Celebrate South Dakota Milestones, Exciting New Events and Attractions
PIERRE, SD (July 22, 2014) – Home to iconic monuments, stunning national and state parks teeming with wildlife, fun family attractions, world-famous roadside stops and endless outdoor adventures, South Dakota offers the perfect destination for a summer getaway or road trip. This year presents an exceptional time to visit, as South Dakota celebrates its 125th anniversary of statehood. In addition to new attractions, activities, lodging and festivals, visitors will find special anniversary events taking place in towns and communities throughout the state.
The following are a few examples of what visitors will find when visiting South Dakota this summer. For more information, visit www.travelsd.com.
South Dakota Celebrates its 125th Anniversary of Statehood: The celebration of South Dakota’s 125th anniversary has prompted a number of community events to mark this milestone year. From traditional wagon trains and commemorative exhibits to celebratory festivals and special historic hikes, towns and cities around the state are doing their part to honor the state’s history and culture. For a full listing of 125th anniversary community celebrations, visit www.125.sd.gov.
75th Anniversary of Badlands National Park: One of America’s most popular and iconic national parks, the Badlands were designated as a national monument in 1939. Visitors are invited to come celebrate the 75th anniversary and see the unique landscape of spires, canyons and buttes that has become a beloved landmark in South Dakota.
100th Anniversary of the Buffalo Returning to Custer State Park: One hundred years ago, the American Bison was near extinction due to hunting. Since the program to re-introduce the buffalo into Custer State Park began in 1914, the buffalo population has grown into a herd of 1,300, one of the largest publicly-owned herds in the world. An annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park is held each fall and takes place this year on September 26.
40th Anniversary of the Mammoth Site: 2014 marks 40 years since the discovery of what is now known as the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs. The site is an active paleontological dig and National Natural Landmark. To date, 61 mammoths have been unearthed at the site, making the site the world’s largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world. The Mammoth Site is hosting unique and exciting events throughout the summer, including Junior and Advanced Paleontological Digs and an Atlatl Throwing Experience.
Celebratory Events and Festivals:
South Dakota’s 125th Birthday Wagon Train: The wagon train will take place from September 3-20, and will travel from the former territorial capitol in Yankton to the state capitol in Pierre. Visitors and locals are invited to join for any length of the journey, which will include stops along the route to meet and talk with locals and learn about the history in each area. For more details, visit www.125.sd.gov.
South Dakota Peach Festival: The first annual South Dakota Peach Festival will take place at Yankton Trail Park in Sioux Falls, July 26-27. The event will feature two days of live music, a peach dessert contest, and peach-flavored foods to taste and purchase with everything from pies and cobbler to ice cream and jams.
New Attractions and Offerings:
River Greenway Project: With the grand opening celebration held in June, the River Greenway Project, which focuses on the historic Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls, helps to restore and enhance the beauty of the area. The project includes an amphitheater, interactive water feature, improved walking trails and two new pedestrian bridges.
Founding Fathers Black Hills: This summer, visitors can get in touch with their patriotic side at the new Independence Hall: Home of the Founding Fathers, located near Rapid City. Opened June 15, the life-size sculpture installation of John Trumbull’s iconic “Declaration of Independence” painting offers a true American experience. The building shares a likeness with Philadelphia’s real-life Independence Hall. Inside, visitors can hear the amazing story of how the patriots forged the American Revolution. Just like the 56 men, you will have a chance to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Rippin Rapids Resort and Adventure Sports: Set to open this year in Rapid City, this huge three-dimensional resort will offer thrilling waterslides, tubing rides and a wave machine for surfing. For land adventures, guests will be able to rock climb, zip line, and do rope and obstacle courses. In addition, there will be a connected 100-room hotel for visitors, all under one roof.
Akela Spa: The state’s newest and only destination spa opened its doors in February 2014, just a mile from Deadwood in the heart of the Black Hills. The full-service spa, Akela, which draws its name from the Lakota word “Abla Kela” meaning “calm,” offers treatments that incorporate natural ingredients indigenous to the area including lavender, sage, pine and cedar oil.
Deadwood Mountain Grand Spa: Located in the Deadwood Mountain Grand Resort, the spa opened in February 2014. A full line of salon and spa services is available including a variety of massages, European anti-aging and anti-acne facials, manicures, pedicures, and beauty salon treatments.
Denny Sanford PREMIER Center: Set to be completed this fall, the new Denny Sanford PREMIER Center will add 30,000 sq. ft. of space for a combined total of over 132,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and event space to the current Convention Center and Arena Complex. The new space will seat 12,000 people for concerts and will be the largest venue in the region.
Belle Joli Winery: The winery, with its original location in Belle Fourche and another in Deadwood, plans to open South Dakota’s first sparkling wine distillery and tasting room in Sturgis before the end of 2014. The winery is known for its unique fruit wines made with apples, strawberries and cherries.
Firehouse Wine Cellars: Newly constructed and opened in Rapid City this past spring, Firehouse Wine Cellars offers tours, wine tastings and a wine club with memberships. The winery also features state-of-the-art equipment with a fully automated bottling line.
Easyriders Saloon Dinner Theater: The Sturgis Dinner Theater opened in the existing Easyriders Saloon this past March in Sturgis with a 20-foot screen and seats 70 people. The theater has a full bar, along with burgers, burritos and more for moviegoers to enjoy as they watch new and classic movies in recliner-style chairs.
Lodging Enhancements and Expansions:
Cedar Pass Lodge Cabins: This year, the popular lodge expanded by adding new guest cabins for visitors to the Badlands. The cabins, constructed in Rapid City, are eco-friendly and were built to meet Gold LEED standards. The exteriors are designed to resemble the original cabins built in 1928 at Cedar Pass, while using repurposed and energy saving efficiencies. The interiors are lined with fallen beetle-kill pine from the Black Hills and the blue streaking you see in the wood is a trait left from the natural defense of the pine tree.
Adoba Hotel: The environmentally-friendly hotel re-opened in Rapid City in May 2013 after undergoing multi-million dollar renovations, including all eco-friendly rooms along with eclectic decor. To ensure limited environmental impact, renovations included sustainable/recycled products, energy efficient lighting (focusing on LED technology) and water efficient fixtures. The hotel is continuing renovations to increase the resort’s sustainability and enhance public areas, like the lobby and ballroom, to make the property entirely eco-friendly. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2014.
Hilton Garden Inn Downtown: One of the newest hotels in Sioux Falls, the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown opened in November 2013. The hotel features an indoor pool, fitness center, restaurant and lounge called Elements on 8th.
La Quinta Inn & Suites: Opened in March of this year, the La Quinta Inn & Suites in Sioux Falls is located in the heart of Sioux Falls. Guests can enjoy easy access to the retail district, restaurants and sports venues.
For more information about exploring South Dakota and all of the state’s new and exciting offerings for 2014, visit www.travelsd.com.
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