Where You Need To Be This Spring
Brace yourself, baby season is upon us. But, probably not the babies you’re thinking of. Picture playful baby black bears, fuzzy baby burros and clumsy baby bison. Springtime in South Dakota brings a lot of cute fur balls along with warmer temperatures and green grass, and it’s the best thing ever.
Eight minutes outside of Rapid City you’ll see the gates of Bear Country USA. Bear Country is home to the largest collection of privately-owned black bears in the United States. Each spring they kick off their new season with some baby lovin’ event called CubFest. CubFest is the only time of year visitors are allowed to get up close and actually pet a bear cub. After this event these adorable fur balls are placed in Babyland. Here visitors can watch them run, climb, and chase each other through the grass. It will melt your heart. These might not be the only babies you’ll discover during a spring visit to Bear Country. With a variety of other animals like otters, bobcats, foxes and wolves calling Bear Country home you might get to see a variety of babies!
Forty-fives minutes outside of Rapid City you’ll find Custer State Park. If you’re heart didn’t completely dissolve after the cuteness overload of bear cubs, go ahead and kiss it goodbye now. This state park is home to over 1,300 free roaming bison, and when spring comes so do their clumsy, cinnamon-colored calves. It can be hard to keep your distance (but extremely important that you do) once you witness these fluffy cuties as they stumble and play among the herd. Custer State Park is also home to the friendly begging burros. These charming animals are a lot like that friend in college who used you for your food. However, these guys are so cute you don’t even realize your being robbed of all your healthy treats or you just don’t care. If your window is rolled down expect it to be filled with one, maybe two burro noses, and their adorable baby side-kicks are just as fun. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats also take residency in Custer State Park, though spotting them is less common. If you’re lucky enough to discover a mountain goat while hiking Black Elk Peak in late May to early June you might get a chance to see it with a cotton ball baby (or a kid, which is the correct name).
Sixty minutes outside of Rapid you’ll cross paths with the entrance to Badlands National Park. In addition to the stunning terrain, the Badlands are home to a variety of wildlife that will add to the heart melting extravaganza of a spring visit. You’ll find the adorable faces of baby buffalo, along with the playful lambs of bighorn sheep and some timid fawns of pronghorn antelopes! Bighorn lambs stick with their mothers for a year to learn the ways of the land so you’ll most likely spot them exploring and playing along the many ridges of the Badlands. Pay attention to the rolling grasslands of the Badlands as well and you might catch a glimpse of the bounding, furry rump of a pronghorn fawn!
Springtime is the ideal time to visit Rapid City if the idea of watching bear cubs, buffalo calves, mountain goat kids, bighorn lambs or antelope fawns sounds like the best thing ever to you. Whether you’re visiting Bear Country USA, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park or just out in the Black Hills, these cute fur balls are everywhere and it's great. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few more pages to help you understand just how cute I am talking about: