We flew into Rapid City, SD and picked up a rental car. Since we only had a week to play there was no way we were going to be able to drive one of our vehicles. Our first stop was for some good cheesy fun.
Dinosaur Park was built back in the the early 1930’s. There are five concrete statues that you can climb on with the largest, the Brontosaurus, being 80ft long and 28ft high. The park is good for a good 15 minutes of fun but there isn’t really anything else to do. The park is free so at least the price was right.
Our next stop had us traveling to Reptile Gardens on Highway 16 about 6 miles south of Rapid City. We both had mixed feelings about this place. While the park is very well maintained it is very old school in displaying of critters. Many of the animals are in enclosures that we felt were way too small for them. The alligator and crocodile exhibits actually depressed us quite a bit. Still, we were able to enjoy ourselves enough to make the entrance fee worth it.
It was starting to get late but we decided to press on to scout out Mount Rushmore. The best light for photographing Mount Rushmore is early in the morning. We wanted to make sure we would not be wasting any time since there wouldn’t be a lot of setup time tomorrow. With parking pass in hand and a 5am park opening, we were ready for tomorrow. After a fabulous dinner at the Colonial House Restaurant and Bar (try the walleye), we settled into our room at the Big Sky Lodge. Big Sky Lodge could use a bit of modernization but it’s quiet and clean.