"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 :)
you will see a sign for a low power radio station describing what is going on there.
We tuned in, you can listen here. The drive up the Avenue of the Chiefs built our anticipation for a great visit!
Here is a short film giving an overview of this monumental project.
The project was began in 1948 by Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and the legacy continues today by his children.
Admission is $28 for per vehicle with more than 2 people. That fee is waived during special events where food donations are accepted instead.
The grounds are beautiful with a great view of the carving-in-progress. There is a museum and the Laughing Water Restaurant where you can enjoy Indian Taco and other traditional Native American foods. We enjoyed a great dinner there! Pictured is the taco, Tatanka (Bison) Stew, and fry bread with wojapi (warm berry sauce) for a yummy dessert!
Begin your self-guided tour of the extensive museum at the information desk, the people there are happy to answer your questions!
There are a great many rooms to explore, you can make a day of it here! The main deck is a great viewpoint of Crazy Horse, you can see all the action when work is being done. There is also a scale model of what it will look like when complete on the deck. This model is in the display room behind me.
This room is the first one you see after coming off the main deck near the restaurant.
In this room is a bin of rocks from the monument that you can take for free!
The scale model showing what it will look like when finished. Al and I may not live long enough though to see that day unless they get a LARGE influx of money. This is being built entirely on donations.
Here are some other highlights in the rest of the building.
Inside of the teepee.
This was a surprise, a signed Packer football there 🙂
Korczak display room with artifacts from the family and early carvings.
A painting of Korczak at age 73.
This display room has a great many Native American artifacts from many tribes.
More to see downstairs.
It was thrilling seeing a real one on the way there!
We were reaching the conclusion of our tour. As we prepared to go, we saw a bus taking people out to the base of the mountain. We were a little too tired to do that today, but planning on it next time.
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!