Spring in Rapid City
When spring comes to South Dakota, Rapid City is the place to be. Quicker on its feet than any other season, spring arrives not only with a burst of nature’s beauty, but a calendar of events and activities you won’t want to miss out on. Here are a dozen-plus ways to get in on the fun!
Take a Stroll
Spring brings new inspiration to Rapid City’s thriving arts and culture scene – you’ll see the creative spirit in full force at area galleries, along colorful alley walls, Downtown and at Main Street Square.
The beauty of nature, art and history come together in harmony at Memorial Park. Be greeted with budding flowers and the babbling sounds of Rapid Creek as you tour the memorials and exhibits of Memorial Park. Iconic pieces include the Berlin Wall exhibit and the 1972 Rapid City Flood memorial, but more await within this park for those who take the time to explore it.
City of Presidents
Springtime on the streets of Downtown Rapid City is worthy of presidential approval, where all the former commanders-in-chief have executive authority over their own corner. Life-size bronze sculptures make them each approachable and their stories relatable, with enlightening details of their lives depicted.
The Sculpture Project
This large-scale, privately funded, public art commission can be found in the heart of Rapid City. Master sculptor Masayuki Nagase transformed granite pieces into an exquisite piece of work entitled The Passage of Wind and Water complimenting the best features of Main Street Square and reflecting on the natural surroundings in the Black Hills and Badlands area. Make sure you stop, look and feel the hand-carved granite, another tribute to the big things that happen here.
Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year to experience the great outdoors. These activities are sure to keep you on your toes, showcasing the features Rapid City has to offer after the winter snow.
Across wide-open spaces, through deep pine forests, over rocky outcroppings and into cool caverns – the hiking terrain all around Rapid City and throughout the Black Hills is irresistible in the spring. From easy park trails to challenging climbs, the sights are always spectacular. Check out these top 10 hiking trails in the area.
The region’s mountain lakes and freshwater creeks are teeming with life in the springtime, making it high time for you to gear up and fish for brook, brown and rainbow trout. Head out into the prairie for reservoir and ranch stock dam fishing to catch largemouth bass, northern pike and other great panfish. With a fishing license and a little local guidance, the fish aren’t the only one who will be hooked. Find some great fishing spots in this blog recommended by a local fisherman!
The pioneers must have felt the same excitement around every bend – in the Black Hills you’ll experience more per mile than almost any place in the nation. This landscape of thrilling extremes is perfect for spring cruising with plenty of routes leading you through a promised land dotted with incredible views. With multiple routes to choose from, our top 10 scenic cruises will help you decide the roads you'd like to explore!
Pro Tip: Plan your trip around National Park Week or the State Park’s Open House Weekend to make the most of the season. National Park Week lets you explore the beauty of Badlands National Park fee-free. State Park’s Open House Weekend means free entrance in all of South Dakota’s state parks and recreation areas along with free fishing where a fishing license isn’t required.
Discover Something New
Spring is also a prime time to visit attractions opening for the season and offering exciting opportunities fit for any age.
Rush Mountain Adventure Park
Celebrate spring with cool adventures at Rush Mountain Adventure Park. Whether you’re descending into stalactite-filled caverns on the Scenic Cave Tour or flying high on the Soaring Eagle Zipline Ride, this is a great place to get your recommended dose of fun. With a 7-D Gunslinger Interactive Ride to test your skills, gemstone mining, a gift shop to guarantee you leave with treasures and the thrilling Rush Mountain Coaster, it’s a good time on every level.
It’s spring and the reptiles are ready to greet you. A new season begins in March for Rapid City’s most exotic attraction, Reptile Gardens. Whether you’re a fan of the world’s deadliest snakes or if lush tropical orchids are more your taste, you won’t be disappointed by the gardens, exhibits and shows featuring all kinds of fascinating creatures. Acclaimed by Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Reptile Zoo, Reptile Gardens is home to more species and subspecies of reptiles than any other zoo or park on the planet.
Travel by vintage rail and steam power your way to a memorable trip through the Black Hills on the 1880 Train. With departures beginning for the season in mid-May, it’s the perfect time to jump on board and take cruise through the beauty of the Black Hills.
Bear Country USA
Spring brings new life to the Black Hills, and nowhere is it more adorable than at Bear Country USA. Opening its doors to a new season in late April/early May, this drive-through wildlife park invites you to cruise through free roaming wildlife and enjoy Wildlife Walk, where the parks’ newest residents just moved in. It’s hard to imagine anything cuter than these baby bear cubs, no doubt about it.
You can enjoy 100-mile views from Skyline Drive and make friends with life-size prehistoric creatures any time of year at Dinosaur Park, but the best season for learning about the history of the Black Hills’ original tourist attraction is upon us as the Visitor Center opens in May. Find out which of the resident dinosaur hails from another continent, which is actually an un-dinosaur, and whether the real creatures would have outweighed their concrete replicas.
*Starting October 1, Dinosaur Park will be closed for construction to create accessible pedestrian routes, update safety features, and upgrade visitor amenities including site interpretation. The project is expected to last approximately seven months.