6 for Summer '16
From prairie blossoms to baby hatchlings, hot donuts to snow cones, my routine is all about appreciating the little things in life. That’s why Summer 2016 presents such a great opportunity to think beyond my comfort zone and experience the power of big possibilities. With the National Park Service Centennial and the 75th Anniversary of the Completion of Mount Rushmore taking center stage in Rapid City, there’s no better time or place to come face-to-four-faces with transformative ideas. Here are some ways to expand our horizons this summer.
1. Share headspace with the visionary.
What gives a guy the notion that he can turn the rocky side of a mountain into a national treasure? The Journey Museum & Learning Center explores how sculptor Gutzon Borglum, his son Lincoln and a host of dedicated workers did just that in The Journey to Mount Rushmore exhibit opening in July.
2. See what a little moonlight can do.
As soon as you drive up to Mount Rushmore, spying those famous faces creates a thrill that’s revisited throughout the day – through the cavalcade of state flags, from the observation deck, from the trail that winds through the park. But when darkness falls and the lighting ceremony begins? That’s Mount Rushmore at its most inspiring moment. Just remember to share the experience – when you use #MyRushmore on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, you’ll have a chance to win Rapid City and Mount Rushmore gear!
3. Find yourself in a cave.
Dark mysteries have a way of showing us what we’re made of. The cool depths of the third longest cave in the world are calling my name this summer, or maybe it’s the sparkling calcite crystals mesmerizing me. Jewel Cave National Monument is a great place to check out what the National Park Service is celebrating this year – preservation of some of the world’s last frontiers.
4. Celebrate our national parks – Downtown style.
You read that right – Downtown Rapid City brings outdoor exhibitors, park rangers, entertainment and more to Main Street Square for the Find Your Park Festival on August 20. It’s a great way to plan a visit to area parks, including Mount Rushmore, the Outdoor Campus and more.
5. Go on a zebra hunt at one of the oldest parks in the nation.
Hunt for zebra rock formations, that is, underground at Wind Cave National Park – along with the frostwork, popcorn and rare boxwork features that make this cave experience such a mind-bender. Above ground, I’ll be on the lookout for bison, elk and prairie dogs.
6. Drive to the limit – then get out and go further.
Cruising the Badlands Loop is one of my favorite ways to take in the astounding beauty of Badlands National Park – but the vast and strange rock formations seem to have some kind of magnetic appeal that makes being IN the Badlands a must. Hiking trails range from an easy walk on the fossil exhibit trail to a strenuous climb up the Badlands Wall. No matter which route you take, you’ll get a sense of the sacred beauty that early Lakota tribes experienced here. Out here where light pollution is almost non-existent, the wonder grows as the sun goes down – you’ll never look up the same way after a ranger-led night sky program.