Dead Guys | S.D. Camping Part Deux

More about our South Dakota Camping Adventures…

One of our favorite parenting techniques is duping kids (ours and others) into learning something through fun. Museums, parks, trails, sports events, the kitchen and especially camping trips are great ways to do this. For instance:

Our day in Deadwood included a tour of town, sparking discussion about what it must've been like back then.
The re-enactment of Wild Bill's final card game - "the first and last time he sat with his back to the door in a saloon."
Now we know why it's called "Dead Man's Hand."

Of course we had to help the children understand how to perch at a bar, order up and start a tab. Educational. Purely educational.

Matt fit in a little too well in Deadwood, liking the slot machines... We even won (why is it the person morally opposed to gambling made the spin that got us $225?)
Site of our winning streak

Deadwood is a pretty little town – View from the cemetery:

And views of the cemetery. I’ve always had a morbid fascination with Calamity Jane who, we learned, drank 1 quart of whiskey per day and died very young. Again, educational for the kids.

Calamity Jane’s grave — next to Wild Bill at her request
Casinos can be rather elegant places for the ladies - coming down the Grand Staircase at the Midnight Star
Caroline wondered why there was a sofa in the ladies room. So I explained how women swooned back in the 1870s (not to mention how some, like Calamity Jane, just needed a, um, rest...)
A look at some of our leaders
Downtown Rapid City has a collection of 40 life-size statues of U.S. Presidents. We met a few of these great leaders:

A peanut farmer (in my humble opinion, a lousy President, yet wonderful person who has done so much good in his time since his White House years.)



President Ford...
...and his dog. (Caroline just sees the world differently.)
My fav, Tom Jefferson. A writer and all, you know...
ART ALLEY - Apparently this alley downtown Rapid City was frequently decorated by artists, so they turned it into an art market. Cool way to embrace creativity.

Kids at Mount Rushmore

Of course one highlight was the monument at Mount Rushmore. Instead of the obligatory shots in front of the 4 men immortalized there, I’ll share this neat profile view of Mr. Washington that impressed the kids more because it was more unique:


Our visit to Crazy Horse started a great campfire discussion about Native Americans… Hopefully our kids’ kids have kids, so they are able to see this sculpture someday. Like my friend Mary says, when they finish it, you’ll be able to see it from the moon.

The best things begin with writing: Letter from Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear to Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski.
Admiring more of Korczak's creations...

South Dakota Camping FUN

Okay, enough of the blatant history education. On to some pure fun (with more subtle educational undertones…)

Bear Country USA was a thoroughly delightful experience. We highly recommend it.


We arrived in the grizzly area at lunchtime. “Stay in your cage,” the guidebook tells you. No problem following direction there, surrounded by dozens and dozens of bears headed for their lunch.
Reindeer on the moveThe baby bears were adorable; this little cub trying to get over a log had Caroline in stitches for hours afterwards.

Testing our balance

Greg and I have happy childhood memories of visiting Cosmos. Hopefully our kids do now, too. 

 Keystone: More Wild West

At the base of Mount Rushmore, Keystone is half old-west-tourist-town with a twist and half new-development. We liked the whole place.

All edu-tainment!

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