Experience the Black Hills
All units attending Medicine Mountain have Wednesday off to explore the sights and sounds of the Black Hills. Want to explore more? Check out our Expedition: Black Hills programs for three or five-daye day adventures.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a large-scale mountain sculpture by artist Gutzon Borglum. The figures of America’s most prominent U.S. presidents–George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt—represent 150 years of American history.
Each year, approximately three million tourists from all over the world visit Mount Rushmore to experience this patriotic site. Today, the wonder of the mountain reverberates through every visitor. The four “great faces” of the presidents tower 5,725 feet above sea level and are scaled to men who would stand 465 feet tall.
Crazy Horse Memorial
A mythic warrior, a famed artist, his family and a canvas composed of granite are the elements that comprise the legendary past, present, and future of the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began the world’s largest mountain carving in 1948. Members of his family and their supporters are continuing his artistic intent to create a massive statue that will be 641 feet long and 563 feet high. To give that some perspective, the heads at Mount Rushmore National Memorial are each 60 feet high. Workers completed the carved 87½-foot-tall Crazy Horse face in 1998, and have since focused on thinning the remaining mountain to form the 219-foot-high horse’s head.
The Badlands National Park
The Lakota gave this land its name, “Mako Sica,” meaning “land bad.” Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles, and spires blended with the largest protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. It is desolation at its truest, where you can look for miles and see no sign of civilization.
Badlands National Park also preserves the world’s greatest fossil beds of animals from the Oligocene Epoch of the Age of Mammals. The skeletons of ancient camels, three-toed horses, saber-toothed cats and giant rhinoceros-like creatures are among the many fossilized species found here. All fossils, rocks, plants, and animals are protected and must remain where you find them. Prehistoric bones are still being uncovered today by park officials.
Wind Cave National Park
Over many years of exploration and mapping, Wind Cave has grown to be one of the world’s largest known caves. Currently, over 142.75 miles of passages have been mapped making it the third longest cave in the U.S. and the sixth longest cave in the world. Wind Cave has few stalactites and stalagmites, but many unusual formations and a variety of minerals are found in the cave. The cave is well known for its outstanding display of boxwork, an unusual cave formation composed of thin calcite fins resembling honeycombs.
Along with this massive cave, Wind Cave National Park also features 28,295 acres of mixed-grass prairie, Ponderosa pine forest, and wildlife. The park’s mixed-grass prairie is one of the few remaining and is home to native wildlife such as bison, elk, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes and prairie dogs.