What To Do In South Dakota – Pierre

If you have been to the US state of South Dakota, chances are that you have visited Mount Rushmore National Memorial or Badlands National Park. Maybe you went to the state because of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which takes place annually in early August. So, maybe you haven’t been to a place in central South Dakota called Pierre. Pierre is a city that serves as the capital of the state.

The city which is located on the banks of the scenic Missouri River, has a population of approximately 14,000 residents. That makes Pierre the second smallest state capital in the US behind Montpelier, Vermont which you can learn about here. Pierre is one of only four state capitals that aren’t directly served directly by an interstate highway. For what to do in South Dakota, you will want to consider making a detour into Pierre.

South Dakota State Capitol

(Photo courtesy of J. Stephen Conn via Flickr)

Given the fact that Pierre is the state capital of South Dakota, the first place you will want to check out is the South Dakota State Capitol. It is located on East Capitol Avenue in Pierre. It houses the office of the governor, currently Kristi Noem, along with the state House of Representatives and the state Senate chambers. The state capital is renowned for its Neoclassical architectural style.

The state capitol features a copper dome, Corinthian columns, and rusticated walls of granite and Bedford limestone. The interior of the state capitol is just as gorgeous. The floors are decorated with terrazzo tiles which were placed by Italian workers. The state capitol is also known to feature murals and paintings. That include four large round paintings under the dome that feature four Greek goddesses.

They symbolize the four South Dakota themes of agriculture, livestock, mining, and family. The state capitol’s dome is about 96 feet high. There is a marble staircase inside the state capitol. Located outside on the state capitol’s scenic grounds which include a small lake, are four memorials. The first one is the Fighting Stallions Memorial.

This memorial honors the eight South Dakota residents, including former governor George S. Mickelson, who were killed in an airplane crash in April of 1993. The second memorial is the Flaming Fountain Memorial. It contains a fountain of continually burning flame sourced from natural gas. It was created to honor South Dakota veterans.

The Law Enforcement Officer Memorial honors the police officers who were killed in the line of duty. The World War II Memorial contains of six bronze figures that represent one branch of service that South Dakota residents took part in during World War II. The entrance admission to the state capitol is free for all.

South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center

The South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center is located on Governors Drive in Pierre. This is a unique attraction because of the way it is built. It is largely built underground and is covered by gentle rolling prairies. This attraction is home to a museum that is dedicated to the history and heritage of South Dakota. There are currently five permanent exhibits available to explore at the museum.

The first one is called The Ways of the People. This is the place to learn about the history, values, and beliefs of a group of American Indian tribes known as the Sioux. The Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota tribes make up the Sioux grouping.

The Proving Up exhibit concerns the history of South Dakota from the placing of the Verendrye Plate in 1743 through to the final competition in 1904 of localities seeking to become the state capital of South Dakota. This exhibit explores the adventures of explorers, trappers, settlers, miners, and statesmen that established South Dakota. The third exhibit is known as Changing Times – South Dakota in the 20th Century.

This exhibit examines the changes and challenges that South Dakota faced throughout the 20th century ranging from the Great Depression to the arrival of rail limes and automobiles. Silent Silos: South Dakota’s Missile Field is the fourth exhibit at the museum. This exhibit traces the development of the missile field in South Dakota that was used during the Cold War.

The fifth and final exhibit to mention is The Right is Ours: Women Win the Vote. This exhibit dives into the movement in South Dakota and across the US that resulted in women gaining the right to vote in state and national elections. In addition to check out these exhibits, you can head to the museum’s Observation Gallery in order to get a breathtaking view of the state capitol and the Missouri River bluffs.

The admission to this museum are $4 for adults and $3 for seniors. Those aged under 18 will receive free admission to the museum.

Trail of Governors

(Photo courtesy of Otis1000 via Wikipedia)

Another attraction worth checking out during your time in Pierre is the Trail of Governors. This is basically an outdoors attraction where you can view life-size bronze statues of all of South Dakota’s previous governors. The statues are spread out generally starting from the state capitol and continuing onto the Missouri River in downtown Pierre.

