This is a representative schedule; the order of the elements each day will vary by group. Driving approximately 120 miles total; about 1 hour in the morning and 1.5 hours in the afternoon. Walking up to 1/2 mile indoors and out; groomed paths; standing up to 1 hour at a time in museums and historic buildings, some stairs.
At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast buffet including choices like fresh fruit, an egg dish, assorted breakfast pastries, breads, meats, and potatoes, hot and cold cereals with toppings, plus a variety of juices, milk, coffee, tea, water.
We'll begin the week of exploration by discovering the Black Hills and the surrounding area's rich Native American history and culture. Along the way, we’ll have expert interpretation amid the beautiful scenery. Our first stop will be at The High Plains Western Heritage Center for an expert-led field trip where we will see this Five-State Regional Museum which was founded as a way to honor pioneers of the Old West and their exploration of places like North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. The gallery space of over 20,000 square feet contains an impressive collection of Western art, artifacts, memorabilia, a turn-of-the-century kitchen, a saddle shop, and a blacksmith shop. In addition, the center also houses an original Spearfish to Deadwood Stagecoach and exhibits dedicated to the old forestry, mining, ranching and rodeo enterprises. Outside exhibits include a pasture of longhorn cattle, a furnished log cabin, a rural schoolhouse and antique farm equipment. After our exploration through this representation of an early western settlement in South Dakota, we'll move on to the theater for a presentation given by a local expert impersonator on one of South Dakota's early pioneers.
At the Heritage Center, we’ll have a buffet meal with an entrée, sides, dessert, and a non-alcoholic beverage.
Lead (pronounced LEED), sister city of historic Deadwood, has played a pivotal role in the history of the Black Hills. Home to the Homestake Gold Mine, the streets of Lead tell a tale as rich as the gold mined from its hills. The Homestake Gold Mine was one of the early enterprises associated with the Gold Rush of 1876. The mining of gold from Homestake ceased several years ago due to low gold prices but has begun a new life serving as a laboratory 4,850 feet underground. The lab is working towards a revolution in physics by studying neutrinos. We’ll meet and hear from the Deputy Director for Education and Outreach for Sanford Underground Research Facility. While in Lead we’ll also take the opportunity to visit the Homestake Opera House and go on an expert-led exploration. This incredible building was constructed in 1914 by the Homestake Mining Company for its employees. It boasted a theater that sat 1,000 people and housed a heated indoor swimming pool, billiard hall, library, bowling alley, a smoking room, social hall and more. This building was the heart of the mining town of Lead and the social and cultural heart of the northern Black Hills for 70 years. But in 1984, the theater portion of the building was nearly destroyed by fire and it sat empty for many years. Since then it has been purchased and a non-profit formed to ensure its full restoration. We’ll then return to the hotel.
We’ll be joined in a designated ballroom at the hotel by a local expert who will teach us more about the natural and human history of the Black Hills and the surrounding area.