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HOT SPRINGS, SOUTH DAKOTA

Hands-On Paleontology: Excavating and Preserving Mammoths in the Black Hills

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Road Scholar
Program #8925RJ
7 Days | 6 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Most activities at elevation of 3,100-3,500 feet.

Itinerary for Sep 21 — Sep 27, 2014

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Type: Hotel

Description: Property opened in 2004. Outdoor area with benches for relaxing and viewing the scenery and is within walking distance of Mammoth Site.

Contact info:
1401 Highway 18 Bypass
Hot Springs, SD 57747 USA
phone: 605-745-4411
web: www.stayusahotel.com

Room amenities: Coffee-maker, hair dryer, iron, Internet access, & TV.

Facility amenities: Expanded breakfast menu, hot tub, business center with Internet access, fitness room and elevator.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call hotel for current prices.
You must call the hotel directly for reservations @ 605-745-4411. Tell them you will be with South Dakota/Regional Traveling Studies group and ask if the Road Scholar rates are available for your dates.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, September 21 - Arrival / Exploration of Mammoth Site / Orientati...
Note: For this afternoon's exploration of the Mammoth Site, you can walk the 6-7 blocks to the site or a ride will be provided.

Afternoon: Hotel check-in: Available from 3 p.m. Program Registration: After getting your room assignment, please go to the Road Scholar desk in the lobby to register, pick up your Arrival Packet, which will have the latest updated schedule, and find out the time of the day’s Orientation. The group will meet at 3:45 p.m. in the hotel hospitality room to either walk or ride to the Mammoth Site for the introduction tour.

Dinner: Woolly’s Western Grill across the street from hotel.

Evening: Orientation: Enjoy a warm welcome and introductions to staff and your fellow participants. We will review the schedule and discuss responsibilities, schedule changes, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, contact numbers for key staff and answer all your questions.

Lodging: USA Stay Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Property opened in 2004. Outdoor area with benches for relaxing and viewing the scenery and is within walking distance of Mammoth Site.

Contact info:
1401 Highway 18 Bypass
Hot Springs, SD 57747 USA
phone: 605-745-4411
web: www.stayusahotel.com

Room amenities: Coffee-maker, hair dryer, iron, Internet access, & TV.

Facility amenities: Expanded breakfast menu, hot tub, business center with Internet access, fitness room and elevator.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call hotel for current prices.
You must call the hotel directly for reservations @ 605-745-4411. Tell them you will be with South Dakota/Regional Traveling Studies group and ask if the Road Scholar rates are available for your dates.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, September 22 - Excavation or Lab work at Mammoth Site / Evening ...
Note: On each day of this program, you must be able to stand, bend, kneel and handle a small container of sediment while excavating in the bone bed (indoors) and participating in lab work (indoors). If you have physical limitations, the staff will help you find a location within the bone bed and lab that will work for you.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Work begins daily at the Mammoth Site at 8 a.m. Participants will split into two or three groups for the excavation and lab work.

When his schedule allows, world-renowned Dr. Larry Agenbroad, principal investigator of the site, and/or Justin Wilkins, In-situ bone bed curator and secondary educator, will provide excavation instruction and an overview of the bone bed before each group begins working, as well as continuing supervision and instruction during the week.

Lab director and collections curator Olga Potapova oversees all aspects of the lab work. All groups will have equal time to work in the lab, the bone bed excavation site, molding and casting, and an exhibits walk/talk along with a mapping demonstration. The lab group will rotate its work in three major areas: bone preparation, molding and casting, and screen-picking bone bed sediments for small fauna, etc.

In addition, Olga Potapova and her assistants will take you on a behind-the-scenes exploration of the lab-specimen storage area. With our experts, you will practice excavation techniques as you piece together life in the Ice Age. Fossil finds may be actual portions of the animal, such as bones, teeth, and shells; imprints of tracks and trails; or maybe replaced by minerals such as silica, iron and manganese. Excavation continues in the previously opened areas of the site both in lateral and vertical dimensions.

Lunch: At the Mammoth Site, where you will meet staff members working behind the scenes.

Afternoon: Work continues with the excavation and lab work led by our experts. Work ends at the Mammoth Site at 4 p.m.

Dinner: Woolly’s Western Grill across the street from the hotel, 4-5:30 p.m.

Evening: Justin Wilkins presents a 6:30 p.m. lecture, “Geology of the Black Hills and Surrounding Areas.”

Lodging: USA Stay Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Property opened in 2004. Outdoor area with benches for relaxing and viewing the scenery and is within walking distance of Mammoth Site.

Contact info:
1401 Highway 18 Bypass
Hot Springs, SD 57747 USA
phone: 605-745-4411
web: www.stayusahotel.com

Room amenities: Coffee-maker, hair dryer, iron, Internet access, & TV.

