The Black Hills of South Dakota is an area rich in minerals and mining history, but for those of you who head for the Hills each year for the Sturgis Rally, there lies another series of hidden treasures—interesting places a little off the beaten path, ones you would’ve stopped at had you known they were there. These Black Hills attractions exemplify the life, fun and culture of the area, and because they are world class in their own right, we have gathered a few we think are worth a stop. So without further ado, here are 10 hidden gems of the Black Hills courtesy of the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s Rider Friendly Business Program.
1. The Journey Museum & Learning Center – Rapid City, SD
Your Black Hills Journey starts here. Learn and play by experiencing interactive displays, special exhibits and theater presentations daily. Begin at the dawn of time, travel through the age of dinosaurs, Native Americans and pioneers. The Journey is conveniently located downtown Rapid City and offers plenty of parking for your bike or RV.
2. The South Dakota Air & Space Museum – Box Elder, SD
Climbing into the cockpit or taking a picture of your bike next to a B-25 Mitchell Bomber or a fighter jet at this museum are experiences you’ll never forget! See it all from the modern B1-B Bomber to space capsules to vintage aircraft from both world wars. This free attraction is one of the best-kept secrets in the area, and it’s just waiting for you to discover it at Exit 67 off I-90 6-miles east of Rapid City (Exit 67B if you are eastbound).
3. D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives – Spearfish, SD
This free attraction, located between the Spearfish City Park and City Campground, makes for a fun and convenient stop after a ride through majestic Spearfish Canyon. Each year D.C. Booth Hatchery is responsible for stocking 20,000-30,000 rainbow trout, and we have to say it’s pretty dang fun to watch the feeding frenzy that ensues when you toss a few food pellets into their ponds. Before you leave, be sure to check out the unique items in the D.C. Booth gift shop, get face to face with the enormous trout in the underwater observatory and take the short hike to the top of the hill to see breathtaking views of the 10-acre grounds.
4. National Museum of Woodcarving – Custer, SD
Head two miles west of Custer on Hwy 16, and step into a world of intricate detail and craftsmanship. The museum was founded by one of Disney’s original animators, Dr. Niblack, who spent over 70,000 hours creating a world of woodcarving with 30 different scenes and thousands of life-like carvings. A stop at this Buffalo Chip Rider Friendly Business is a treat you’ll remember as one of the highlights of your trip to the Hills…top-shelf in every respect.
5. Black Hills Mining Museum – Lead, SD
Historic Lead is home of the mother lode and some of the finest Black Hills attractions, including the state’s official mining museum. Dedicated to the rich mining history of the Black Hills, the Mining Museum lets you explore the Homestake Mine underground with its simulated tours and guarantees you’ll find gold with actual gold panning! Era costumes and miners equipment give you a hands-on opportunity to touch a piece of history.
6. Days of ’76 Museum – Deadwood, SD
The Days of ’76 Celebration began in 1924 as an honor to Deadwood’s first pioneers—the prospectors, miners, muleskinners and madams who poured into the Black Hills in 1876 to settle the gold-filled gulches of Dakota Territory. The Days of ’76 Museum has changed over the years to feature far more than this celebration and its award-winning rodeo; you’ll get the full flavor of the West with collections of Western and American Indian artifacts, archives, photos and artwork. The museum features exceptional displays of carriages, firearms and American Indian artifacts, and it illustrates Deadwood’s enduring friendship with Buffalo Bill Cody.
Finish out the 10 Hidden Gems of the Black Hills at Sturgis Rider News Blog
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