Did you know that this year in October Mount Rushmore will be celebrating its 75th birthday? If your family has been wanting to take a trip to explore Mount Rushmore, this is definitely the time to do it! All year long there will be a ton of fun events across South Dakota in addition to the celebrations that will be happening across the country as the National Parks Service celebrates 100 years. This is a fantastic opportunity to catch a lot of special events and discounts!
When it came to visiting Mount Rushmore with kids I was a bit hesitant as to whether or not it would be a trip my kids would enjoy. I was honestly surprised at just how much fun we all had – we plan on going back again this summer!
Visiting Mount Rushmore with Kids
Deciding When to Visit
The visitor facilities at Mount Rushmore National Memorial are open all year, seven days a week, with the exception of December 25th. There are a lot of things to consider when trying to pick out the time of year to visit Mount Rushmore. Some questions to explore are:
- What do you want to do while there? If you are hoping to have mini adventures such as gold mining or go on a helicopter ride then you are going to want to check ahead of time the dates that these activities are available. If you visit off season, off-site activities at Keystone may be closed.
- What can your children handle? Can your child handle large crowds? What about nature hikes? For my family, we visited off-season in November because we have a child who is very easily overstimulated. The weather was beautiful and there were maybe 10 other families there.
- What is your budget? When it comes to visiting Mount Rushmore, there is no entrance fee. However, there is a parking fee that is not covered by National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Passes. Things such as hotel stays and activities may spike in price during the busier times of year.
Deciding Where to Stay
There is a lot of fun stuff to do right around Mount Rushmore, and a lot of places to stay in little towns right off of Rushmore such as Keystone. Personally, when we visit with kids we stay in Rapid City which is about a 20-minute drive. We do this for two reasons – more affordable restaurants and Watiki Water Park (located inside the Residence Inn by Marriott). For more ideas of where to stay around Mount Rushmore check out this amazing guide to Mount Rushmore Camping for a comprehensive breakdown of every smaller town in the area.
Exploring Mount Rushmore
At Mount Rushmore itself, there is a ton of stuff for kids to do. There are outdoor nature paths, light shows at night, and a fantastic museum. And it is all accessible by a stroller or a wheelchair!
A lot of the exhibits had videos showing how Mount Rushmore was built and the use of the equipment. My little man who is into all things construction found this part fascinating!
Some parts of the museum are even open for kids to touch =)
And of course, the occasional wild animal sighting! The kids thought the Mountain Goats were hilarious!