Facility amenities: Expanded breakfast menu, hot tub, business center with Internet access, fitness room and elevator.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call hotel for current prices.
You must call the hotel directly for reservations @ 605-745-4411. Tell them you will be with South Dakota/Regional Traveling Studies group and ask if the Road Scholar rates are available for your dates.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, September 23 - Excavation or Lab work at Mammoth Site / Evening ...
Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Work continues at 8 a.m. with the excavation and lab work led by our experts.

Lunch: At the Mammoth Site, along with a short presentation about the history of the site.

Afternoon: Participants will continue to work in groups on the excavation and lab work that is led by our experts. Again, there will be a rotation in three major areas: bone preparation, molding and casting, and screen-picking bone bed sediments for small fauna, etc. Work ends at the site at 4 p.m.

Dinner: Group dinner at 5:30 p.m. in the hotel.

Evening: In the hotel, Dr. Larry Agenbroad enlightens the group with personal experiences, stories and slides relating to his trips to Siberia and the Jarkov Mammoth Project.

Lodging: USA Stay Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Property opened in 2004. Outdoor area with benches for relaxing and viewing the scenery and is within walking distance of Mammoth Site.

Contact info:
1401 Highway 18 Bypass
Hot Springs, SD 57747 USA
phone: 605-745-4411
web: www.stayusahotel.com

Room amenities: Coffee-maker, hair dryer, iron, Internet access, & TV.

Facility amenities: Expanded breakfast menu, hot tub, business center with Internet access, fitness room and elevator.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call hotel for current prices.
You must call the hotel directly for reservations @ 605-745-4411. Tell them you will be with South Dakota/Regional Traveling Studies group and ask if the Road Scholar rates are available for your dates.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, September 24 - Excavation or Lab work at Mammoth Site / Evening ...
Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Work continues at 8 a.m. with the excavation and lab work led by our experts.

Lunch: Enjoy your lunch during a noon presentation at the Mammoth Site. You will be working with Justin on a tooth molding-and-casting project.

Afternoon: Participants will continue to work in groups on the excavation and lab work that is led by our experts. Again, there will be a rotation in three major areas: bone preparation, molding and casting, and screen-picking bone bed sediments for small fauna, etc. Work ends at the site at 4 p.m.

Dinner: Wooly’s Western Grill across the street from hotel, 4-5:30 p.m.

Evening: Enjoy a 6:30 p.m. lecture by Justin Wilkins, "Mammal Teeth and Mesozoic Mammals."

Lodging: USA Stay Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Property opened in 2004. Outdoor area with benches for relaxing and viewing the scenery and is within walking distance of Mammoth Site.

Contact info:
1401 Highway 18 Bypass
Hot Springs, SD 57747 USA
phone: 605-745-4411
web: www.stayusahotel.com

Room amenities: Coffee-maker, hair dryer, iron, Internet access, & TV.

Facility amenities: Expanded breakfast menu, hot tub, business center with Internet access, fitness room and elevator.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call hotel for current prices.
You must call the hotel directly for reservations @ 605-745-4411. Tell them you will be with South Dakota/Regional Traveling Studies group and ask if the Road Scholar rates are available for your dates.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, September 25 - Excavation or Lab work at Mammoth Site / Evening ...
Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel.

Morning: Beginning at 8 a.m., participants will continue to work in groups on the excavation and lab work that is led by our experts. Also interact with other experienced workers and volunteers. Practice your excavation techniques as you help piece together life in the Ice Age. Fossil finds may be actual portions of the animal, such as bones, teeth, and shells; imprints of tracks and trails; or maybe replaced by minerals such as silica, iron and manganese.

Lunch: During lunch at the Mammoth Site, finish your tooth identification project with Justin.

Afternoon: Participants will continue to work in groups on the excavation and lab work that is led by our experts. Work ends at the Mammoth Site at 4 p.m.

Dinner: Woolly’s Western Grill across the street from hotel, 4-5:30 p.m.

Evening: At 6:30 p.m. in the hotel hospitality room, hear a final lecture by Justin Wilkins relating to current research of the "Arctodus Simus Skull" from the Mammoth Site, focusing on the Giant Short-faced Bear and potential implications for Pleistocene ecology. Enjoy a social time after the media lecture to say goodbye to new friends and fellow "Mammoth" workers.

Lodging: USA Stay Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: Property opened in 2004. Outdoor area with benches for relaxing and viewing the scenery and is within walking distance of Mammoth Site.

Contact info:
1401 Highway 18 Bypass
Hot Springs, SD 57747 USA
phone: 605-745-4411
web: www.stayusahotel.com

Room amenities: Coffee-maker, hair dryer, iron, Internet access, & TV.

