Monday, August 11, 2014

The Great American Road Trip: Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Ah - Mount Rushmore!  It's another one of those places that you have to see!  Especially when you are going to be near it - like my family and I were for our Great American Road Trip.

Before our visit to Mount Rushmore we read some age appropriate tales about the monument.  It was amazing to realize how much we knew before we even got there!

Some of the books we read.
We stayed in Keystone, SD the night before our visit.  It is right outside of the memorial entrance.  My hope was to get to Mount Rushmore right when it opened so we could avoid huge crowds.  I thought Keystone was going to have a few motels out in the middle of nowhere.  It's actually a neat town in the base of the Black Hills.  There weren't many "chain food" places which added to the unique character of the tourist town.

I noticed this "thing" as we traveled through town.  I'm not sure of the official name or cost but you can take a ski lift up to the top of the hill.  There appears to be a deck at the top of the hill where you can get a great look at Mount Rushmore.

Hard to see in this picture but the deck is near the top right corner of this picture.

There is a fee to get into the park but the pass you receive is good to return as many times as you would like in the next year (if you have the opportunity to).  I was not able to use my national park pass for this park...

Interesting to see the before and after of the hill.

We parked in the Lincoln Parking Ramp.  There were a few people there already but we did get a parking spot near the entrance.  However, I think that was because not many people wanted to park in the sun so they parked on lower levels.

Headed to the monument from the parking ramp.

There were many ranger guided tour options.

The columns leading to the monument all have these on them.  One for each state.

There is a great path that takes you closer to the monument.  It's not that long and very easy to walk.

There are some steps but really only in two main areas.
This area is right outside of a small museum and gift shop.

Getting to know the presidents:

George Washington

Abraham Lincoln

Thomas Jefferson

Theodore Roosevelt

Part of the museum on the trail.  This was the model for the project.
Eventually they realized the project was going to be very hard to complete so it was decided to just focus on the heads by not including the bust.
Worth mentioning:  There is a lot to see, many shopping options and restrooms throughout the park.  The food...  There are soooo many options!!!  It's all in one large building that is split up into sections with a variety of meal types.  I can't say that I have seen another like it at the other national parks I have been too.

Other area attractions to consider (I was not able to visit these):

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