South Dakota

Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse & the Badlands With Your Grandchild

Enjoy a classic American adventure with your grandchild as you visit the epic monuments of the Black Hills, ride horses, dig for fossils, pan for gold, look for buffalo and much more!
Rating (5)
Program No. 15968RSBLOG
6 days
Starts at
1,399 / ADULT
849 / CHILD

At a Glance

Did you know that most of the 400 men who carved out the presidential faces of Mount Rushmore were miners who came to the Black Hills looking for gold? Did you know that they used dynamite and jackhammers to carve the faces? And did you know that they had a pretty good amateur baseball team? Learn all about the history and significance of Mount Rushmore and the massive Crazy Horse Memorial on a trip with your grandkid to South Dakota! Go horseback riding, splash in a historic warm water spring, visit a mammoth sink hole and learn how to pan for gold. And at the end of a day of adventure, share stories around an open fire while you learn, laugh and create memories for both generations.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2 miles on uneven, hilly terrain. Optional 1-hour horseback trail ride. Ability to sit on wheeled sled with self-regulating speed. Walking through museums with seating available. The ability to get on and off a motor coach. Some standing during interpretive lessons. Elevations up to 5,200 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Take a chair lift up to a ridge for a special view of Mount Rushmore and feel the wind in your hair as you zip back down on the Alpine slide!
  • Saddle up for a Western trail ride, and discover ancient fossils and lunar-like deposits in the Badlands.
  • Experience Custer State Park’s “wildlife loop” in search of buffalo, pronghorns, begging burrows and big horn sheep.

General Notes

Program is for grandchildren ages 8-11 or 11-13, depending on the date. For a comparable family adventure for all generations, check out "Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse & the Badlands With Your Family" (#4752).
Featured Expert
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Robert Gerald Yellowhawk
Robert Gerald Yellowhawk is a native South Dakotan, born in Rapid City. His goal as a youth was to graduate from high school, and now he is a sophomore at Oglala Lakota College in Rapid City, majoring in business administration. A participant as a sixth-grader in the Ateyapi Program, he is now a fulltime mentor helping youths understand traditional Native American dance, values, regalia, ceremonies and the Lakota language. Robert worked two summers at Crazy Horse Memorial.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Erin Woods
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Robert Gerald Yellowhawk
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Donna Fisher
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
A Boy Called Slow
by Joseph Bruchoc
Joseph Bruchac presents a wonderful children’s book about the life of the great Sioux chief Sitting Bull.The historical Indian tale reassures young boys that success comes through effort and not through birth. Wonderfully told and illustrated in true storybook style.
A Wilder in the West
by William Anderson
One woman’s valiant account of homesteading alone on the prairies near DeSmet, Dakota Territory in the 1880’s. Another wonderful book by William Anderson in his “Laura Ingalls Wilder Family Series.”
The Carving of Mount Rushmore
by Rex Alan Smith
This entertaining and very readable book tells the fascinating stories of the people of Mt. Rushmore. Included are first person accounts of not only the carvers, the politicians and Borglum, but an almost unbelievable host of others who became part of the tumult and triumph that make this history read like a novel. If you’re only going to read one book about Rushmore, this is the one.
Who Carved the Mountain? The Story of Mount Rushmore
by Jean L.S. Patrick
Honorable Mention in the 2006 Independent Publisher Awards in Children’s Books (7 & over). Using historical facts and rollicking rhythm, author Jean L.S. Patrick reveals how and why George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were chosen. Rich illustrations by Renée Graef make the unique history of Mount Rushmore come alive for children.
Moon of Popping Trees
by Rex Alan Smith
The Massacre at Wounded Knee was the last major battle between whites and Native Americans.With parallels to concerns some have of today’s news reports, you’ll see that this massacre was largely a result of overblown news reports of the danger of the Native American Ghost Dance. Even more startling is the revelation in this book that the Ghost Dance had its origin in the Christian resurrection story. This book spans fifty years of the life and struggles of Native Americans as they try to maintain their lifestyle in the face of America’s westward expansion.
Pioneer Days in the Black Hills
by John S. McClintock
A rough-and-tumble account of the early days of Deadwood and the Dakota Territory written by early day pioneer John S.McClintock. He provides material on the gold rush, skirmishes with Indians, exploits of road agents and outlaws, and appearances of celebrities such as Wild Bill Hickok and Deadwood Dick.

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