The first statues to be erected for the Trail of Governor was in 2012 starting with former governors Arthur C. Mellette, Harlan J. Bushfield, and Walter Dale Miller. The most recent additions took place in 2019 and include former governors Samuel H. Elrod, Archie M. Gubbrud, and Dennis Daugaard. So, as of right now, there are a total of 25 life-size bronze statues of former governors with six more still to come.

Also, current governor Kristi Noem will have her own statue erected once she leaves office. If you are interested in checking out these statues during your time in Pierre, you can go here to find a map for the Trail of Governors.

These are a few things you can do during you are in Pierre. So, when you’re in search for what to do in South Dakota, I would suggest you to exit Interstate 90 and drive 34 miles north on US Route 83 to Pierre so you can check out these attractions.

If you are looking for more to do within the state, one suggestion is for you to visit the scenic Black Hills area where Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located. You can head to this post to learn more about the area. You may also want to head here to learn more specifically about the few charming towns located in the Black Hills area.

Pierre Hotels

If you are looking for a place to stay at in Pierre, I am here to help you out. Here are two hotels I would suggest you to book with.

Governor’s Inn – Pierre

This hotel is located on West Sioux Avenue in Pierre. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Located outdoors onsite are BBQ facilities for cookouts. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include RedRossa Italian Grille, La Minestra, and Mad Mary’s Steakhouse & Saloon. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is also available for your usage.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $72 to $91. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

ClubHouse Hotel & Suites

This hotel is located on West Sioux Avenue in Pierre. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, there is a restaurant attached to the hotel called RedRossa Italian Grille. The hotel’s outdoor courtyard houses the firepits for soaking yourself in warmth. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is also available for your workouts.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $132 to $168. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning to head to Pierre to check out these attractions? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Washington State – National Parks

The US state of Washington is a breathtaking place filled with spectacular natural beauty. The state, located in the Pacific Northwest area of the country, is home to diverse landscapes ranging from lush temperate rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula to snow-capped mountains and volcanoes in the Cascades Range to the high deserts in eastern Washington state.

Given all the scenic backdrops, one of the great things to do in Washington state is to visit the national parks. The state is home to three national parks in total. They are Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and North Cascades National Park.

Olympic National Park

(Photo courtesy of Ralph Arvesen via Flickr)

Olympic National Park is located on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state. This lush national park has a few distinct environments I would like to note. First, there is the rugged Pacific Ocean shoreline. The shoreline is noted for its tall seastacks, rocky and sandy beaches, and old growth forests. Around seventy miles of the ocean shoreline is covered as a part of Olympic National Park.

Kalaloch and Ruby Beach is a great place to go for a walk along the ocean shoreline. A variety of birds can be found wandering around on this sandy beach including western gulls and bald eagles. Another notable environment found in the national park is the snow-capped Olympic Mountains from which this national park got its name.

The mountains reach as high as 7,962 feet in elevation, making them easily visible from certain spots within the national park. Hurricane Ridge is the easiest area within the mountains to reach. You can reach it by heading on Mount Angeles Road and Hurricane Ridge Road about 17 miles south of Port Angeles. Once you reach up there. You will be treated to some breathtaking views of the national park.

Between the Olympic Mountains and the Pacific Ocean shoreline, you will find the temperate rainforests. This area is known for being the wettest area in the continental United States, averaging a whopping 150 inches of rain per year. This allow mosses and ferns to thrive on the surfaces of the temperate rainforests under lush green canopies of deciduous and coniferous trees.

The Hoh Rainforest is the most famous of the temperate rainforests in the national park and there are multiple hiking trails available throughout this rainforest. The area east of the Olympic Mountains is much drier than the temperate rainforests, averaging around a third of the annual rainfall or so. This area of the national park contain old growth forests of towering Douglas fir trees.

Lakes and rivers are also found within the national park. The entrance fee for Olympic National Park are $30 for vehicles, $25 for motorcycles, and $15 for those arriving on foot or bicycles.

Hotel Suggestion: Olympic Lodge

This hotel is located on Del Guzzi Drive in Port Angeles north of Olympic National Park. This hotel is renowned for its rustic lobby that features a wood-burning fireplace, a chandelier, and artwork. There is also beautiful landscaping on the hotel’s grounds inspired by nearby Olympic National Park. Whistling Frog Restaurant is the hotel’s onsite restaurant.

