Mount Rushmore & Bear Country USA!

For those of you who don’t know, Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a massive sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota! Bear Country USA is a seasonal drive-through wildlife park with wolves, bears, elk & other North American animals. These destinations were part of our epic Mid-West road trip!

Mount Rushmore

I’m not sure why I was so excited to finally see Mount Rushmore… maybe seeing it in movies or in textbooks all throughout my life? Needless to say, I was pretty cool to be standing in front of Mount Rushmore! A read a lot of articles noting that Mt. Rushmore is one of the most over-rated destinations in the US. But I was determined to be the judge of that!

The presidential portraits on the mountain are incredible but I felt like the artist, Gutzon Borglund, was centered more at the attraction than the former presidents. Do I think it’s worth visiting? Yes, I do! But it’s not worth buying a t-shirt, lol. Since we’re military, we got into the park for free! There is a small parking garage for everyone to park. I imagine the place gets pretty packed in the summer but since it was April and it was snowing, we didn’t have to worry about a crowd!

You walk about a half mile or so to the main viewing area of the platform. The National Park Service has definitely done their best to make the attraction more impressive and enjoyable but within an hour, you’ll be ready to leave. There is a small gift shop and museum as well but it was closed during on trip!

Bear County USA

Sometimes I really don’t have any common sense… Sure, why not ride in the car even more on our road trip to see bears?! Ehh, not my best decision but we still had fun! Bear County USA was open for the first time of the year so it was a little more crowded than usual.

The first part of the park is a drive through safari which was pretty cool. We saw elk, big horn sheep, antelope, buffalo, wolves, and of course, BEARS! All from the safety of our car… at least for most of us!

The park was pretty crowded so we were stopped quite a bit on the road waiting for people to take photos but Andrew created some hilarious photos on the go-pro to keep us entertained.

The second part of the park actually required us to park our car and walk! It was very much a zoo displaying series of animals such as beavers, badgers, fox, skunk, ground hogs, bobcats, and most obviously, baby bears!

The park actually kidnaps or maybe I should say captures, baby bears for visitors to play! It was fun to interact with them on such a personal level! We were able to touch them but not hold them… I know lame. But overall it was fun and a great way to stretch our legs during our road trip!