"Wisconsin-Happy Festival State", by Eve Phillips. My husband and I love to travel in the state of Wisconsin where we live and get great pictures on the way. My name is Laurie Kutil and photography has become a great passion of mine since 2010. One thing I have learned in researching each town before visiting it is that, "Every town has it's story". When I do uncover those stories by connecting with local residents, our experience becomes so much richer. In turn, sharing the stories with you brings me joy :)
The Mammoth Site is one of the must-see places to visit in Hot Springs. The first thing you see is a mammoth and the sign in the lawn, beckoning you in.
Nearby at the edge of the road is a marker too.
A walkway with informative signs lead to the spacious building enclosing the dig site from the weather.
Upon entering the building we see an enormous Mammoth skeleton! It was found in Kenosha County, Wisconsin. Wisconsin also had Mastadons. we saw the Mastadon site in Boaz, WI a few years ago.
We arrived about 3:00 so we only had 2 hours so we were sure the guided tour included in our admission would give us a good overview. We hope to return next year too fill in what we didn’t see. Read brochure for hours here.
The site was discovered in 1974 by heavy equipment operator George Hanson. A new housing development was slated to be built on the site. He began grading a small hill and struck bone. He halted work immediately and brought the bones he inadvertently excavated to his son Dan, who had taken archaeology and geology classes. Dan also called his former professor Dr. Larry Agenbroad and invited him to come examine the site. He arrived a week later and confirmed this was a major find! The land owner, Phil Anderson sold the land in 1975 so the work could continue. To this day, 62 mammoth skeletons have been discovered. The building housing the site was completed in 1986.
Our tour began with a 10 minute film, our guide Riley did a fine job. See our tour here first hand. After the film our group went to see the dig site. Riley took us around the pit, stopping at 5 vantage points and showing us many of the well-preserved bones.
After the tour we could explore the other exhibit rooms adjacent to the dig area. There was only time to see the Ice Age Exhibit Hall before they closed.
A Woolly Mammoth Bone House replica is here too. I apologize for the blurry 2nd pic.
We sure had a lot of fun here. We hope to return next year to see the rest of the museum and see further progress on the dig site. Our guide Riley did a fine job on the tour and explained everything well.
Donations gratefully accepted to continue the project!
We spent the day exploring the Black Hills of South Dakota riding along in our friend’s truck. He and his wife have lived here for 20 years so they know it well! Here is a map showing the area that we covered today.
We headed north from where they live in Hot Springs. They gave us the grand tour of the Hot Springs area the day before.
First, we drove through Wind Cave National Park. If we come back in the summer, we can see the cave itself, April is still in the off-season.we went into the hills, there was quite a bit of snow since we were at higher elevation, we were also brushing the bottom of the rather low cloud deck.
Enjoy a drive through the park, plenty of bison too!
Next, we drove through Custer State Park, at least partially. Our goal was to connect with Highway 16A, also known as Iron Mountain Road. It is 17 miles of amazing views, bridges and forest. Also tunnels carved right in the mountain! It is the scenic route to Mt. Rushmore. Unfortunately, the low cloud deck prevented us from seeing Mt. Rushmore from the third tunnel. I superimposed the view in the video to show you what it would have looked like.
Enjoy the ride!
The wildlife was abundant and were close enough to the road for easy viewing. It is recommended that you stay in your vehicle so not to scare them or in the case of bison, starting a stampede! We also saw Antelope, Elk, Bull Deer, and Prairie Dogs. Even Mountain Goats at Mt. Rushmore! So wonderful to see them in their natural environment.
After our drive through 16A, We went to Mt. Rushmore. Admission is free, parking is not however. It was $5 for our friends’ vehicle since he is a senior, $10 normally. Unfortunately, the cloud covering the monument didn’t lift. The elevation is at 4528 ft. and we had a low cloud deck all day. This is what we saw. disappointed, we left.
We then went to the Crazyhorse Memorial. It is about 1/2 hour away from Rushmore. This is a carving of Chief Crazy Horse that was begun by Korczak Ziolkowski after 1947 and continued until his death on Oct. 20, 1982. The weather was very different there, the cloud was clearing and we had sunshine!
A close up of the memorial.
You can make a day of it here. It costs $28 for a carload. The have a large museum that we explored. Also the Laughing Waters Restaurant, we enjoyed dinner here, the windows give you a great view of the monument while you are eating. The food was delicious and we hope to be back in 2018.
We all had a great day exploring the Black Hills. We hope to see more on our return visit and go back to Crazy Horse for one of their special events in the summer. As for Mt. Rushmore, we returned early the next morning and were blessed with sunny skies!