footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America, to the Sage Creek Wilderness area. Reptiles and amphibians include frogs, toads, and snakes.

Non-native species of plants

Dozens of non-native species of plants have been brought by settlers through deliberate or accidental means. The park is actively working to remove the non-native plants and restore the prairie to its original condition.

Climate

The park is windy. Summers are hot and winters are cold.

Winter begins in November, although blizzards in late October may occur. High temperatures around 40° F (4.4° C) with lows below 0° F (-18° C) and high winds creating much lower windchill. Snow is likely and blizzards are possible.

March is difficult. Temperatures may fluctuate dramatically within a few hours. Blizzards are still possible, and so is 60° F (15.5° C) weather.

Spring begins in April. With snow melting and April rains, the park is very wet. The unpaved roads can be difficult or impossible to pass and trails may be slippery and unpleasant. Temperatures at night is typically below freezing. The park receives most of its rain between April and June. Showers may be brief or last for days.

July is hot and dry. Daytime temperatures can surpass 90° F (32° C).

August is the hottest when temperatures can break 100° F (38° C). Evenings are about 75° F (24° C).

In September the temperatures begin to cool off in the second half of the month.

October is much cooler although a few days may break 80° F (27° C).

Geology

The badlands are formed by water and wind erosion, losing about an inch (2.54 centimeters) a year. About five millions years ago the land uplifted and triggered the erosion proccesses that created the badlands.

Paleontology

The fossils found in the park date from The Age of Mammals, including ancestors of the modern day rhinoceros, horse, dog, and others. Fossilized sea shells and turtle shells have also been found in the park. There are no dinosaur fossils in the park.

Approximately 30 million years ago the area was warmer and lush. Many mammals roamed the area and died in floods and quickly buried in sediment, providing an abundance of vertebrate fossils.

Digging and/or moving fossils or artifacts from their locations in the ground is prohibited by Federal law. Offenders are subject to heavy fines and possibly jail.

Fire

The park's goal of maintaining the prairie ecosystem requires using fire. Park visitors, however, should not start any fires anywhere in the park.

Get in

By car

The park is about 50 miles southeast of Rapid City on South Dakota State Route 44.

Interstate 90 exits 131 (Interior) and 110 (Wall) provide access to the park via State Route 240.

By plane

Rapid City Regional Airport [2] is served by five airlines with nonstop service to Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Salt Lake City. Onsite car rental services are available.

By bus

Greyhound serves Rapid City.

Fees/Permits

An entry pass good for one year is available for $30. Otherwise, people who drive a non-commercial vehicle can buy a 7 day pass for $15. Hikers, cyclists and motorcyclists can get a 7 day pass for $10.

Members of the Oglala Sioux tribe can buy the 7 day pass at half price.

An America the Beautiful Interagency Annual Pass is available for $80 that allows entry into any National Park for one year. There are also discounted passes available to the disabled and persons over 62 years of age that allow lifetime access to all national parks.

Get around

Commercial Vehicles should contact (605) 433-5361 for rates.

Dogs and other pets are allowed in the park but only in developed areas such as campgrounds, parking lots, and along the roads. Leashes are required and must not be longer than 6 feet (1.8 meters). Pets are not allowed on the hiking trails. Dogs and other pets are not allowed in the Badlands Wilderness Area.

By car

The Badlands Loop Road is the main road and the only paved road in the park. The speed limit is 45 miles per hour (72 km per hour) unless otherwise posted. Seat belts are required at all times. Do not pull off the road onto the grass but do pull off to allow traffic to pass; however, only pull off where there is sufficient space for your vehicle. Pedestrians have right of way.

By bicycle

Bicycles are allowed only on designated roads (paved, gravel, and dirt) within the park. Off road bicycling, bicycling in the backcountry, or bicycling on hiking trails is prohibited. Bicycle racks are located at the Cedar Pass Lodge and some trailheads. Remember to carry enough water and wear appropriate clothing and sun protection. Be sure to check road conditions, especially gravel and dirt roads. Be alert when riding on all roads.

By horse

A part of the Sage Creek Campground is designated for horses. However, no water is suitable for human consumption and horses unaccustomed to badlands water likely will not drink. Bring one gallon per person per day of water and five gallons per horse per day. Feed must be pellets or weed free hay; contact park staff for details. Hitching posts available and horses are not allowed to run free. Picket pins should be moved frequently to prevent overgrazing. Maximum stay is fourteen nights. There are no horse trails.

