My wife and I had originally planned on going to Europe this year (well, for the last two years), but Covid craziness had other plans. So we decided to turn the time we had originally set aside for it into a road trip to Yellowstone instead, and it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Along the way, we decided to take a brief stop for a day in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and then overnight there again on the way back. Initially, the main attraction was Mount Rushmore, but we discovered so many other cool things to see there, that we felt it is definitely worth its own trip.
We visited Mount Rushmore and had Thomas Jefferson’s original recipe Vanilla Ice Cream, hiked the Little Devil’s Tower trail, drove through the Bear Country USA wildlife park, visited the Reptile Gardens, ate at Black Hills Burger & Bun and the Chute Rooster, stopped by Prairie Berry Winery and bought a bottle of Red Ass Rhubarb wine (their claim to fame), and generally did everything touristy it was possible to do in the space of a little over 24 hours.
We thoroughly enjoyed everything we did, but were the most surprised with the Reptile Gardens. It was incredible. I love reptiles to begin with, and it turns out they have the most species and subspecies of reptiles than any other zoo or animal park in the world at over 225 of them. Their collection of venomous snakes is incredible, and being able to get that close to the Giant Tortoises was a dream come true.
Driving through South Dakota we also had to stop at Wall Drug (which is a hilarious little place), and the Corn Palace, simply because they were there and we weren’t in any particular rush, being vacation and all.