Matt had to travel to Rapid City, SD for work, and his company was gracious enough to let the entire clan tag along, so we packed up the minivan and headed West! My mom was a saint and came with us. She helped A TON. There's no way we could have done this trip without her. Tripp is at an age where he wants to run & climb everywhere. Erik, in all his potty training glory, wants to be held whenever he has to pee or poo. And Dane likes to wander off. So...we really needed my mom's eyes and arms at all times. Luckily, she was up for it and had a great time chasing after, and snuggling, the boys.
Our trip got off to a rocky start. First, we got into a fender bender. Then we got a speeding ticket. And then we got stuck in a hail storm. But once we got here, it was all worth it.
We had been hyping up Mount Rushmore to Dane. We spent some of the drive telling him about the famous Presidents and why they were important. Well, once we got there we began hiking along a trail where you can look up and see all the faces. And Dane shouted out, "Mom, I can see Thomas Linkerham!" Close Dane, close.
Here is my awesome Mom climbing up and down the stairs with Tripp.
Dane petting a snake at Reptile Gardens!
Erik petting a giant tortoise. Doesn't he look like he could be a zoo keeper with that cute hat?
Forced fun on the giant turtle.
We drove through Bear Country and saw tons of wildlife. We loved these arctic wolves. They just walked up to our car. It felt very New Moon-ish :-).
The wildlife, including hundreds of bears, roamed free. So we got to see them in their element. The boys loved it. They squealed every time they saw an animal, and they screamed whenever one came close to our car.
This bear used a log for a scratching post.
And this one used a sign post. Hee hee!
We also went to an indoor waterpark. We thought the boys would absolutely love it. They all love water and swimming, so we thought it was perfect. But it was the biggest BUST of the weekend. The facility was super loud, and there was a giant bucket that would dump water all over the kid area every few minutes. Well, apparently it was scary. So the boys played for a little while, we had lunch, and then we left. At least the adults had fun :-).
We visited Roughlock Falls in Spearfish. At least the boys weren't scared of that loud water...
As you can probably guess by the look on Erik's face, this photo op did not end well. There was scratching and tears involved :-(.
Overall, we had a really, really fun time in South Dakota! We loved exploring new places and creating family memories. Hopefully, we'll get back there again when the boys are older. We'd love to go horse back riding and hiking. And maybe try the waterpark one more time... :-)