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Another critique my plans . . . please.

Denton
Level Contributor
356 posts
222 reviews
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Another critique my plans . . . please.

I'm getting a lot of great info as you all answer various questions. Can I jump in? We are bringing 2 of our grandkids (girl, boy, 10) to SD. Here's what I have so far . . .

Day 1, Jewel Cave, Crazy Horse, Sylvan Lake, Needles Hwy.

Day 2, Custer SP, Wildlife Loop, Iron Mt. Rd.; Keystone: Big Time Pizza, Alpine Slide, Big Thunder Gold Mine, Mt. Rushmore.

Day 3, Rapid City: Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, Cosmos Mystery Area, Ft. Hays Chuckwagon dinner.

We can take 2 more days, what should we add or redistribute?

Thanks in advance,

Sandy (in Denton)

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5,812 posts
61 reviews
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1. Re: Another critique my plans . . . please.

Hi Sandy,

Day 1 looks fine, but days 2 and3 have the potential to be a bit busy, depending on how much time you want to spend at each place. For instance, I don't know how many stops you will make on the Wildlife Loop (sometimes we never know, for a "wildlife" jam is always possible). Also, on day 3, I don't know how much time you plan to spend in Rapid City itself. My personal opinion would be to see how the day flows on day 2, possibly omitting Big Thunder's tour. If the kids want to pan, they could do that without doing the tour. We toured Big Thunder when our daughter was 8, and at that time, she described it as "lame." Of course, your grandkids may feel totally different.

On Day 3, I"d be prepared to cut down on actual Rapid City time for Bear Country and Reptile Gardens. I'd allow around 2.5-3 hours for Reptile Gardens and about 2 hours for Bear Country. I haven't done the Cosmos yet, but I think the guided tour lasts about an hour. With an early start, I think you could probably accomplish most of what you have planned by not spending time in Rapid.

I'd recommend adding the 2 days and focusing on the Badlands for a day, along with Wall Drug and maybe even the Minuteman Missile Site. On the 2nd day, you could take a daytrip to Devil's Tower and Spearfish Canyon. If one of these plans doesn't appeal to you, another option might be to head to Wind Cave and the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs. If the kids are interested in an actual fossil dig, they can participate in the Jr Paleontologist program at the site. Advance reservations are a must. Also nearby is the Wild Horse Sanctuary where you can up close to the wild mustangs. Unfortunately, tours are pricey, but they are small and pretty personalized. Plan on spending around 3 hours there if you decide to go.

If you haven't done so already, be sure to order a travel planner from travelsd.com for a great feel of the area.

Let us know if you have additional questions.

Denton
Level Contributor
356 posts
222 reviews
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2. Re: Another critique my plans . . . please.

This is exactly the kind of info that is so valuable! Thank you! Yes, I ordered the travel planner a couple of months ago and it is helpful. We know what we want to see/do, just don't know how long they take. Now we have a better idea.

We are not doing anything in Rapid City, that is just where we think the sites are so maybe day 3 is ok. If the kids are not worn out, we will follow your suggestions for days 4 and 5.

Thank you again!

Sandy (in Denton)

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5,812 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Another critique my plans . . . please.

Yes, since you are not planning on doing anything in Rapid City proper, I think you might be able to fit it all in. I'd save the Cosmos for last just in case time runs short.

I know this sounds crazy, but one of my favorite attractions at the Reptile Gardens was the chicken who plays tic tac toe with visitors. Not sure if he/she is still there, but that was a lot of fun. The chicken never loses...

4. Re: Another critique my plans . . . please.

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