For the two weeks prior to our visit to Mount Rushmore, the kids’ lessons were centered around the mountain, its history, and the presidents embodied on it. They memorized names, dates, and important contributions.

This is one of my favorite things about home schooling. We can do whatever we want and go anywhere. And this was one of the kids’ favorite things. They took pride in the fact that they already knew, by name, each president on the mountain, and they spouted them off to complete strangers every chance they got.

While we were in South Dakota, we did tons of other things, too, like Devils Tower, Deadwood, Spearfish Canyon, and Wall Drug. We ate at some awesome local places and one of our favorites was Philly Ted’s.

Our Daytime Visit

in front of Mount Rushmore

The first time we went to Mount Rushmore, it was daylight, but drizzling. Halfway through our accent of 250 stairs, we were soaked. We took shelter under as many trees as we could find along the way, and it was worth every squishy step.

A mountain goat was grazing under George’s nose and the kids marveled at how close we really were.

We admired one of the huge air compressors that helped shape the sculpture, and peaked in the Sculptor’s Studio for a brief glimpse of a smaller replica of the president’s faces and torsos.

We took our time, because the park wasn’t busy, and we were able to enjoy much of it, despite the construction.

A Quick Detour

The second time we went to Mount Rushmore, we ate at Boss’ Pizza and Chicken in Keystone. The pizza was mouthwatering, but the time and attention we got from the staff, despite them being rather busy, was the most remarkable part.

Then we took a drive down 16A toward Custer State Park on the way. We weren’t prepared for what we found. Not only was driving the switchbacks fun, but we experienced some more than spectacular views.

We spun around pigtail bridges…

pigtail bridge

…drove through tunnels…

Mount Rushmore through tunnel

…and caught glimpses of Mount Rushmore from afar.

Mount Rushmore through trees

Our Nighttime Visit

We promised the kids we would go back to Mount Rushmore at night to see it illuminated. The weather this time was beautiful, and it was worth the second trip. The park was nearly empty, so we were able to relax , enjoying sundown as the lights came up.

mount rushmore at night

Their excited squeals echoed up the stairs to the balcony as they ran, giggled, and played at dusk. I remember reflecting on how much I have enjoyed being there every time I’ve gone. Even after my fourth visit, it hasn’t gotten old yet.

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