10 Tips for Visiting Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota

The 28,295 acres of Wind Cave National Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota are home to the 7th longest cave in the world, and the 3rd longest cave in America. The cave was discovered by Jesse and Tom Bingham in the early 1880s and 21 Native American tribes associated with the Wind Cave. President Theodore Roosevelt established Wind Cave as the 8th National Park in 1903, naming it after the barometric winds at the entrance to the cave. There are 156.3 miles of passageways in Wind Cave and 95% of the world’s boxwork hangs inside the cave, along with 12 species of bats (although we didn’t see any on our visit).

We spent a summer morning on 4th of July weekend exploring the park and taking a Natural Entrance Cave tour and loved it! The park is fairly isolated, with no dining options, so plan ahead and bring food. Here are our 10 tips if you’re planning a visit to Wind Cave National Park.

, , , ,

10 Tips for Visiting Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Known as the “Shrine of Democracy”, Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills region of South Dakota and attracts over two million visitors each year. The Black Hills are known for the ponderosa pine trees that give the illusion of darkness from a distance.

The concept of an attraction that would drum up business for the economy and bring visitors to South Dakota was the idea of Doane Robinson, the state historian of South Dakota. He originally wanted to honor western heroes, like Lewis and Clarke and Chief Red Cliff. Robinson sought out mountain carvers and found well known sculpture Gutzon Borglum, who was working on a project in Georgia. Borglum changed the scope of the project by switching the location and the profiles to feature American presidents that best represent 150 years of American history. He chose Mount Rushmore, named for New York attorney Charles Rushmore who inspected the mountain for mining in the 1880s, because of its location: it was big enough for the scale of the project, it was made of hard rock, and it faced southeast, which provided good daytime light.

, , ,

National Park Guide: Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah

This post is the first in a series we’ll be sharing about our adventures of summer 2021, when we embarked on a 4 week road trip that included 9 National Parks (bringing our total to 12) and many other cool sites across the country. We must disclose that we are NOT serious hikers, even after this trip. The pandemic afforded our family the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors more, and that let to a whole new appreciation of nature. While we researched, experienced, and fact checked all information in this post, many parts of it are still only our personal opinions (how difficult a trail is, how long it takes to complete, what we chose to do and not do). We’ve provided links to the NPS site so our readers can make their own decisions about what adventures they want to experience in the park.

, , , ,

10 Lessons We Learned from Exploring National Parks

We just wrapped up a pretty great summer that included an awesome (in the real denotation of that word) road trip from Nevada to Connecticut. We explored nine National Parks, bringing our total to 12 National Parks (read about our adventures at Acadia and Great Smoky Mountains). We wrote a post about why we love National Parks a few years ago and have since added more reasons to explore NPS sites.

In the coming weeks, we will share guides to all nine parks we explored this summer (Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Arches, Rocky Mountains, Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave, and Badlands). But first, we thought we’d start with some of lessons we learned and how they translate outside of the parks, too:

, ,

10 Must Have Hiking Supplies

Our 2020 rescheduled road trip is coming up soon and our whole family is getting excited. While we’re keeping our itinerary a secret, you’ll be able to gather from this post, and some of our most recently themed posts, that we will be doing a lot of hiking (which our family defines as walking outside for a few miles on a well marked path). You can read about some of the Connecticut places we have explored for hiking (again, we’re using that term loosely) in this post, this post, this post, and this post. We are NOT serious hikers, and at first thought we didn’t necessarily need anything other than sneakers for a hike.

, ,

10 National Park Sites to Go on a Virtual Tour While Staying Home

have been toying with the idea of posting content related to the current climate of staying home during the COVID 19 pandemic since the crisis started last month. My focus of this blog has always been family focused, education fun and traveling throughout the United States. I thought about posts regarding things to keep kids busy, new skills kids can learn, favorite family board games and books (I might still share that post), and how to avoid boredom. But those posts didn’t seem that original or enlightening. So we’re sticking with what we know best: family travel.

, , , , , , , , ,