Facility amenities: Expanded breakfast menu, hot tub, business center with Internet access, fitness room and elevator.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call hotel for current prices.
You must call the hotel directly for reservations @ 605-745-4411. Tell them you will be with South Dakota/Regional Traveling Studies group and ask if the Road Scholar rates are available for your dates.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Six: Friday, September 26 - Excursion to Custer State Park for the Buffalo Ro...
Excursion to Custer State Park for the Buffalo Roundup / Mount Rushmore / Crazy Horse Monument.

Note: Will be walking across grassy areas at the Buffalo Roundup, flat sidewalk surfaces at Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, optional walking trail with steps at Mount Rushmore.

Breakfast: Continental breakfast at hotel.

Morning: Depart the hotel very early in the morning to attend the annual Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup.

Enjoy a drive through Custer State Park’s 73,000 acres, one of the largest state parks in the nation. While driving the park’s Wildlife Loop, watch for mule and whitetail deer, antelope, “begging” burros, coyotes, wild turkeys, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and Golden Eagles. The State Game Lodge, located within the park, is a gracious stone-and-wood lodge built in 1920 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It served as the "Summer White House" for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and was visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953.

During the Buffalo Roundup, you will be sitting and standing on grassy areas. Your instructor will find the best observation place as park personnel and cowhands do their best to drive the buffalo into corrals in this first step to preparing part of the herd for the November Buffalo Auction. The annual roundup is conducted to keep the bison population in check with the available grassland forage. The revenues from the sale (about 450 animals) help support day-to-day operations of the park.

Bison facts: It is the largest land mammal in North America, can stand 6 feet at the shoulders, weigh over 2,000 pounds, clock speeds of 50 mph and easily push a one-ton opponent backwards. Buffalo paw the ground and raise their tail as a warning when angry. During a storm, buffalo face straight into the storm, whereas domestic livestock face away.

Lunch: Enjoy a BBQ lunch at the Buffalo Roundup Corral Tent.

Afternoon:

Afternoon: At 1 p.m., park staff begins branding the calves and checking the general health of all the bison, determining which will be sold and which kept. You can watch all this from a catwalk above the pens.

Travel to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

The majestic, 60-foot faces of four U.S. presidents gaze out over South Dakota’s Black Hills. From the Grandview Terrace, the views are spectacular of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Discover why the four presidents were selected, see how the mountain was carved and learn about sculptor Gutzon Borglum and workers who brought Mount Rushmore to life. Visit the interpretive center that explains how the mountain was carved, watch a short introduction film, find your state flag, and just enjoy the beauty of the area. If you can walk stairs, you may want to take a half-mile walk on the Presidential Trail.

Later, 15 miles from Mount Rushmore, see a fifth granite face that has emerged in the Black Hills. Crazy Horse is the largest sculptural undertaking ever, on a scale with the Egyptian pyramids. In 1939, Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear invited sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to carve an Indian memorial in the Black Hills. Though Korczak died in 1982, the sculptor’s family continues the non-profit project. It will be the largest mountain carving in the world when completed.

Dinner: Enjoy a Farewell Dinner and you say goodbye to fellow participants and share stories of your weeklong adventure in the Black Hills.

Lodging: USA Stay Hotel & Suites

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day Seven: Saturday, September 27 - Independent Departures
Depart From:

Breakfast: Continental breakfast in the hotel. The program concludes after breakfast. Hotel checkout by noon. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures and comments. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Hot Springs, SD
Hot SpringsThe following are a few of the unique locations and sites in the Hot Springs, SD area: The Mammoth Site; hot mineral water bath houses in city of Hot Springs; Evans Plunge-World's largest natural warm water indoor swimming pool; Wind Cave National Park is within a 15 minute drive north and the Wild Horse Sanctuary is located a few miles south of Hot Springs. Browse in the Antique Stores and Art Galleries in the downtown area or take the challenge of golfing on one of the area's finest 18 hole golf courses also located in Hot Springs. Call Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce for more information at 1-800-325-6991.
For additional information, visit: www.hotsprings-sd.com
State ParkDrive through Custer State Park and watch for herds of Bison, pronghorn antelope, deer, Bighorn Sheep and wild turkeys. Stop and take a look at the Game Lodge where President Coolidge and Grace stayed during the summer of 1927.
For additional information, visit: www.custerstatepark.com
Black Hills and Badlands Visitor's SiteVisitor's center located on the Eastern edge of Rapid City. Displays of the area and printed information is available (maps and brochures).
For additional information, visit: www.blackhillsbadlands.com
South Dakota Tourism DepartmentPhone: 605-773-3301 for general information about the entire state of South Dakota. A free South Dakota Vacation Guide can be mailed to you upon request.
For additional information, visit: www.travelsd.com

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
17 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
5 Field trips
10 Hands-on experiences

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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