Getting on/off horses; trail ride is about 1 hour; long pants and boots or tennis shoes required for horseback riding; riding helmets will be supplied. Driving approximately 110 miles; about 3 hours with frequent stops. Walking approx. 1/2 mile.
In one of the Lodge dining rooms, have a great breakfast and choose what you like from the buffet with rotating main dishes, hot and cold cereals, waffles with fruit topping, hard-boiled eggs, pastries, bagels, yogurt, fruit, milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.
We’ll kick off our Black Hills adventure with a field trip to Custer State Park led by our expert Group Leader. The park covers more than 71,000 acres full of mountains, plains, forests, and wildlife — one of the Top 10 places for wildlife in the world! — and was sacred to Native American people. Especially for kids: We'll stop first at the Visitor Center and explore interactive exhibits to learn about the Park's history, mysteries, landscapes, and wildlife. Next, we'll hop back on the motorcoach and ride along Wildlife Loop road to look for wild bison (buffalo), burros, prairie dogs, elk, white tail deer, and more. Especially for kids: At the end of the loop, we’ll put on cowboy hats and ride horses on a trail with experienced wranglers.
At the popular restaurant in Custer State Park, we’ll have a plated lunch including iced tea and water; other beverages are available for purchase.
Mount Rushmore, with its majestic figures of four Presidents, is an American treasure. But there’s an even bigger monument being created less than 20 miles away. This monumental project uses the image of Crazy Horse — legendary Lakota warrior and leader — to symbolize the culture, traditions, and living heritage of North American Indians. Work started in 1948 and when it’s finished, the Crazy Horse Memorial will be the largest mountain carving in the world. We’ll ride to the Memorial to learn all about it and explore the Native American Educational & Cultural center there. We’ll have breathtaking views of the carving and surrounding landscape, see pictures of Native Americans from long ago, and an exhibit carved out of rock that tells the story of the bison (buffalo) and how important they were. Especially for kids: We’ll make leather pouches just like Native Americans had they might have used to carry flint for starting a fire. Crazy Horse staff will show us how it’s done and we’ll get to keep our pouches and take them home. We’ll then return to the Lodge.
Especially for kids: At the Lodge, we’ll have a fun, hands-on activity to set the stage for our Mount Rushmore field trip tomorrow. We’ll see how sculptor Gutzon Borglum made small scale models to plan how he would blast and carve huge images out of the mountain. We’ll learn how the work was done and draw a picture of Mount Rushmore.