No trip to South Dakota is complete without a visit to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Our first impression on arrival was “wow – it looks just like the pictures!”. Of course, in all honesty, the pictures don’t do justice to the “faces”, as they are called locally.
The likenesses of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Lincoln were carved into the granite mountain over 14 years from 1927-1941. We found it interesting why sculptor Gutzon Borglum selected those four. Briefly:
- Washington – because he represents the birth of the county
- Jefferson – because he symbolized expansion of the nation
- Lincoln – because he preserved the country
- Roosevelt – because he represented the development of the nation
The work involved nearly 400 workers and 450,000 tons of dynamite. We recommend taking the 30 minute guided Ranger Walk to hear about the history. You can also rent an audio tour if you want to take it at your own pace. Be sure to explore the Presidential Trail which runs for about a mile along the base of the mountain and includes some good opportunities for close up views.
Entrance to the Memorial is free but there is a parking charge at the privately built garage. There is a gift shop and cafe as well. Plan to spend a couple of hours to experience this quintessential American experience.
This is one of a series of posts about our Top 10 activity recommendations for families visiting South Dakota with teens and tweens. We hope you will take the time to read about the rest.
We linked this post to the Delicious Baby Photo Friday lineup. Check it out for more really great travel photos and blogs from around the world.