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. The museum also offers a variety of programs and classes, many of which are archaeology-themed. For more information, contact Visitor Services at (605) 394-6923 or 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 nearly 1,300 buffalo. In 2013, the roundup will be held on Friday, September 27th. For more information, go to: www.travelsd.com/about/events/buffaloroundup.asp.
Badlands National Park located in southwestern South Dakota, 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 the summer the park hosts a variety of activities including ranger-guided tours, talks, and activities for children. The visitor’s center is also a good place for explorers to begin learning about the park and the history of the region. Check the 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, and there will be access to outdoor trails. For more information, go to: http://www.bhmnh.org/home.html
At Ingalls Homestead, you can learn how pioneers such as Laura Ingalls Wilder lived. Try rope making, wheat grinding, or corn shelling. Visit the prairie schoolhouse, take a covered wagon ride, or visit exhibits on farming and daily life. For more information, call (800) 776-3594 or visit: http://www.ingallshomestead.com/index.html
The Mammoth Siteof 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, call (605) 745-6017 or visit the website: http://www.mammothsite.com/default.htm
The Black Hills Caves are 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 website hosted by the South Dakota travel agency. On this site is a list of archaeological and paleontological 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, a National Historic Landmark, offers a glimpse of archaeologists at work. You can see artifacts and visit the dig site itself. On Archaeology Awareness Days, held July 6th and 7th, 2013, children have an opportunity to watch flint-knapping, 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.