The Badlands National Park
The Badlands National Park
Sd Hwy 240
Interior, SD 57750
The Badlands National Park Description
The Black Hills area is chock full of man-made attractions, but it also boasts some natural national treasures, and the Badlands is one of them. Otherworldly rock formations, startling colors, one of the richest fossil beds known to exist, grazing bison and a madcap prairie dog village all jumble together into a strange but fascinating landscape for adults and kids alike.
Babies: The Fossil Exhibit Trail is a stroller--friendly, .25-mile boardwalk loop that gives you an up-close look at some of the parks' fossils.
Toddlers & Pre-K: The Prairie Dog Village is endlessly fascinating for toddlers and preschoolers -- prairie dogs pop up, whistle, and disappear in every direction like a real-life whack-a-mole game.
School-Age Kids: At the visitor center, ask about the one-hour long Junior Ranger Programs that include hikes and hand-on activities. (They can also pick up the booklet and earn a badge on their own.) If your kids are into fossils, ask about the daily Fossil Talk, try the .25-mile easy boardwalk Fossil Exhibit Trail, or stop by the Big Pig Dig (Subhyracodon -- or hornless rhino -- fossils) for excavation in action. And of course, the Prairie Dog Village is immensely popular with school-age kids.
Pre-Teens & Teens: The .6-mile Door Trail is worth a stop for older kids -- the first 100 yards leading to a spectacular view at "the door" are easy, but the next mile or so is a fun scramble across the badlands formations, guided by yellow markers. (Keep an eye on the markers, it's easy to get disoriented.)
- Bring sunscreen and plenty of water. Temperatures can exceed 100 degrees in the summer. Plan on a gallon of water per person; drinking water is only available at the Cedar Pass area, the White River Visitor Center, and the Pinnacles Ranger Station.
- Weather here can be unpredictable. Lightning storms, hailstorms, and heavy winds are also common in summer; winter brings blizzards and ice storms. Dress accordingly.
- Wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes. The ground is crumbly, and there are prickly pear cactus and rattlesnakes in the park.
- Be careful. Climbing the buttes and rock formations is allowed, but can be extremely dangerous due to loose, crumbly rock.
- Bring binoculars. You'll want to get a good look at the bison, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, and coyote.
Just the Facts
Hours: Badlands National Park is open 24 hours a day, daily Ben Reifel Visitor Center is open: April 15 - June 2: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. June 3 - October 13: 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. October 14 - April 2008: 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Fees: Under $10
Recommended Time: Half day
Reviews of The Badlands National Park
By jloxtercamp June 17, 2008 | central minnesota
What we loved:
What we didn't love:
I would recommend seeing the Badlands with your older children. It was fun for my husband and 9 year old to run around and look at the views. My 4 year old and 2 year old liked it for the first 10 minutes but then fell asleep. It was 80 degrees there when we went and I though that was to hot for the baby so I stayed in the van with the 3 youngest. Adults and older children would love to spend time here. Check the forecast and bring lots of water with. Read More