Activity note: Lodge check-in available from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration. 4:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. All lectures and field trips will be led by local experts and expert Group Leaders. Unless otherwise specified, transportation will be provided via motorcoach requiring going up/down a few steps when getting on/off. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time” and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: In the dining facility at the Lodge, enjoy a buffet with salad, entrée and dessert, plus coffee, tea, or water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Getting on/off horses; trail ride is about 1 hour; long pants and boots or tennis shoes are required for horseback riding; a riding helmet will be supplied. Driving approximately 110 miles; about 3 hours with frequent stops. Walking approx. ½ mile.
Breakfast: In the Lodge dining facility, enjoy a breakfast buffet with hot and cold cereals, waffles with fruit topping, hard-boiled eggs, rotating main dishes, pastries, bagels, yogurt, fruit, coffee, tea, milk and an assortment of juices.
Morning: We’ll kick off our week of adventure with a morning field trip, led by our expert Group Leader, to Custer State Park where we'll stop at the Visitor Center to get a close up look at the Park's history, mysteries, landscapes and wildlife that combine to create this diverse and beautiful park. General Custer's expedition discovered gold here in 1874, and that began the rush of settlers to the Black Hills. Next we'll take what we've learned and travel the Wildlife Loop road via motorcoach in search of buffalo, wild burrows, prairie dogs, elk, white tail deer and more. At the end of the loop, we’ll put on our cowboy hats for a fun filled trail ride on horseback led by experienced wranglers.
Lunch: At the popular restaurant in Custer State Park, we’ll enjoy plated meal with water and iced tea included; other beverages are available for purchase.
Afternoon: In an effort to honor the rich heritage and traditions of Native Americans, Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear set out to carve a mountain just south of Mount Rushmore that began in 1948. Today, the Crazy Horse Memorial campus offers visitors breathtaking views of the ongoing carving from its viewing veranda. Upon arrival, our Group Leader will provide an overview about Crazy Horse, its campus that serves as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts, and crafts and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center. Also while here, each grandchild will partake in a Pouch activity during which each will make a leather pouch to keep. This type of pouch might have been used to carry flint. This activity will be led by expert Crazy Horse staff. We’ll then return to the Lodge.
Dinner: Lodge buffet.
Evening: At the Lodge, we’ll learn about the scaling and creation of Mount Rushmore through a fun and interactive hands-on activity. We will learn how Borglum made small scale models to him plan how to create the much larger Mount Rushmore carving and draw a scaled picture of the sculpture.
Activity note: Walking about ½ mile over the course of the day; indoors and out along groomed paths; standing up to 1 hour at a time in museums and outdoors; some stairs. Driving approx. 55 miles; about 1 hour total.
Breakfast: Lodge buffet.
Morning: Led by our expert Group Leader, we’ll explore the United States’ Shrine of Democracy – Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum, the creator of Mount Rushmore, wrote: “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.” Borglum intended his monumental sculpture to be not only a memorial to four of our greatest Presidents, but a Shrine to Democracy. Why these four? Washington led the nascent United States to win independence from Great Britain. Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence. Roosevelt the “trust buster” ensured the rights of working people and was instrumental in building the Panama Canal. Lincoln led the country through the Civil War. Borglum began work in 1927 and continued until his death in 1941, when his son, Lincoln Borglum, took it on and ended work later that year. If you wish, feel free to expand your exploration of Mount Rushmore with an independent 1/2 mile walk on the Presidential Trail to Borglum’s studio. Interpretive signage along the way will illuminate more about the monument, its construction, and the artist whose vision produced one of America’s most iconic symbols. Next, we’ll discover Mount Rushmore from a different angle as we ride a chair lift up to the top of an adjacent ridge. Enjoy the view as well as the ride back down on the lift or feel the wind in your hair as you ride the alpine slide, at your own desired pace, back down the hill. Either way back down the hill is included in the program.
Lunch: Back at the lodge, we’ll have a buffet of soups or salads and sandwiches with coffee, tea and water included.
Afternoon: We’ll then travel to the Journey Museum where we will learn from the museum’s educational staff about the importance and hardships of Dakota’s early settlers and pioneers through a hands-on activity. We’ll then return to the lodge.
Dinner: Lodge buffet.
Evening: Afterwards, we’ll enjoy some time as a group around a campfire before returning to Mount Rushmore later on for the Lighting Ceremony – a patriotic program presented in the open, outdoor auditorium.
Activity note: Walking about ½ mile throughout the day; outdoors along board walks and groomed paths. Driving approx. 200 miles roundtrip; about 4 hours total with several stops.
Breakfast: Lodge buffet.
Morning: Under the expert guidance of our Group Leader during our day at Badlands National park we’ll discover a land of extremes and learn how a once subtropical paradise, complete with exotic sea creatures and dinosaurs, evolved into the desolate Badlands of today. At first glance this moon-like terrain may seem inhospitable but, look closely and you'll discover the secrets of life that lie with-in. We’ll stop at several different locations in the Park to explore. We’ll then continue to Wall, South Dakota.
Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Wall. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Afternoon: We’ll then continue to Keystone and, in order to obtain a new appreciation for the miners who blazed the trail of gold discovery decades before, everyone will try our hands at panning for gold, minerals and special gem stones that will give us the feeling of a genuine mining experience.
Dinner: Lodge buffet.
Evening: At the hotel, tonight's expert instructor will captivate us with oral stories and traditional Native American dance.
Activity note: Remember to pack your swimming suit and towel for today's swimming activity. Standing and walking indoors up to one hour. Coach time one hour to Mammoth Site with expert interpretation and beautiful scenery along the way.
Breakfast: Lodge buffet.
Morning: We'll start out the day by traveling to Hot Springs South Dakota where we'll enjoy an expert-led visit to an active paleontological dig site, which boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world! We'll travel back in time when Ice Age mammoths, camels, and giant short-faced bears roamed the Great Plains of North America. More than 26,000 years ago a sinkhole suddenly collapsed and the warm spring percolating from the bottom filled it in to create an ideal watering hole for animals to quench their thirst. Unfortunately the sinkhole proved to be too slippery and steep for the animals to retreat, thus creating a death trap for large Columbian and Woolly Mammoths. We’ll investigate this historic event by visiting the world's largest Columbian Mammoth exhibit and research center for Pleistocene studies. By going behind the scenes of the Mammoth Site Laboratory with the museum's collector and curator, we’ll learn more about specific bones, fossils and stories behind the Mammoths’ demise. While here, we’ll also get to become Junior Paleontologists as we help dig for signs of prehistoric life.
Lunch: At a popular restaurant next to the Mammoth Site, enjoy a sandwich with coffee, tea and water included; other beverages are available for purchase.
Afternoon: Our next stop will be to the natural warm springs of Evans Plunge where we’ll spend a refreshing, fun-filled afternoon in the world's largest indoor, naturally warm, rejuvenating mineral water pool at a constant temperature of 87 degrees F. This sparkling water flows from an enormous thermal spring and even supports water slides to add a little thrill for those young at heart!
Dinner: At the lodge, we’ll enjoy a casual final buffet dinner together. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.
Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: Lodge buffet. This concludes our program.
Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best Wishes for all your journeys!