There is an outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for your workouts. The hotel’s rooms and suites are beautifully designed with warm wood tones and rustic furnishings. They all come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $148 to $253. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Mount Rainier National Park

(Photo courtesy of Samuel Kerr via Wikimedia)

Mount Rainier National Park is located about 60 miles southeast of Seattle in the central section of the Cascades Range. The national park is world famous for being the location of snow-capped Mount Rainier – an active volcano. At 14,410 feet high, it is the highest point in Washington state. Mount Rainier is an iconic symbol of the state’s natural beauty.

In fact, when somebody thinks of Washington state, they will probably think of Mount Rainier. The active volcano is ringed by subalpine wildflower meadows. The lower slopes of the active volcano is covered by ancient forests. The national park contains five major rivers and twenty-five major glaciers.

Some of the most notable animals to be found in the national park include Columbian black-tailed deer, Douglas squirrels, Stellar’s jays, and ravens. The national park contains many hiking trails with varying lengths and challenge levels for you to choose from. They are split into five areas of the national park – Longmire, Paradise, Sunrise, Ohanapecosh, and Carbon/Mowich.

The longest hiking trail within the national park is the Wonderland Trail. It lasts for an eye-popping 93 miles and heads in a massive, continuous circle. This is also the most challenging trail to embark on.

You will be gaining and losing a lot of elevation along the way, ranging from 2,815 feet at Maple Creek to 6,245 feet at Sunrise Camp. The entrance fees for Mount Rainier National Park are $30 for vehicles, $25 for motorcycles, and $15 for those arriving by foot or bicycle.

Hotel Suggestion: La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Auburn

This hotel is located on 6th Street SE in Auburn some 50 miles northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few options for nearby restaurants include Sun Break Cafe, Athens Pizza & Pasta, and Oddfellas Pub & Eatery Auburn. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub available 24 hours per day.

A 24-hour fitness center is also available for you to use at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $99 to $179. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

North Cascades National Park

(Photo courtesy of National Park Service/Deby Dixon via Wikimedia)

North Cascades National Park is located near the US and Canada international border within the Cascades Range of Washington state. Out of the three national parks in the state, this is the largest national park at 500,000 acres. The national park is known for its huge number of glaciers on jagged peaks. There are more than three hundred glaciers within the national park.

This results in the national park having the most expansive glacial system in the contiguous United States. The highest point in the national park is Goode Mountain which stand at 9,220 feet high. Many of the glacier-capped jagged peaks within the national park exceed 8,000 and 9,000 feet in elevation. There are over three hundred lakes contained within North Cascades National Park.

The Skagit River travels through the national park on its way to Puget Sound. This is the largest river to empty into Puget Sound. Hundreds of streams and creeks also flow through the forested valleys of the national park. There are nearly four hundred miles of hiking trails throughout the national park. Unlike the other two national parks in Washington state, there are no entrance fees for North Cascades National Park.

Hotel Suggestion: Best Western Plus Skagit Valley Inn and Convention Center

This hotel is located on Market Street in Mount Vernon around 57 miles west of North Cascades National Park. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Olive Garden, Sakura Japanese SteakHouse & Sushi Bar, and Max Dale’s Steak & Chop House. The hotel is home to an outdoor heated swimming pool as well as a fitness center for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $99 to $141. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

National parks are one great option for things to do in Washington state. They help to showcase the incredible natural beauty that the state is known for. What are your thoughts? Have you been to Washington state before? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Chicago For Parks – Grant Park

About a couple weeks ago, I discussed Chicago’s scenic Lincoln Park and all of the beauties that you can feast your eyes on within this park. While Lincoln Park is well worth the visit, the park that Chicago is more famous for is Grant Park. Sandwiched between the Chicago Loop and Lake Michigan, this park has been referred to as Chicago’s front yard.

Even though Grant Park is not as large as Lincoln Park, it is dense with sub-parks and attractions, ensuring that there is plenty to do within the park. So, if you are in Chicago for parks, you will want to make sure that you don’t miss out on Grant Park.

