Custer is very family friendly, there were several different campgrounds in the area and hotel options if you don’t camp. Honestly, if we weren’t camping I would stay in one of the lodges at Custer SP.
We had a full day left and wanted to visit Wind Cave National Park and drive to Deadwood. Wind Cave tours are first-come, first-serve so we drove there early morning to have our choice of tour times. There is another buffalo herd roaming on the park grounds above the cave. I didn’t take pictures inside Wind Cave, I think maybe they said no flash.
Large male buffalo, roaming the prairie above Wind Cave. We didn’t see the full herd this day.
We chose the fairgrounds tour, the longest option with sightings of both popcorn and boxwork formations. These formations are what make Wind Cave unique, the images on the NPS site are far better than I would have been able to capture with my iPhone anyhow.
After our cave tour concluded, we walked around the cave grounds and looked at the natural entrance. Again, I’m not 100% sure why I don’t have any pictures from that stop. I will try to do better. The neat thing about this entrance is how evident the cave’s name is. The cool winds beneath the ground pull air into the tunnels of the cave. It was a warm day when we visited, but when we stepped up to the natural entrance, we felt the wind swept down into the depths of the cave. This is also how the cave was discovered many years ago by explorers scouring the prairie.
We drove into Deadwood and honestly were not impressed. Deadwood is advertised as being an “old time Western town”. However, it really is just a casino mecca.
Tripp did like the Mavericks bar in Deadwood, since his baseball team is the Maverick’s. He asked me to take this picture so he could show coach Scott!
Some of the buildings in Deadwood had historic charm, but they were pretty much all casinos. Tripp was slightly disappointed to learn these “video games” were not an option for him on this vacation.
We took a quick stroll down the main drag in Deadwood and drove on to the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs.
The Mammoth Site was an intriguing place. It is privately funded and not supported by the National Park Service or federal government in any way. It also wasn’t really advertised. We found a brochure in a couple of places around Custer. Tripp loves artifacts and fossils, so we thought it was worth checking out. A small entrance fee allows you a guided tour (including headsets you see in our pictures) and the ability to roam the active dig site for as long as you want. A short movie before the tour details the history and discovery of the site. It is quite interesting, again considering this is all a result of 100% private funding.
Another successful day in the Black Hills, albeit our last. Next up, Wyoming!