You probably remember the anticipation and excitement you felt the night before a school field trip. Even though the bus rides sometimes seemed to take FOREVER, you always made fond memories exploring a new location and getting a well-deserved break from the classroom. But even though your official field trip days may be in the distant past, you can still enjoy the same places you explored in your youth. In fact, some of these places have only gotten better with age, and they’re definitely worth checking out as an adult. Here are 10 amazing field trips you may have taken as a kid in South Dakota and should retake now!
1. The South Dakota State Capitol Building, Pierre
James / Flickr
If you grew up in South Dakota, then you, along with your fellow classmates, probably had the privilege of exploring our state’s ornate and historic capitol building. The beautiful Terrazzo tile flooring and the 96-foot rotunda on the second floor are simply mesmerizing. Even as an adult a trip to Pierre for a tour of the state capitol building sounds like an educational and exciting adventure!
2. Washington Pavilion, Sioux Falls.
From interactive art exhibits and space exploration exhibitions to educational theater performances and films in the CineDome, there’s an engaging educational experience at just about every corner. Not only is The Washington Pavilion exciting as a kid, it’s also an absolute blast to explore as an adult. There’s a reason it’s the region’s premier entertainment, cultural and educational facility.
3. The Outdoor Campus, Sioux Falls and Rapid City.
You likely came to one of the Outdoor Campuses to learn about outdoor skills such as hunting, fishing, camping, kayaking, rock climbing and more! Complete with walking trails, bike trails, education programs for all ages, and an AWESOME park, both The Outdoor Campuses East and West offer phenomenal resources for people of all ages!
4. Laura Ingalls’s Homestead, De Smet.
Driving a covered wagon or pony cart, visiting a one-room school house, making crafts and learning about pioneer history is a blast at any age. If you got to go on this field trip, you’ll probably remember it forever, especially if you were a fan of the books. Visiting Laura Ingalls’s Homestead again as an adult can give you a whole new appreciation for this historical site and Dakota Territory history.
5. Mammoth Site, Hot Springs.
If you got to take a field trip here, then you got to examine some of the best-ice age fossils on the planet, make your own fossil imprint, look through the windows of an paleontology laboratory, and view the exhibits in the Ice Age Exhibit Hall. This is a fascinating place to explore no matter what age you are. In fact, it’s sites like this one that we probably appreciate even more as we age!
6. National Music Museum, Vermillion.
Founded in 1973, The National Music Museum is a state gem on the Campus of the University of South Dakota. For instrument players or those who have an appreciate for music, this place is heaven on Earth. With more than 13,500 American, European, and non-Western instruments from a variety of cultures and historical periods, this museum is downright legendary.
7. South Dakota Air & Space Museum, near Rapid City.
Learn all about aviation history and the great possibilities to come, view 28 aircraft and missile displays and walk among General Eisenhower’s personal B-25 transport from World War II. There’s so much history to see at our State’s Only Air and Space Museum that it’s almost unbelievable. A field trip here would probably be a highlight of your youth.
8. The Corn Palace, Mitchell.
If you grew up relatively close to Mitchell, then you likely had the opportunity to visit The World’s Only Corn Palace, learn about its rich history, and view the beautiful and unique corn mural. Now that you’ve grown up a bit, you might visit for a basketball game, concert, or another tour!
9. Bramble Park Zoo, Watertown.
Described as a “living classroom,” Bramble Park Zoo offers scientific programs and tours for children of all ages. Touring the outside exhibits, feeding the animals and having an opportunity to view 500 mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates is never not fascinating for animal lovers!
10. Big Thunder Gold Mine, Keystone.
If you visited this 1880s gold mine, you enjoyed a fascinating tour, learned all about the mining trade and the history of local mining, and even tried your hand at panning for gold and gems. (You probably still have your container of gold somewhere, right?) Needless to say, you don’t have to be a kid to find this gold mine utterly captivating.
Your field trip destinations definitely varied depending on where you grew up in South Dakota. What was your favorite field trip as a kid?