(Photo courtesy of Diego Delso via Wikimedia)

Millennium Park

(Photo courtesy of Ken Lund via Wikimedia)

Located in the northwestern section of Grant Park lies Millennium Park. There are a few attractions found within this park. The first one is called Cloud Gate. It is basically a giant sculpture that serve as a mirror that reflects the surrounding area including a line of iconic Chicago Loop buildings. Cloud Gate is shaped like a bean. That is why Cloud Gate has been referred to as The Bean.

The second of the attractions is the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. It is a oval-shaped lawn that lies under curving plates of stainless steel. It is often used as a venue for music performances. It can also be used to sit down and have picnics while taking in the surrounding scenery. Also located in Millennium Park is the Crown Fountain. It houses a pair of transparent glass brick towers.

The two towers are each 50 feet high. They show LED videos of individual faces in which water can be spit out of their mouths and into the black granite reflecting pool below. Garden lovers will want to check out the beautiful Lurie Garden, also located in Millennium Park. It is home to a combination of perennials, bulbs, grasses, shrubs, and trees. The garden is divided into half by a boardwalk and canal.

Maggie Daley Park

(Photo courtesy of Monicaacosta34 via Wikimedia)

Maggie Daley Park is located across Columbus Drive to the east from Millennium Park. The two parks are connected by a snake-like girder footbridge called the BP Pedestrian Bridge. Maggie Daley Park is the newest park within Grant Park, having only been open since late 2014. If you have young children with you, you will want to check out the attraction called the Play Garden as it was created with young children in mind.

The Play Garden is divided into six diverse play areas for young children. They are The Wave Lawn, The Harbor, The Watering Hole, The Slide Crater, The Enchanted Forest, and The Sea. Garden lovers will want to check out the Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Garden which honors those who have survived cancer.

The garden is split into three garden rooms that represent the three states of healing – acceptance, support, and celebration. The garden’s entrance is marked by two 40-foot Corinthian columns. The garden contains a perennial garden walkway lined with flowers, trees, and shrubs. In addition to the Play Garden and Cancer Survivors Garden, Maggie Daley Park has a few other attractions worth checking out.

They include a mini-golf course, an ice skating ribbon, and rock climbing walls. Picnic groves and winding walkways are also available.

Buckingham Fountain

(Photo courtesy of H. Michael Miley via Wikimedia)

Buckingham Fountain is located in the east central section of Grant Park. This is one of the largest fountains in the world. The fountain is designed to resemble a rococo wedding cake. The fountain contains a total of 193 jets for the water to spring from, including the center jet that shoots water up to 150 feet high in the air. This results in spectacular water displays.

The fountain’s water displays happen from April through October. For twenty minutes every hour, the fountain will produce a major water display with regular ones being produced during the rest of the time. During dusk, the fountain will show off its colorful lighting effect during major water displays, making them even more stunning than they already are.

During the winter months, the fountain is decorated with gorgeous festival lights. The fountain is surrounded by permeable pavers with seasonal plantings and gardens.

Art Institute of Chicago

(Photo courtesy of Kim Scarborough via Wikimedia)

The Art Institute of Chicago is located just south of Millennium Park within Grant Park. This is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. This art museum is home to a collection of nearly 300,000 works of art. Some of the most notable of these include A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, The Old Guitarist by Pablo Picasso, Nighthawks by Edward Hopper, and American Gothic by Grant Wood.

The art museum’s art collection is divided into eleven categories. Some of them include African Art and Indian Art of the Americas, Ancient and Byzantine, Architecture and Design, Asian Art, European Decorative Art, and Modern and Contemporary. The art museum is divided into two buildings separated by open-air railroad tracks. The two buildings are connected by two floors of gallery space.

The art museum’s western entrance is marked by two bronze lion statues while the eastern entrance is marked by the stone arch that once marked the entrance to the old Chicago Stock Exchange. The prices of admission to the art museum are $25 for adults and $19 for seniors, students, and teens aged from 14 to 17. Free admission is granted to children under age 14. You can buy the tickets here.

