There are great opportunities around the Black Hills to get out and learn something new, but sometimes it’s a tough sell to our kids.
Here in the Black Hills, we’re blessed with incredible natural and cultural resources. We have museums on everything from geology and paleontology to local and national history. While well-meaning parents may want to take their kids to learn about the world around them, the idea isn’t always met with excitement. Fortunately, many local museums have activities geared towards kids of all ages that make learning fun! We rounded up some of our favorites so you can plan your next family field trip with confidence. The best part? They’re all free or included with the price of admission.
Dahl Arts Center
Who doesn’t love art? Spending a quiet afternoon contemplating the best our area has to offer is a great way to recharge as a family. That is, unless your kids are like most, and art museums aren’t really their thing. Luckily, the Dahl Arts Center is more than just a museum: check out the Art Start Studio on your next visit. The studio allows your family to experience and create art using a variety of materials, not to mention the space is fun to explore all on its own.
Head to Belle Fourche for this museum about Black Hills history. They have permanent exhibits on local tribes, pioneers and ranchers who settled the area, history of the Black Hills Roundup, and more. What your kids will love, however, are the hands-on activity stations throughout. Offerings vary based on the exhibits, but you can expect at least 3-4 stations your littles can explore, including a fun archeology table where they can dig for fossils and a dress up trunk with costumes from the Black Hills’ pioneer days.
This Hot Springs attraction really is a national treasure, and if you haven’t been yet you’re missing out. When you visit, the sheer size of the Bonebed will impress even the most stalwart tween. Reading the exhibits may not capture the attention of the younger crowd just yet, but head to Andrea’s Kids Cave near the gift shop. You’ll find fun activities that will keep your kids entertained and may even spark a love of paleontology.
The Journey Museum
If you want to learn everything there is to know about the Black Hills, the Journey Museum is a must-do. Their exhibits cover everything from the geology of our region to the people and events that have shaped it. Also check out their kid-friendly programming, known as STEAM weekends. Activities vary each weekend, but past offerings have included gold panning, designing a postage stamp, and learning about Earth’s atmosphere. You don’t have to sign up in advance, but classes do run on a schedule, so check out the calendar on their website for upcoming times.
Custer State Park Peter Norbeck Education Center
Custer State Park is a gem all on its own, and there’s plenty of amazing adventure to be had no matter your family’s interests. One downside? There’s a lot of driving involved, which can make kids restless. Avoid the cooped-up chaos and stop by the Peter Norbeck Education Center. You’ll find educational displays and ranger talks, but also hands-on activities your kids can explore as you take a respite from the car.