Amusement parks in South Dakota reflect the Black Hills region. From animals and natural landscapes to kid-friendly amusements, there's something for every member of the family to enjoy and remember about their time here. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on family-fun parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about South Dakota amusement parks.
Bear Country U.S.A.A 250-acre park with more than 100 bears, Bear Country U.S.A. is located eight miles south of Rapid City. Founded in 1972, it offers visitors close-up views of many North American mammals from the comfort of their cars.
Bears, Bears And BearsVisitors take a three-mile drive through several enclosures in the park. Along the way, they can see black bear, elk, reindeer, deer, cougars, bobcats, rocky mountain goats, bighorn sheep, Dall sheep and buffalo. The self-described "home of the largest collection of privately owned black bear in the world," Bear Country USA offers visitors a chance to see animals frolic in a pool, climb trees and amble across the road. Approximate tour time is two hours.
Other AttractionsBear Country U.S.A.'s recently expanded Wildlife Center displays its younger and smaller animals like black bear cubs and wolf pups. Visitors are able to get out of their cars here. Other displays include otters, grizzly bears, bobcats, mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, badgers and skunks.
Hungry As A Bear?Bear Country U.S.A.'s Grizzly Grill features cotton candy, cold drinks and basket meals.
Safety RecordAside from a family dispute among the owners of Bear Country U.S.A., our research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Bear Country U.S.A.
Address: 13820 S. Highway 16, Rapid City, SD 57702
Hours: Bear Country U.S.A. is open May through late November. In the peak season from June to August, hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. In "shoulder season," or May and September to November, hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Bear Country U.S.A. may close due to inclement weather in October and November.
Price: For private vehicles: adults, $16; seniors 62 and older, $13; children 5 to 12, $10; children 4 and younger, free. The maximum charge per vehicle is $55. There are also group rates for 15 people or more and season passes are $125.
Black Hills Maze
Since the maze was first built in 1991, The Black Hills Maze has grown to include plenty more kid-friendly fare. Its attractions include a 360-degree climbing rock and a miniature golf course with a local history theme, among others.
Main AttractionAs the name implies, the Maze is the centerpiece of the park. It is constructed of pressure-treated Douglas Fir and covers over 39,000 square feet. It features more than 1.2 miles of walkways, bridges and stairs, including four second-level bridges and four second-level towers. A new configuration is created every two weeks.
What Else?The Black Hills Maze also includes Bankshot Basketball, which is a combination of miniature golf, basketball and billiards; a batting cage for kids and adults; Maze Mountain, which the company says is the only true free-standing 360 degree rock in the area; Roller Racers, a kids' ride with a seat and swing handle bars; Water Wars, in which participants load launchers with water balloons and take aim at their opponents and mini golf with a Black Hills history theme.
Food OptionsFast food options are available, but guests can also bring snacks and eat at picnic tables.
Safety RecordOur research revealed no notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Black Hills Maze.
Address: 6400 South Highway 16, Rapid City, SD 57701
Hours: The park is open May 1 through Sept. 30 Monday through Thursday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The maze is open weekends in May and September.
Price: The Deluxe Package, including the Maze, Maze Mountain, Bank Shot Basketball, Mini-Golf, Water Wars and Batting Cage, $19.80; The Regular Package, including the Maze, Bank Shot Basketball, Water Wars and Batting Cage $16.82; Individually, the Maze: adults, $8.99, children 5 years and younger and seniors older than 60, free; Maze Mountain: $6.45; Bank Shot Basketball: $4.61; Water Wars: $4.61; Batting Cage: $2.76; Mini-Golf: $5.53. Roller Racers and the Children's Play Area are free. Group rates are also available.
Other Noteworthy Parks Near South DakotaThunder Road Ranch Amusement Park Old McDonald’s Farm 1880 Train Catfish Bay Waterski Park
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