Staycation Storybook Island

A Black Hills Staycation

A Black Hills Staycation

From world-renowned features like Reptile Gardens to hidden gems, our backyard has more to see and do than any other American location—according to tourism expert Roger Brooks. Soak up the sun and experience these outdoor attractions together!

Storybook Island

If you have children between the ages of three and nine, they are going to love Storybook Island. Filled with more than 100 storybook and fairytale sets, this attraction has been around for nearly 60 years and is the perfect place to let your child’s imagination soar. Equipped with easy, paved paths for a leisurely stroll and plenty of room to run, the magical nature of the park will leave you in awe.

Visit Storybook Island during their character days, and let your children meet Merida, Spiderman, Elsa, and more. Grab a treat at one of their concession stands—especially the frozen lemonade—and take a break by the benches before riding the train and the carousel. Before you leave, swing into their gift shoppe and choose a memento of the day.

“Everyone is invited,” says Executive Director Connie LeZotte. “Let your children use their imaginations as they board the pirate ship, talk to the three little pigs, and climb Winnie the Pooh’s treehouse. Experience the magic!”


Admission: Free
Location: 1301 Sheridan Lake Rd., Rapid City
Hours: Sun.-Sat: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.


Rush Mountain Adventure Park

Take the kids and get ready for a wild ride at Rush Mountain Adventure Park in Keystone! Long known for its centerpiece, Rushmore Cave, this venue has expanded its roster of adventures, and now offers a full day of fun and thrills—for everyone.

Take a tour of the natural limestone formations deep underground, then stop by the mining station by the Visitor Center. Next, head into the treetops on the zipline and mountain coaster for an adventure in the sky. Once you’re finished flying high, stop inside for the 7-D Gunslinger theatre—where you will be able to experience living inside of a movie while you shoot laser guns at the “bad guys.”

“It’s fun to watch a grandma and her grandchild ride on an attraction together, laugh out loud, and build lasting bonds,” smiles Ross Johnson, partner at Rush Mountain Adventure Park. “Rush Mountain is a special place where families can come, spend the day doing activities together, and create lasting memories.”

Admission: $6-50
Location: 13622 Hwy. 40, Keystone
Hours: Sun.-Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


Old MacDonald’s Farm

Grab your overalls and head out to the farm! Old MacDonald’s Petting Farm on Highway 16, just outside Rapid City, is a perfect place for kids. See your favorite farm animals, including chickens, goats, horses, and cows—along with some new furry faces that you might not see every day. Look for Hans & Frans the yaks, and Baby Girl the llama.

“The farm is a safe, fun, and relaxing environment for families,” agree Gina and Thane Rose, owners of Old MacDonald’s. “It is hands-on learning for the kids every time you come.”

Kids can hold chicks, stand inside pens with the goats, ride ponies, pet llamas, and so much more. It is a place you can spend hours letting your kids be kids and play in the dirt.

Admission: Adult: $13.50, Child: $10.50
Location: 23691 Busted Five Ct., Rapid City
Hours: Sun.-Sat.: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.


The Outdoor Campus – West

Opening its doors in 2011, the Game, Fish and Park’s Outdoor Campus – West, on Sturgis Road in Rapid City, is a great place for families of all ages. It features: hands-on exhibits that showcase area wildlife; a play area with room to run; and green space complete with 1.5 miles of easy trails and habitats along the lake, creeks, and ponds.

The campus also offers public programs for outdoor education and skills such as camping and fishing, learning about animals, kayaking, and more.

“A big part of what we do is intended to provide families with beginning experiences,” says Chad Tussing, Director of The Outdoor Campus – West. “They can try something new, or gain new skills that they can then do on their own together.”

Admission: Free
Location: 4130 Adventure Trail, Rapid City
Hours: Mon.-Fri.: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat.: 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun.: 1-4 p.m.


By Jenna Carda



Remember These Key Destinations When You Plan Your Black Hills Staycation 


1880 Train

Adult: $24–29, Child: $12–14

Location: Hill City

D.C. Booth Fish Hatchery

Admission: Free

Location: Spearfish

Main Street Square

Admission: Free

Location: Rapid City 

Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

Admission: Free exhibits, Tours: $25 (family of 4+)

Location: Lead

Bear Country USA

Admission: Adult: $17, Child: $11, Under 4: Free

Location: Rapid City

Devils Tower

Admission: $15

Location: Wyoming

The Mammoth Site

Admission: Adult: $10.14, Child: $7.37, Under 3: Free

Location: Hot Springs 

SD Air and Space

Admission: Free; Tours: Adult: $8, Child: $5

Location: Ellsworth AFB

Big Thunder Gold Mine

Admission: Adult: $9.95, Child: $6.95, Under 4: Free

Location: Keystone

Dinosaur Park

Admission pricing: Free

Location: Rapid City 

Mt. Rushmore National Memorial

Admission: $10

Location: Keystone 

Spearfish Rec & Aquatic Center

Admission: $3–8

Location: Spearfish

Black Hills Maze

Admission: $20.18

Location: Rapid City

Evan’s Plunge

Admission: Adult: $14, Child: $10, Under 2: Free

Location: Hot Springs

Museum at Black Hills Institute

Admission: Adult: $7:50, Child: $4

Location: Hill City 

T&M Trail Rides

Admission: Pricing Varies

Location: Nemo

Black Hills Playhouse

Admission: Adult: $34, Child: $16

Location: Custer

Flags and Wheels

Admission: $5–19.75

Location: Rapid City

Museum of Geology

Admission: Free

Location: Rapid City 

Tri-State Museum

Admission: ###

Location: Belle Fourche 

Circle B Chuckwagon

Admission: Adult: $29–31, Child: $13–15

Location: Hill City

Fort Hays

Admission: Adult: $29, Child: $14.50, Under 4: $5

Location: Rapid City 

National Presidential Wax Museum

Admission: Adult: $10, Child: $7, Under 5: Free

Location: Keystone 

Wall Drug

Admission: Free

Location: Wall 

Cosmos Mystery Area

Admission: Adult: $11, Child: $6, Under 4: Free

Location: Rapid City

Holy Terror Mini Golf

Admission: Adult: $9, Child: $7, Under 5: Free

Location: Keystone 

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf

Admission: Adult: $8.50, Child: $7.50, Under 3: Free

Location: Rapid City


Admission: $10.99+

Location: Rapid City 

Crazy Horse Memorial

Admission: $11–28, Under 6: Free

Location: Custer

Journey Museum

Admission: Adult: $10, Child: $7, Under 5: Free

Location: Rapid City 

Reptile Gardens

Admission: Adult: $17.50, Child: $11.50, Under 4: Free

Location: Rapid City

Custer State Park

Admission: Activities Vary

Mad Mountain Adventure

Admission: Activities Vary

Location: Deadwood

Rushmore Tramway Adventures

Admission: Activities Vary

Location: Keystone