Getting on/off a motorcoach with several steps up/down; driving approximately 4 hours. Walking up to 2 miles; sidewalks, mostly even ground, slight inclines, boardwalks, 170+ steps on elective 1/2 mile Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore.
In the hotel, the self-serve breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, cereals, fruit, toast, pastries, milk, juices, coffee, tea.
We will be joined at the hotel by a local geologist who will give us a "rock talk" lecture on areas we will explore. Next, we will board a motorcoach for our field trip to iconic sites. At the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the majestic 60-foot faces of four U.S. presidents gaze out over South Dakota's Black Hills. Recognized worldwide, they stand as a symbol of American democracy. This national treasure tells the story of the United States' rich history, rugged determination, and lasting achievement. From the Grandview Terrace, the views of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are spectacular. We'll learn why these four presidents were selected, see how the mountain was carved, and learn about sculptor Gutzon Borglum and the workers who brought Mount Rushmore to life. There will be opportunities to walk the half-mile Presidential Trail that loops along the base of the mountain and to learn more about history and see videos at the Information Center. We'll then ride to the Crazy Horse Memorial, where a fifth granite face has emerged in the Black Hills. 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 nonprofit project where the colossal mountain carving is now in progress. Crazy Horse is the largest sculptural undertaking ever, on a scale with the Egyptian pyramids. When completed, it will tower 563 feet high and 641 feet long. A geologist will give us a presentation on its history. We'll also have an expert-led exploration of the complex with some time to have a look around on our own. From there, we'll drive to Hot Springs for lunch.
At a popular restaurant in Hot Springs, we'll have a buffet meal with soup, sandwich, dessert, and beverage choices of coffee, iced tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
For our next field trip, we'll ride to the Mammoth Site Museum in Hot Springs and explore with a museum expert. This 36,000 square foot site is a one-of-a-kind "in situ" (in the original place) Ice Age museum containing the largest concentration of Columbian and Woolly Mammoths found in their primary context in the world. We will get a close up view of the 26,000-year-old sinkhole where mammoths, bears, mountain lions, and wolves once walked. The Exhibit Hall features fascinating exhibits including a full-sized Columbian mammoth replica, a walk-in bone shelter, and skeletons of now-extinct carnivores such as a giant short-faced bear. We'll also get a glimpse of scientific work being conducted in the state of the art lab. The Mammoth Site has been featured on the CBS and NBC evening newscasts, the Discovery Channel, the Today Show, BBC Television programs, and in many magazines including National Geographic. The site has co-hosted international symposiums and conferences, as well as published scientific Quaternary research books. En route back to the hotel, we'll take a scenic drive through a portion of Custer State Park that covers 71,000 acres, making it one of the largest state parks in the nation. We'll be on the lookout for some of the wildlife that may be resident here such as bison, pronghorn antelope, mule and whitetail deer, burros, coyotes, wild turkeys, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and golden eagles. Our Group Leader will provide commentary as we ride.
In our designated private hotel meeting/dining room, we'll have a buffet dinner with main dish, salad, vegetable, dessert, and beverage choices of coffee/decaf, iced tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
At leisure. You might like to use the fitness center, take a dip in the indoor swimming pool, soak in the hot tub, spend time with fellow Road Scholars, or just relax.