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Springtime Cuteness In The Black Hills

Raised in Rapid City and lucky to call it home, this outdoor enthusiast loves to explore the Black Hills with her husband and two dogs. When she’s not at work you’ll find her out hiking, at a local ice cream shop, or perhaps home taking a nap.

April 05, 2021

Brace yourself, baby season is here. Probably not the babies you’re thinking of. Picture playful baby black bears, fuzzy baby burros and clumsy baby bison. Springtime in South Dakota brings the arrival of some cute fur balls along with warmer temperatures and budding flowers. It’s pretty great.

Bear Cub at Bear Country USA in Rapid City
Bear Country USA

Just outside of Rapid City you’ll see the gates of Bear Country USA. Bear Country is home to the largest collection of privately-owned black bears in the United States. Each spring they welcome adorable new residents to their park. While the fan favorite tends to be the bear cubs, they also have a variety of other new youngsters joining the family like baby wolves, foxes and bobcats. These cuties can be found in Wildlife Walk, a portion of the attraction that can be found at the end of the drive-through park. You'll want to watch them run, climb, and chase each other through the grass for hours. It's heart melting.

Bison Calf in Custer State Park
Custer State Park ©South Dakota Tourism

Forty-fives minutes outside of Rapid City you’ll find Custer State Park. If you’re heart didn’t completely dissolve after the cuteness overload of bear cubs, go ahead and kiss it goodbye now. This state park is home to over 1,300 free roaming bison, and when spring comes so do their clumsy, cinnamon-colored calves. It can be hard to keep your distance (but extremely important that you do) once you witness these fuzzy babes as they stumble and play amongst the herd. Custer State Park is also home to the friendly begging burros. These charming and snoopy animals are a lot like that friend in college who used you for your food. However, they're so cute you don’t even realize you're being robbed of all your healthy treats. If your window is rolled down expect it to be filled with one, maybe two burro noses, and their adorable baby side-kicks. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats are also residents of Custer State Park, though spotting them is less common. If you’re lucky to discover a mountain goat while hiking Black Elk Peak in late May to early June you might get a chance to see a cotton ball baby (or a kid, which is the correct name).

Mom and baby bighorn sheep in badlands national park
Badlands National Park @ryanunger87

Sixty minutes outside of Rapid you’ll find the entrance to Badlands National Park. In addition to the stunning terrain, the Badlands are home to a variety of wildlife that will add to the heart melting extravaganza of a spring visit. You’ll find the adorable faces of baby bison, along with the playful lambs of bighorn sheep and some timid fawns of pronghorn antelopes! Bighorn lambs stick with their mothers for a year to learn the ways of the land so you’ll most likely spot them exploring and playing along the many ridges of the Badlands. Pay attention to the rolling grasslands of the Badlands as well and you might catch a glimpse of a bounding, furry rump of a pronghorn fawn!

Springtime is a great time to visit Rapid City if the idea of watching bear cubs, bison calves, mountain goat kids, bighorn lambs or antelope fawns sounds like the best thing ever to you. Whether you’re visiting Bear Country USA, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park or just out in the Black Hills, these cute fur balls are everywhere and it's wonderful. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few more photos to help you understand just how cute I am talking about:

Baby Burro with adult burros in Custer State Park
Custer State Park @emilyonfilm3

One more:

Baby mountain goats wondering in the Black Hills National Forest
Black Hills ©Jack Cunningham

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