Brace yourself...South Dakota has a crazy amount of pictures as we had SO MUCH FUN here!!! We started in Sioux Falls...where apparently there are the most beautiful falls! Seriously...we must've looked like total idiots to the locals because all 5 of us were literally dumbfounded by these beautiful, amazing waterfalls!!! Come to find out, they originated in the Ice Age and were formed by the rush of melting glaciers...beautiful falls and a science/history lesson! We actually were so awestruck by the falls, we went back and got Craig to see for himself! The kids and I also spent a day exploring the Butterfly House/Aquarium which ended up giving us the neatest lessons on the ocean forest in Key West we apparently missed while we were there! Guess we need a trip back!!! From there we went to the local children's hands-on science exploratory. What a fun place this was! We happily spent a few hours playing, exploring and learning! Our night was topped off with a visit to what might be my new favorite store...Scheels! It is like Academy on steroids! I freely admit I have an unhealthy love relationship with Academy...well this is bigger and has interactive games/activities/rides to entertain the little people while you shop! A shooting range, bowling lanes, a basketball court and a ferris wheel to name a few!!! I am going to miss this when we leave this part of the country!!!\
Our next stop was a long one...we decided to spend Spring Break somewhere really fun, especially since we had two Birthdays here! Rapid City is home to a crazy amount of fun stuff! It has definitely changed since I visited as a kid!!! Besides the obvious (Mt. Rushmore & Custer State Park), it is like the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg of this part of the country! Unfortunately for us, a good amount of stuff was closed as it was still considered winter, but this means we are for sure going to come back!!! No worries though...there was still more than enough to keep us occupied! Custer State Park was something the kids and Craig were not expecting! You can have someone tell you as many times as they can that there are wild buffalo that walk right up to your car but until you actually experience it you have no idea what you are in for! The kids were literally hanging out of the Jeep in excitement! We saw so many animals including buffalo, many types of deer, bighorn sheep, and our favorite...wild prairie dogs! There were so many you could hear them talking to each other! The kiss and Craig thought it would be a great idea to get and out see if they could catch one...guess who stayed in the car taking pics of this brainiac idea!?!?! Next stop was Mt. Rushmore, Luke's stop! Our little president fanatic was so excited to get here!!! Let me tell you...it did not disappoint! Something about this massive mountain with images of presidents carved into it takes your breath away! We had watched a PBS documentary about it prior and the kids were fascinated to see how this wonder of art was actually built and then seeing how big it is in person left them speechless! Mt. Rushmore has changed since I was a kid and now has this mile long path you can take that literally leads you right up to the base of the carvings. Craig and the boys went out there and the picture I got is a real-life "Where's Waldo?"
Matt and I celebrated our Birthday here and Matt chose our activities for the big day! What fun we had with a visit to an indoor waterpark the night before, followed by a visit to the Reptile Center on our actual Birthday and dinner at a Japanese steakhouse! The reptile center is the Guinness Record Holding Center for most different types of species under one roof. We saw the biggest gator in North America (who looks like a baby dinosaur he's so huge!), the gator from James Bond, birds, owls, snakes, frogs, and so many random things we had never heard of before! Sharing my Birthday with my Matt means I have to look at crazy animals but there's always time for other activities when he is older and not interested in me! I was spoiled by my guys all day from start to finish and Matt had the very best day ever so we can call our Birthday a huge success!!!!