On our recent vacation we made a conscious decision to drive the more scenic routes, to take our time and really enjoy all that our beautiful country has to offer. I really wanted it to be a fun trip and at the same time educational for my kids.
A prime example of one of these scenic routes was the choice to drive through Badlands National Park in South Dakota. Talk about breathtaking! This was by far my favorite sightseeing stop on our trip.
The Badlands is 244,000 acres of eroded sedimentary layers of rock formations and canyons. There is a road going through the whole park but many places to get out, stop and explore. If I had to estimate how long it takes to drive through the park I would guess 20 minutes. My family spent 2 hours here. I actually would have loved to stay longer and done some of the more extensive hiking trails but I didn’t want to push my luck with three small kids.
I got a little giddy when we got out the first time and saw this sign:
I am crazy for nature and animals in their natural environments and would have loved to see a rattlesnake!
The park is home to other wildlife as well. Bison, pronghorn, mule, deer, prairie dogs, coyotes and eagles can often be seen by visitors. In this area many fossils have also been recovered of ancient camels, three-toed horses, saber-toothed cats and giant rhinoceros-like creatures.
Here are some of the pictures we took while there:
Throughout the entire drive I was making audible gasps and squealing like a little school girl pointing things out. My husband also shared in my excitement. The kids however were a different story. They weren’t exactly yawning but their eyes certainly were not transfixed out the window and responding with excitement to everything I pointed to.
They did however like the times when we got out of our van and got to explore:
And the very best thing we saw just as we were about to get to the end of the park was this:
Like I said before, Badlands National Park was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. There is no doubt in my mind though that it’s beauty was completely lost on my kids. As proof, about an hour later, driving down a regular highway, my 6 year old son, Bency shouts out, “Wow, look at that beautiful mountain!” I just happened to have the camera in my hand and caught a shot of what he was exclaiming about:
My husband and I looked at each other and shook our heads in dismay. We had just seen some of the most beautiful rock formations and views and this little hill has our son all jigged up.