Fun Things to Do in South Dakota

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You will find endless opportunities to bond with your kids in South Dakota.

Free Fun

If you are looking for free activities and events, Sioux Falls is the place to go. It has several festivals that are free of charge. For instance, there is no admissions charge to the annual Sioux Falls Regional Air Show (www.siouxfallsairshow.com), where your kids can watch the Blue Angels and other high-flying feats. The city also has two free music festivals: Life light (www.lifelight.org), a Christian music festival, and Jazz Fest (www.jazzfestsiouxfalls.com). For a local flavor, take the kids to the Corn Palace (www.cornpalace.org). Each year the giant corn mural is redesigned, and inside the building you can see pictures from past years and watch a video about its history.

Educational Fun

If your family still has younger children, you will want to visit the Children’s Museum of South Dakota (www.prairieplay.org), where they can play, explore, and create in safe, age-appropriate exhibits that encourage them to touch and feel. The museum is in Brookings. If you have older children or “tweens,” consider a trip to the South Dakota Discovery Center (www.sd-discovery.com) in Pierre. Here you can explore more mature science exhibits that are still hands-on in nature. The Museum of Wildlife, Science, and Industry (www.sdmuseum.org) in Webster is yet another option. Here your kids can see what frontier life was like while touring period buildings and seeing equipment and vehicles used at the time.

Environmental Fun

One of the most recognized environmental features of South Dakota is Badlands National Park (http://www.nps.gov/). Here you can see fossil beds and rugged geologic formations, and you just might see bison or bighorn sheep roaming wild. Plan your trip carefully, as it can be quite dry in the Badlands and you will want to ensure you have plenty of water for your kids. You can also take your kids to the cozy Bramble Park Zoo (www.brambleparkzoo.com) in Watertown to get close to over 150 species of animals. The larger Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History (www.gpzoo.org) in Sioux Falls is another popular option with over 1,000 animals, including many animals not normally seen in large city zoos.

Seasonal Fun

When Christmas comes, check the communities around yours for Christmas festivals which are popular throughout South Dakota. For instance, Custer hosts the Old Fashioned Christmas Festival the first weekend in December, which includes food, a festival of trees, live entertainment, and many children’s activities. For fall harvest fun, visit Edgemont in late September for their Fall Festival (http://www.edgemont-sd.com/)

Just for Mom Fun

When you hear the call to shop, head to the Empire Mall (www.theempiremall.com) in Sioux Falls, which has over 1.3 million square feet of retail space. If you prefer to relax with a massage or other spa treatments, visit the Red Rock River Resort Hotel and Spa (www.redrockriverresort.com) in Hot Springs.

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