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TOP 10 MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Explore airplanes, wild west adventures and the biggest creatures that ever roamed the earth at these area museums and galleries. Captivate the attention of everyone on your vacation with a day of digging up fossils, discovering facts, and enjoying fine art in Rapid City and the Black Hills. Based on TripAdvisor ratings and reviews, these are the top ten museums and galleries you need to visit!

1 - The Mammoth Site Of Hot Springs

Located in Hot Springs, about a 50 minute drive from Rapid City, is the active paleontological dig of The Mammoth Site! Take the 30 minute tour to learn about the findings of over 60 mammoth and 87 other Ice Age animal fossils all from this one location. The facility was built around the sinkhole where the fossils are still being discovered making it the perfect spot to visit in any type of weather. 

2 - South Dakota Air & Space Museum

Stand before the aircrafts of America’s aviation history at the South Dakota Air & Space Museum. The sheer size and evolution of these planes will leave you awe-struck. The outdoor exhibits showcase planes dating back to World War II, along with displays of military missiles. Inside visitors will discover aerospace exhibits that feature the history, innovation and future of aviation. An added bonus, the museum is free admission. 

3 - Prairie Edge Trading Company And Galleries

Not only is Prairie Edge Trading Company and Galleries a store that offers a large selection of locally made products, but it’s also home to a stunning collection of contemporary and traditional Native American artwork. Visitors can spend hours exploring the paintings, beadwork, and more that take up this two-story store. There are even opportunities to witness artists in action as they create their work live. 

4 - The Journey Museum & Learning Center

The Journey Museum &Learning Center brings together four major collections to tell the story and history of the area. Visitors can discover everything from the geological make up the Black Hills to the pioneers who formed the communities we have today, and everything in between. With a wealth of history to be unearthed and countless interactive experiences for all ages, it’s a stop that everyone will enjoy. 

5 - Museum Of Geology

The Museum of Geology, located on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, has been displaying fascinating specimens since 1885. Their exhibits showcase skeletons of dinosaurs, mammals, marine reptile fish, and some rare fossils from the White River Badlands. They also boost an impressive display of minerals in the Hall of South Dakota Minerals, meteorites, and a fluorescent mineral room. You’re guaranteed to walk away with some new knowledge after visiting.  

6 - National Presidential Wax Museum

Located in Keystone, about a 25 minute drive from Rapid City, is the exciting and patriotic experience of the National Presidential Wax Museum! It’s here you can meet all the American Presidents recreated in wax. With the self-guided audio tour you’ll be able to hear the stories behind these figures and the iconic moment of history that they showcase. 

7 - Termesphere Gallery

Discover the one of a kind spherical paintings by Dick Termes when you explore the Termesphere Gallery in Spearfish. A visit to this unusual art space will introduce you to the fascinating world of Termespheres®. They are optical illusion paintings that provide viewers with an inside-out view of the world painted on the outside of a hanging and rotating sphere. The artist, Dick Termes, has been creating these masterpieces since 1968.

8 - Pawnseum

The world’s only Pawnseum can be found in Rapid City. This quirky shops brings to life the fusion of unique pawn shop finds and interesting museum exhibits. The twist? Unlike most museums, everything is for sale. Mixed in with merchandise like Black Hills Gold Jewelry are displays holding items like Michael Jackson’s early concert glove or authentic Native American antiques. It’s paradise for those who love learning and shopping – you can do them both at the same time!

9 - The Dahl Arts Center

Find contemporary visual arts, arts education, and performing arts all under one roof at the Dahl Arts Center. Visitors can tour the five visual art galleries, enjoy the interactive children’s gallery, view the Cyclorama Mural of American History, shop hand-crafted items in the gift shop, or even attend an art class. They have rotating displays and classes so each experience at the Dahl is a little different than the last. 

10 - Sioux Pottery

Explore and shop artwork that is handcrafted by Lakota Indian Artists at Sioux Pottery. You can tour behind the scenes and witness each step in the creation of these stunning pieces of art, from molding, to sanding, to painting and then carving with symbols important to Lakota culture. It’s a fascinating process to witness and will deepen your admiration of the completed work found in the gift shop.