THe Corn Palace
There isn't much but the rolling grasslands of South Dakota along I-90. Every so often, you see a billboard advertising
"Wall Drug". Our first destination, however, was the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. A large convention center, the current edifice is actually the third one to grace the middle of downtown Mitchell. The reliefs change every season, as new art is produced every year with the corn cobs from the South Dakota area. One of the first memories I have as a child is of the Corn Palace, and I still have the cornhusk doll I got as a souvenir.
The Missouri River
Chamberlain, South Dakota--There is a rest area that has a Louis & Clark Interpretive Center along with trails that you can hike down to the Missouri River (seen here). The museum is great for kids complete with replica camping equipment they used on their voyage, and the vessel they used as well.
On our journey, one of the places I wanted my kids to see was the Badlands in South Dakota. I remember seeing them as a child and could almost picture the Lakota Sioux riding through the multi-colored rock formations that were carved by nature over 30 million years ago. Before entering the park, there is a Prairie Dog farm where visitors can feed the dozens of prairie dogs with peanuts that you buy from the owners. The Prairie Dog Farm was a highlight of the trip that my kids will always remember.
The Badlands was formed by volcanic deposits. Volcanic activity, originating in the Rocky Mountains to the west, poured vast quantities of sediment into the rivers and streams running downhill from the Black Hills, and spread sand, mud, and gravel into the plains area. For a few more million years, the land built up faster than it eroded. Wind and water worked for thousands of years to create the sharply eroded buttes, gullies and ridges that has come to be known as Badlands.
(Referenced from: http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/family/badlands-national-park-ga2.htm)
Wildlife of the West
One of my favorite parts of our trip was seeing the different types of wildlife in the west that we don't see here in the Midwest.
Yellowstone national Park
I just happened to catch the reflection of the pine trees in this hot spring:)
Standing on an active volcanic site might be intimidating...unless the beauty of Yellowstone accompanies it. My husband said it was surreal....that he hadn't experienced anything like it before. Established in 1872 as the nation's first National Park, it spans an area of almost 3500 square miles through three states (Wyoming, Montana, Idaho). The park sits at an average elevation of 8000 ft. above sea level. It is home to many geological wonders--hot springs, thermal vents, mudpots, lakes, rivers, over 290 waterfalls, canyons, and of course, geysers. Old Faithful, located in the Upper Basin, is the most predictable geyser in the world, erupting between 65 and 91 minutes without fail. By far the highlight of our trip, we only saw a tiny sliver of the beauty that Yellowstone National Park has to offer.