8 of the Biggest & Best Attractions in South Dakota
July 23rd, 2018 By Cindy Mason
SURPRISE! Visitors will be surprised to discover some of the biggest attractions in South Dakota are right here in the Southeast region, and even some that can't be found anywhere else in South Dakota - or the world. Summer is the perfect time of the year to explore and visit new places. Check out these Five Must Stop Places in Southeast South Dakota.
1. SOUTH DAKOTA'S LARGEST Waterpark!
Wild Water West, in Sioux Falls, features numerous waterslides varying from calm(er) tube slides to a six-story high drop slide! The park also features a swim up bar, lazy river, bumper boats and a wave pool. Have fun with your family at the Caribbean Falls, Activity Pool, or the Baby Pool. When you need a break from the water, go on an adventure racing on go-karts, bumper boats, or play a round mini golf. Batting cages and sand volleyball add to the list of fun. Delicious concessions and more fun are scattered throughout the park. Wild Water West is a great location to spend hot summer days.
2. WORLD'S ONLY Corn Palace!
Mitchell proudly boasts the World’s Only Corn Palace. The Palace was first built in 1892 and was conceived as a gathering place for friends and family to enjoy a fall festival with stage entertainment. The festival continues today as the Corn Palace Festival during August of every year! The Palace attracts half a million visitors each year and is redecorated annually with new designs in thirteen shades of colored corn, grains, and grasses. The decorating process usually takes four months to complete. It may be corny to visit, but you’ll have an a-mazeing time!
3. SOUTH DAKOTA'S LARGEST Sculpture Park!
Porter Sculpture Park, near Montrose, isn’t your typical art experience. It features numerous sculptures ranging from small to gigantic and they are all wildly imaginative. Currently the largest is a 60 ft. tall bull head! In August there will be an even larger addition - a 40 ft. tall, 60 ft. long steel horse that weighs 40 tons. You can take as many pictures as you want and touch the sculptures. The park is pet friendly and has golf carts for use. When visiting, you can chat with the creator of the sculptures, Wayne and pet his dog, Bambino. Porter Sculpture Park has been featured in numerous national newspapers and websites.
4. SOUTH DAKOTA'S ONLY Butterfly House and Salt Water Aquarium!
Spread your wings and visit the Butterfly House and Aquarium in Sioux Falls. The beautiful topical setting lets you relax and learn in an interactive environment. The Butterfly House and Aquarium is the only public salt-water aquarium and only enclosed butterfly house that is open year round in South Dakota. Visit the tropical garden that is 80-85 degrees year round and embrace over 800 exotic butterflies flying around you! Some may even land on you! You can also touch Sharks and Stingrays in the touch pool, experience 360 degrees of coral reefs, and view hundreds of marine life in over 10,000 gallons of water. The Butterfly House and Aquarium is the perfect place to take a trip to the tropics right here in South Dakota!
5. One of the WORLD'S LARGEST Musical Instrument Collections!
The National Music Museum in Vermillion is one of the most renowned institutions of its kind in the world, housing 15,000 musical instruments spanning five centuries from around the globe: Stradivari violin, guitar and mandolin; the earliest know cello; Adolphe Sax saxophones and so much more. You can see instruments previously owned by famous music personalities including Elvis, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and B.B. King. Some of the most important instruments in history are on display. The museum has announced plans to expand, adding 16,000 sq. ft. of new exhibit space in order to display more of their collection. The addition will also include a performance hall, conservation lab and more. Visit before Oct. 7 when they will close temporarily for this major renovation.
6. SOUTH DAKOTA'S ONLY Active Archeological Site Open to the Public!
Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is a 1,000 year old Indian village. The people who lived here lived in earthen lodges that were built on a bluff overlooking what was then a creek; the creek was dammed in 1928 to create Lake Mitchell. There are 70 to 80 lodges buried on our grounds. Students from England and Augustana University in Sioux Falls come each summer for the annual Summer Archaeology Field School to continue excavations of the site. The Boehnen Memorial Museum houses a full-sized reproduction of an earthen lodge, exhibits, a bison skeleton. There are interactive, fun, educational activities for all ages.
7. WORLD'S LARGEST Archery Complex!
Whether you're a champion or beginner archer or you want to try it for the first time, head to Yankton and visit the NFAA Easton Yankton Archery Complex. The archery complex is the largest in the world with nearly 100 acres to perfect your skills. The NEYAC is open to all skill levels and ages, from beginners to pros. If archery isn’t your thing, check out the art studio, tennis courts and fitness studio to explore and find new hobbies! Most recently, the archery complex hosted the World Indoor Archery Championships. As fun as archery can be, there are a lot of drawbacks.. (Pun Intended)
8. LARGEST South Dakota State Park Campground
Lewis & Clark Recreation Area has the largest state park campground in the state with 418 campsites as well as 19 camping cabains. Within 2 miles you will find two more state park campgrounds, Chief White Crane (146 campsites) and Pierson Ranch Recreation Areas (67 campsites). There is also an equestrian campground with corrals and trails. If you don't want to rought it in a camper or tent then Lewis & Clark Resort is perfect for you. They offer hotel rooms or two and three bedroom cabins as well as a beautiful lake front lodge for large gatherings. Lewis & Clark Rec Area is situated on the shores of picturesque Lewis & Clark Lake and offers water sports, fishing, swimming, plus trails, disc golf, soccer, archery, volleyball and more! It's an outdoor oasis for relaxation and rejuvination.