After driving through the night from St. Louis Missouri, we made it to South Dakota. It was a beautiful drive in the early morning light right into a hard rain storm. Thankfully, we drove out of it as we headed into Badlands National Park.

IMG_3960 IMG_3958

A random picture turned out to be a famous sculpture in South Dakota. IMG_3971IMG_3974

We went right to the park’s main visitor center, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, which wasn’t far from the interstate on the Badlands Loop Road (240). We bought the Junior Ranger booklets and looked around their displays and educational center. It was full of great info about the Badlands. From Geology to history, native culture and plant identification, they had it all and the kids loved it!

IMG_3986 IMG_3979 IMG_3980 IMG_3982 IMG_3983

We finished the Junior Ranger books and the kids became Junior Rangers for the first time. Then it was off to explore the park, do some hiking, stay on boardwalks when available, and run off some energy!



The Badlands can’t really be captured on camera. It is something that only the eyes, time, and space, can fully appreciate. The words WOW, Amazing, and LOOK! were used often and I tried my best to capture the beauty with my camera.

IMG_4076 IMG_4027

My son, pointing to an area where Volcanic ash, known as the Rockyford Ash, was deposited 30 million years ago, forming the bottom layer of the Sharps Formation. Lots of COOL Geology info here!

IMG_4031 IMG_4054 IMG_4058 IMG_4068

There was a great Fossil Exhibit Trail that held lots of great information and fun casts that could be touched of fossils found in the Badlands.

 IMG_4085 IMG_4087 IMG_4090

We saw our first rattlesnake, wild sheep, and prairie dogs of the trip along the roadsides and boardwalks of the Badlands.

IMG_4111 IMG_4091 IMG_4108

And then we were off to Hot Springs, South Dakota! Look for that blog coming soon… 🙂