This park is an ecosystem all its own and a testament to survival. The indomitable spirit of plant, beast, and man.

We stretched our tour of the Badlands National Park into two half-days.  On our first day, we were driving in from Jackson Minnesota. We concentrated our efforts in the visitor center that afternoon.

Other than a prior knowledge of the geological formations in the Badlands National Park, I was unaware of what this area had to offer in the way of education.  Honestly, I was surprised.

Badlands National Park Visitor Center

junior ranger

The Junior Ranger program is a great way to get kids involved and thinking about the Park you are visiting.

The visitor center opened up a whole new perspective on paleontology. Plus, we were able to see the work artifact finders use to make their discoveries.  Each day, a lab with paleontologists are relentlessly working to sift through and preserve the abundant fossils found in the park.

prehistoric display

I am so glad he love photography! He provides me with my best shots like the Header photo for this post.

The exhibit area showcased the scientific history of the Badlands and displayed some prehistoric animals originally inhabiting the park. It continued a timeline all the way to the settlers who homesteaded this difficult land.  The Badlands National Park visitor center also offers a video to give you an up close look at some of the more unique features of the park.

The gift shop was nice and a fantastic break from the heat outside.  The park ranger helping with the Junior Ranger program was also fun.

Upon completing our tour of the visitor center, we made our way toward Interior South Dakota to camp at the White River KOA campground.

Cheese wagon

We tend to stick out a little bit in the Cheese Wagon. What do you think?

The RV parking was nice and close to the side entrance.

Day 2 – Driving the loop

On our second day, we drove the Park loop using a guide book to narrate our way through the park.

We stopped at the fossil trail and let the kids climb on the chalky hills.  Did I mention it was hot?  The air was super dry and felt like we were in God’s oven.

The heat was not a deterrent for my little climbers.

Continuing our drive we were able to see goats, prairie dogs towns, and other wildlife.  We also stopped at the panoramic view point to get a good look at this majestic arid landscape.

wildlife on the road

I left the park feeling a little unsettled.  Everything in the park shows so much struggle against a varied temperature and the “infernal winds” yet is also a beauty with understated strength.

Shanda Smith
A Wife, Mother, horseback riding, RV-ing, travel enthusiast always looking for the next adventure. As the Matriarch of a homeschooling family of four we keep our suitcases packed and our atlas handy. Join us on our adventures. With Love and Coffee, Shanda

1 Comment

Leave a Response