  • Ben Reifel Visitor Center, Badlands Loop Road (HWY 240) 9 miles South of I-90 from exit 131, tel: (605) 433-5361. Open June 5 - August 20, 7AM-7PM; August 21-September 17, 8AM-6PM; September 18 - October 14, 8AM-5PM; October 15 - April 2007, 9AM-4PM. The center reopened in 2006 after extensive renovations and improvements. The Badlands Natural History Association operates a small shop with educational materials for sale. The center is open year round and bus and RV parking is available.
  • White River Visitor Center, SD HWY 27 roughly 20 miles south of Scenic in the Pine Ridge Reservation, tel:(605) 455-2878. Open 8AM-7PM in the summer season only. Available at the center are an information desk, movie, exhibits, restrooms, picnic areas, and water. The Center also has information about the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, on which the White River Visitor Center is located.

Overlooks

The Badlands Loop Road offers many overlooks with parking lots. Restroom facilities are located at a few overlooks.

A small overlook of the Red Shirt Table is located south of the village Red Shirt on the Pine Ridge Reservation on Highway BIA 41. This is approximately 30 miles outside of Hermosa, and provides a great view and hike for those who wish to see the Stronghold Unit of the Badlands, which may be ideal for those staying in the Black Hills or Custer State Park who may not be able to travel through the offical loop.

Do

Always carry water. Keep your distance from wildlife, especially bison. If your presence causes a change in behavior, then you are too close.

Refer to the Stay Safe section for more details about exploring the park.

Digging and/or moving fossils or artifacts from their locations in the ground is prohibited by Federal law. Offenders are subject to heavy fines and possibly jail. If you find some fossils or artifacts, note all details, and then stop by the Cedar Pass Contact Station and make a report.

  • Medicine Loop Trail. Moderate 4 miles (2.5 km). Here the mixed grass prairie combines with long distance views of the Badlands. Be on the look out for prickly pear cacti.
  • Castle Trail. Moderate 10 miles (16 km) round trip. This is the longest trail in the park. The trail is mostly level and winds through some formations. The Medicine Root Trail makes a loop within the Castle Trail from any connecting trailhead.
  • Cliff Shelf Nature Trail. Moderate 0.5 mile (0.8 km) loop. This trail provides spectacular views of the White River Valley. It includes some boardwalk and stairs and climbs approximately 200 feet (61 meters). The parking lot cannot accommodate long vehicles or vehicles towing trailers.
  • Door Trail. Easy 0.75 mile (1.2 km) round trip. This trail is accessible. This trail focuses on geology. The trail goes through a break in the Badlands Wall called "The Door". The first 150 yards (137 meters) is boardwalk.
  • Fossil Exhibit Trail. Easy 0.25 mile (0.4 km) loop. This trail is fully accessible. The trail includes exhibits of now extinct creatures that once roamed the area. During the summer, presentations by park naturalists are offered.
  • Notch Trail. Moderate to strenuous 1.5 miles (2.4 km) round trip. This trail is not recommended for those with a fear of heights. This trail provides a wonderful view of the White River Valley and Pine Ridge Reservation. The trail, however, can be very dangerous just after rains, especially heavy rains. Sturdy hiking boots and plenty of sun protection (hat, sunscreen, sunglasses) are recommended.
  • Saddle Pass Trail. Strenuous 0.2 miles (0.4 km) and very steep, it connects Castle Trail and Medicine Root Loop to the Badlands Loop Road. The trail is impassable after rain.
  • Window Trail. Easy 0.25 miles (0.4 km) round trip. This trail is accessible to athletic wheelchair users or with assistance. This trail goes to a natural "window" in the Badlands Wall.

Picnic areas

Picnic tables are located near the Cedar Pass Campground. There are also picnice areas at the Journey Overlook and on Conata Road. As usual, no water is available and fires are stricted prohibited.

Amphitheater

Located in the Cedar Pass Campground near the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. In the summer moths, park rangers give a 40-minute presentation on an aspect of the park.

