This day tour will find you exploring your patriotism in Rapid City and the Central Black Hills. Begin your day in Rapid City learning about the history of our nation’s past presidents. Rapid City is the only location in the world where all United States presidents can be seen as life-sized bronze sculptures positioned on the street corners downtown. Take the self-guided tour of The City Presidents and snap a photo with your favorite US President!
While downtown you may also consider stopping at the historic Hotel Alex Johnson. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hotel Alex Johnson is renowned for hosting six U.S. Presidents, including Calvin Coolidge, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan. View the lobby and feel the lasting presence of our past Presidents.
Once you have experienced The City of Presidents make your way to Independence Hall: Founding Fathers Black Hills*. At Founding Fathers history meets art in a 3-dimensional depiction featuring a life-size sculpture installation of John Trumbull’s iconic “Declaration of Independence” painting. Travel back in time, meet the men who helped formed our country and hear this amazing story. This tour will be a time to remember and a time to fully understand how these patriots forged the American Revolution and invented a country!
Contact Visit Rapid City for group-friendly dining options for lunch.
Following your visit to Founding Fathers, continue to Keystone and visit the National Presidential Wax Museum,* where you will recapture the spirit of America's heritage in wax! Meet face-to-face our most beloved heroes and share in their historic glories. See life-like, life-size wax figures of all US Presidents in authentic period costumes and accurately detailed surroundings. Experience President Roosevelt at Yalta, Dolly Madison at a White House reception or President Richard Nixon aboard the USS Hornet as he welcomes the returning astronaut’s home from their moon flight.
After taking your picture with wax presidential figures, make your way to Our Shrine of Democracy - Mount Rushmore. This memorial communicates the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of our founding fathers. It is a symbol of America, a symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds. Visit the Lincoln Borglum Museum, located below the GrandView Terrace, to learn more about this amazing sculpture through exhibits and a 14-minute film describing the reasons for and methods used in carving Mount Rushmore. Walk the Presidential Trail for up close and personal views of the mountain sculpture. Finally, visit the Sculptor's Studio*, where Gutzon Borglum spent much of his time refining his scale model of Mount Rushmore. Guests who want to learn even more or who may be mobility impaired can take advantage of the audio wands available. The Mount Rushmore Audio Tour is a recorded guide incorporating narration, music, interviews, sound effects and historic recordings.
LATE AFTERNOON/EARLY EVENING
After a fantastic day discovering more about our country’s Leaders, take a tour through one of America’s largest state parks - Custer State Park with wildlife encounters including a herd of American Bison numbering over 1,000. After touring the 71,000 acre park, experience a presidential dinner in the dining room at the State Game Lodge & Resort, which served as the “Summer White House" for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and also visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. The Game Lodge was built in 1920 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Following dinner, relax with a stroll along Grace Coolidge Creek named after the first lady.
Consider returning to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial for the evening lighting ceremony which runs mid-May through September. Join a park ranger in the Memorial’s outdoor amphitheater for an inspirational program focusing on the Presidents, patriotism and our nation’s history.
In lieu of dining at State Game Lodge, return to Mount Rushmore after your Custer State Park tour to ‘dine with Presidents.’ Dinner in Carver’s Café offers an expansive menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner with stunning views of the Memorial.
End your day in your relaxing Rapid City accommodations, several of which many past US Presidents have called home.
*Denotes a seasonal attraction.