South Dakota

Encircle South Dakota: Your journey begins in the Black Hills to admire South Dakota’s two famous monuments chiseled from stone. After walking through Rapid City, follow Interstate 90 east with a must see of the Badlands and Wall. Then visit the capital city of Pierre before finishing in Aberdeen.

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1 Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer County in Black Hills, South Dakota

Some visions require persistence. The best example might be Crazy Horse Memorial in Custer County, South Dakota. The project was commissioned by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear. The sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, started carving the Indian warrior on a horse with an outstretched arm in 1948. Fifty years of hard work were needed to finish the face. After his death in 1982, his wife Ruth took control until she died in 2014. Now their children are heeding his advice of “Go slowly so you get it right.” There is no timeframe for completing this 560 foot monument in the Black Hills.

12151 Ave of the Chiefs, Crazy Horse, SD 57730
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2 Mount Rushmore Near Keystone, South Dakota, in the Black Hills

The cost of carving four, 60 foot president heads into Mount Rushmore from 1927 until 1941 was $10,000 shy of one million. This ambitious monument would have cost more if the original plans had been implemented to sculpture the bi-partisan foursome from the waist up. Susan B. Anthony almost joined this boys’ club. However, the congressional approval was overridden in 1937.

64 Presidential Trail, Keystone, SD 57751
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Mount Rushmore in Black Hills, South Dakota Composite of Five Photos

Five photos of Black Hills, South Dakota are: The granite of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills with the superimposed faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. These are photos from the life-size bronze statues of every U.S. president on 12 street intersections in downtown Rapid City. It is known as the “City of Presidents.”


3 Female Ewe Bighorn Sheep in Protective Stance at Black Hills, South Dakota

The Autobahn bighorn sheep in the South Dakota Black Hills were hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. Staring in the 1960s, the Rocky Mountain bighorn was introduced to Custer State Park. Now herds are roaming wild again. This female ewe took a protective stance over the nearby flock of juveniles and lambs. There was no ram present with their distinctive curled horns.

13329 U.S. 16A, Custer, SD 57730
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4 Rock Mounds and Brute Formations at Badlands Loop Byway, South Dakota

Millions of years of animal, climate and geological evolution are on dramatic display in the Badlands of South Dakota. The rocks tell the stories. There are spires, craters, pinnacles, buttes, canyons and mounds painted with bands of reds, oranges, grays, whites, yellows and purple. This fossil rich, 244,000 acres delights the senses at every turn. This incredible landscape is home to roaming bison, deer, coyotes and herds of pronghorns. They are similar to antelopes. Wow, what a spectacular view Mother Nature has created.

Pinnacles Overlook, Badlands National Park, SD-240, Wall, SD 57790
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5 Annie Oakley on Bench with Cigar and Cards at Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota

“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” This might have been the motto of a traveling-show marksman named Frank Butler. He lost a high-stakes shooting contest to 15 year-old Phoebe Ann Mosey in 1875. He married the future Annie Oakley the following year. They went on to fame in the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. She continued setting shooting records until her death at 66. This hand-carved, cedar sculpture of Annie sitting on a bench with playing cards and smoking a cigar is in the equally iconic Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota.

510 Main St, Wall, SD 57790
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6 South Dakota State Capitol Building in Pierre, South Dakota

South Dakota was inhabited by the Sioux Indians plus French and European settlers before the Lewis and Clark exploration in 1804. It then became part of the Dakota Territory in 1861 and the 40th state on November 2, 1889. 21 years later, the state capitol was finished in Pierre. It closely resembles Montana’s capitol with a granite and limestone base, Corinthian columns and a copper dome.

500 E Capitol Ave, Pierre, SD 57501
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7 South Dakota Capitol Rotunda Dome in Pierre, South Dakota

The eye travels 96 feet from the glass and tile rotunda floor to the top of the South Dakota Capitol dome in Pierre. Edward Simmons painted four pendentives (dome arches) like he had for the Minnesota Capitol five years before. The south one in the upper left is called “Motherhood.” The other shows goddess Minerva as “Wisdom, Industry and Mining.” The next stop is a band of ribbons symbolizing government’s eternity. Next are 16 painted alcoves followed by rectangular openings and Victorian stained glass all in a hub and spoke design. It is gorgeous!

500 E Capitol Ave, Pierre, SD 57501
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Strutting Gold Campine Chicken in Pierre, South Dakota

Belgium is the origin for two, nearly identical breeds of chicken: the braekel and the campine. The former is rare. However, this gold campine hen is a good producer of white eggs and is frequently raised for shows. The gold neck and head gives this five-pound chicken a distinguished look as it strutted around a farm near Pierre, South Dakota.


8 Pheasants and Deere Tractor at Storybook Land in Aberdeen, South Dakota

Storybook Land in Aberdeen, South Dakota recreates almost every nursery rhyme you remember as a kid. You will enjoy seeing 65 figures such as Jack n’ Jill, Humpty Dumpty and Goldilocks. Also in the 210 acres at Wylie Park is a step-by-step trail that tells the Wizard of Oz story. Best of all, admission is free. Come follow the yellow brick road.

Storybook Land, 2300 24th Ave NW, Aberdeen, SD 57401
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