  • Cedar Pass Lodge Gift Store offers a variety of handmade gifts and crafts, apparel, and sourvenirs. Convenience food and snack items are also available.
  • Interior is located 2 miles west of the park on Highway 44. Services and facilities include a post office, grocery store, gas stations, and auto service year round.
  • Wall is 30 miles northwest of park headquarters using the Badlands Loop Road or exit 110 on I-90. Motels, banking, pharmacy, medical clinic, gas, restaurants, and most services are available. The famous Wall Drug store is located here as well.
  • Rapid City is located 75 miles west of the park headquarters.
  • Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant is open daily from mid April to mid October -- Summer Season Hours: 7AM-8:30PM; Fall Season Hours: 8AM - 4:30PM. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Enjoy a view from your table of the badlands. The restaurant is AAA approved and buses are welcome.

Drink

Water is available at the visitor centers.

Sleep

Lodging

Cedar Pass Lodge, (605) 433-5460, [3]. Mid-April through mid-October. The the only permanent lodging within Badlands NP.

Camping

There are two campgrounds within the Badlands NP.

  • Cedar Pass Campground. Costs $10 for a site in the summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day), and $8 for a site in the winter, all sites first-come, first-served.
  • Sage Creek Campground. Free campground, all sites first-come, first-served.

Backcountry

Backpackers can camp anywhere in the park that is at least one half mile from the road. Open fires are not permitted within the park. All backpackers are urged to stop at the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, to better plan your trip and to alert the Park Service rangers to your presence.

  • Weather. Badlands NP visitors must come prepared for the weather. Temperatures can exceed 100° F (38° C) in the summer, while winter temperatures can dip below 0° F (-18° C). Temperatures fluctuate through the day, sometimes widely. Thunderstorms and blizzards can come up suddenly.
  • Exposure. Carry plenty of water (1 gallon per person per day), a hat, appropriate sunscreen, and sunglasses. Also consider that the park can be very windy.
  • Wildlife. The animals in the park are less of a threat to visitors who pay them the proper respect. However, ending up on the wrong end of a bison can mean a hospital stay or death for the park visitor. Visitors should also be wary of the poisonous (but seldom deadly) prairie rattlesnakes, a subspecies of the rattlesnake.
  • Prickly pear cactus. These small cacti hide in the prairie grass. Wear shoes with thick soles and watch you step. If their flowers are blooming, they are easier to spot.
  • Water. There is no potable water in the park except at the visitor centers. Boiling, filtering, or treating with chemicals does not make the water drinkable.
  • Getting lost. The vast areas of the park off the established trails or out of the designated areas can become very confusing. Good map reading and land navigation skills required.
  • Unexploded ordnance. The Stronghold unit has any number of unexploded bombs and shells left over from the 1940s when the United States Air Force used the land as a gunnery range. When exploring the area keep an eye out. Do not touch any unexploded ordnance. Note the location and notify park rangers as soon as possible.

Get out

Nearby towns include:

  • Wall. Home to the famous Wall Drug store.

Nearby monuments and parks in South Dakota include:

  • The Chief Crazy Horse. A massive sculpture that is still being built on the side of a mountain to honor a famous Indian chief.
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The faces of four famous American presidents carved into the side of a mountain.
  • Custer State Park. Home to a large herd of bison as well as other wildlife. Scenic drives.
  • Jewel Cave National Monument. Jewel Cave is the second longest known cave in the world.
  • Wind Cave National Park.
  • Black Hills National Forest.
  • Mammoth Site, 1800 West Hwy 18 Bypass, Hot Springs, +1 605 745-6017, [4]. Open year round, times vary with season. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Easter Sunday.. The world's largest mammoth research facility in Hot Springs (South Dakota). Ages 4 and Under: Free; Ages 5 to 12: $5.50; Ages 13 to 59: $7.50; Ages 60 and over: $7.00.  edit
  • Bear Country USA, 13820 South Hwy 16, Rapid City, SD, +1 605 343-2290 (fax: +1 605 341-3206), [5]. May-November, daily. June-August 8AM-7PM, otherwise 9AM-4PM.. The world's largest collection of reptiles, as well as some othe animals with educational and entertaining demonstrations of snakes, crocodiles, and others. Ages under 4: Free; Ages 5 to 12: $7.00; Ages 13 to 61 : $13.00; Ages 62+: $7.00; Maximum/Vehicle: $50.00; Season Pass: $95.00.  edit
  • Reptile Gardens, 8955 South Hwy 16, Rapid City, SD, +1 800 335-0275 (), [6]. The world's largest collection of reptiles, as well as some othe animals with educational and entertaining demonstrations of snakes, crocodiles, and others.  edit

Driving west into Wyoming, sites include:

This is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!







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