Caves, Zombies, Ziplines and Mountain Coasters
There are hidden gems all over the Black Hills. One that I always heard about, since I grew up in the area, was Rushmore Cave, now known as Rush Mountain Adventure Park: Home of Rushmore Cave. I was intrigued as a child by the brightly colored billboards but I didn’t actually get to experience it until recently. When I was little it was just a cave but now it is a full on adventure experience!
I love geology and studying rock formations, a passion I inherited from my dad, so going to a cave always makes me a little excited but Rushmore Cave is just one aspect of Rush Mountain. When we got there, we were given attraction and cave tour tickets. We had a little bit of time before the cave tour started so we headed down to play the attractions.
The very first thing we did was the 7 D Gunslinger. This ride is different than your regular shoot’em up game. It actually immerses you into the experience. When we walked into the room it felt like a movie theater, I had no idea what to expect and zombies scare me. When it started, I felt like I was in an actual episode of the Walking Dead. I had so much fun because it made me feel like I was actually shooting zombies, evil robots and aliens. Your chair moves, which makes this ride a little bumpy so make sure you buckle up! Since I am admittedly terrible at video games I did not expect to have very high scores but I didn’t come in last place every time and I had a blast!
After the thrilling experience of the gunslinger, we still had time before our cave tour so we headed over to the Flying Eagle Zip line. PRO TIP, if you wear glasses or have shoes that could easily slip off I’d advise taking them off. The ride is kind of relaxing but you should still let out a scream just for fun! Once we got to the bottom we zipped back to the top and laughed about how fun the ride was. When we got back to the gift shop there were photos. It is your standard attraction photo and I looked kind of goofy but It was so fun to see ourselves having so much fun on the ride!
Once we all rode the zip line, we were ready to go on our cave tour. There were two options for the tour, one where we could actually go spelunking and a standard one where we could see the biggest parts of the cave. Since there were a lot of us we just did the standard tour. It was amazing to walk through the cave and learn about the earliest adventurers and the history behind the cave. The biggest lesson that we learned was that cave preservation is important. Since early explorers didn’t know it took thousands of years for the unique aspects of the cave to grow they touched and broke a lot of the ancient formations. It has affected the future beauty of the cave but from now on the cave is being preserved for future generations to enjoy it.
My Favorite room in the cave was the Big Room. I was trailing behind the group so I was the last one to get there because I was busy taking pictures of everything else. Ross, one of the owners, told me “if you like that you’re going to love it when you walk around the corner.” He was right! I looked up and all of a sudden I was surrounded by the most beautiful cave formations I’ve ever seen. As I climbed the stairs to the top I snapped pictures of the beauty around me. Then they decided to show us what it is really like in a cave, they turned out the lights. If you didn’t know, light can’t get into a cave so there was no way to see even your hand in front of your face. Once the light came back on we continued our tour.
When the cave tour was over we went back and played the gunslinger again admired the beauty around the park. Just spending a day in the hills makes the park worth it. We were sad that we couldn’t ride the mountain coaster but it is now open on the weekends so if you want to take a ride through the mountain side then add it to your Rapid City and Black Hills Bucket List! When you go make sure you follow @VisitRapidCity and share your adventure using #VisitRapidCity!