Top 10 Family Attractions
Finding something fun for the whole family is no small task, which is why these attractions are ideal for any family getaway. Dig for fossils or attend an alligator show and watch your family members, big and small, have the time of their life in Rapid City. Attractions featured are selected based off ratings and reviews from Tripadvisor.
*denotes seasonal attraction
1 - Bear Country USA*
Meet the furry faces of Bear Country USA! This drive-through wildlife park is a thrilling experience for all ages. Coast along as you spot black bears, bison, elk and more all around your vehicle. Park the car at the end and enjoy a stroll around Wildlife Walk which features some of the smaller animals and fan favorite – the bear cubs.
2 - Reptile Gardens*
Reptile Garden’s has a lot going on – as it should. At the world’s largest reptile zoo, you’ll discover some of the world’s deadliest snakes and quite possibly some of the world’s friendliest tortoises. From the Sky Dome to Methuselah’s Playground and all the botanical gardens in between, this attraction shines in hands-on learning and unexpected family fun.
3 - Wall Drug
There’s a lot more than free ice water and delicious donuts waiting for you at Wall Drug. Conveniently located near the entrance to Badlands National Park, this famous road-side stop offers dining, unusual photo ops, endless souvenirs and more to its visitors. If you’re driving to Rapid City, look for the famous Wall Drug billboards.
4 - The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs
Just 50 minutes from Rapid City is an active paleontological excavation site called the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs. Visitors are blown away with the research and discoveries continuing today at this active dig. As the only Ice Age facility of its kind in North America, this is a great educational stop for all ages!
5 - Rushmore Tramway Adventures*
Discover one thrilling adventure after another with a visit to Rushmore Tramway Adventures. It’s the only place in the Black Hills where you can enjoy a zipline tour, with views of Mount Rushmore, followed by a cruise down the mountain on a summer tubing hill or the highly rated alpine slide. Your inner daredevil will love this place.
6 - 1880 Train - Black Hills Central Railroad*
Let the 1880 Train be your chauffeur through the Black Hills! This memorable ride allows everyone to sit back and enjoy the views during a 20-mile round trip between Hill City and Keystone. The Black Hills Central Railroad is the oldest continuously operating tour railroad in the nation. Fun fact: one of the locomotives is more than 100 years old.
7 - Dinosaur Park
Quirky history can be found standing on a ridge overlooking Rapid City. Boasting 100-mile views, Dinosaur Park is also home to seven green dinosaurs. While reflecting the general size of the real dinosaurs, these 1936 creations have aged to be more of a cartoon-like replica of the prehistoric beasts they represent. However, climbing and posing in photos with them is still timeless fun.
*Dinosaur Park is currently closed for construction to create accessible pedestrian routes, update safety features, and upgrade visitor amenities including site interpretation. The project is expected to last until May of 2024. You can explore more stunning views of Rapid City from Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park or see actual dinosaur fossils at the Museum of Geology.
8 - Watiki® Waterpark
Watiki® Indoor Waterpark Resort is your destination for aquatic fun in South Dakota. Open year-round, it offers a plethora of attractions, including thrilling waterslides, a tranquil lazy river, and a rejuvenating hot tub spa. Kids have a blast playing in KoKo the Monkey’s Kingdom, while parents unwind and enjoy the waterpark's vibrant atmosphere.
9 - Fort Hays
Nestled along Highway 16 en route to Mount Rushmore, Fort Hays offers an variety of family-friendly attractions. Visitors can tour the film set of Dances with Wolves and enjoy a self-guided journey through the Old West Town Square, all for free. Indulge in an authentic Chuckwagon Supper accompanied by live entertainment. And don't miss the adrenaline rush of the Buffalo Hunt Coaster, weaving through a herrd of statue bison.
10 - Storybook Island*
The favorite characters of your childhood books can be found among the fountains and green grass of Storybook Island. Kids have a blast exploring the tree house of Winnie the Pooh, sliding down the hill by Jack and Jill, and sitting in the carriage of Cinderella. Imagination has no limits within this fairytale park.