Museum Campus

(Photo courtesy of Kelly Martin via Wikimedia)

The Museum Campus is located in the southeastern section of Grant Park. This is a unique park as it house not just one or two, but three museums surrounded by gorgeous park scenery. The museums are the Field Museum of Natural History, Shedd Aquarium, and the Adler Planetarium. Each of the three museum is distinct from each other as they focus on a different topic from each other.

The Field Museum is dedicated to exploring the natural history of Earth. This is one of the largest such museums in the world. It is home to a total of nine permanent exhibits such as Sue, the T-Rex, Underground Adventure, Geology Halls, Evolving Planet, and Inside Ancient Egypt. Shedd Aquarium is all about the water-related animals. The aquarium is home to 32,000-plus animals from 1,500 species.

These include fish, marine mammals, birds, snakes, amphibians, and insects. The Adler Planetarium is the museum that explores the outer space. One place you will want to check out at the planetarium is Chicago’s Night Sky. This is where you can observe and learn about the stars that show up in the sky at night.

Each of these museums has its own admissions. But, since you will want to visit them all, I would suggest that you get the Chicago CityPASS for about $109 per person. That will get you access to all three of these three museums as well as the Art Institute of Chicago that I mentioned up above. You can order your pass by going here.

These are all of the sub-parks and attractions located within Grant Park. If you happen to be in Chicago for parks, you won’t want to miss Grant Park. Also, if you are feeling outdoorsy after visiting this park and would like more to do outdoors while in Chicago, I have got you covered here.

Chicago Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at, I have got your back. Here is a hotel I would suggest you to book a stay at.

Hotel Essex

This hotel is located on South Michigan Avenue, just across the street from Grant Park. The hotel is located in a historic building that once housed the Essex Inn. The hotel houses an onsite restaurant called Grant Park Bistro. The onsite bar at the hotel is called SX Sky Bar. There is a fitness center available for you to use.

Some of the hotel’s rooms offer breathtaking views of Grant Park and Lake Michigan while others will give you the beautiful city skyline views. All of the rooms come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and luxurious beds. The average rate for a standard room range from $109 to $364. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited Grant Park in Chicago? Feel free to leave a comment below.

What To Do In South Dakota – Charming Towns In The Black Hills

The Black Hills of South Dakota is a beautiful place to behold. Located in the southwestern section of this US state, the Black Hills stand out like an island that is surrounded by sweeping plains. The area is home to notable attractions like Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Custer State Park, all of which I just recently mentioned.

In addition to these attractions, the Black Hills is also dotted with a few charming towns that are worth checking out. For what to do in South Dakota, you will want to head to these towns.

Keystone, South Dakota

(Photo courtesy of TravelingOtter via Wikimedia)

The town of Keystone is located to the northeast of Mount Rushmore National Memorial at the intersection of US Route 16A and South Dakota 40. This is the closest town to Mount Rushmore, only being around 3.7 miles away. So, if you have ever visited Mount Rushmore, chances are high that you have at least passed through Keystone on your scenic drive to and from there.

One attraction you can visit during your time in Keystone is the National Presidential Wax Museum. Located on US Route 16A, this museum is known for its lifelike wax figures of US presidents. All of the 45 US presidents are represented at this museum from George Washington, the nation’s first president, all the way to Donald Trump, the current president.

The museum is home to a total of 100 wax figures in scenes that depicts some of the most iconic moments in US presidential history. If you are looking for something more presidential than the iconic granite sculptures of four of the US presidents at nearby Mount Rushmore National Memorial, you will want to visit this museum. Another Keystone attraction you will want to check out is Big Thunder Gold Mine.

This attraction is located on Blair Street. Keystone had its storied origins as a gold rush-era gold mining town and Big Thunder Gold Mine is a reflection of that. This attraction has a museum where you can learn about gold mining. There are also guided tours that will take you to a gold mine so that you can get a better feel for what a gold mine looks like.

This attraction also offers you the opportunity to participate in a fun and easy activity called panning. It is basically a gold mining technique in which you scoop sand and/or gravel in the hopes that you will find pieces of gold. You can keep whatever gold and/or other gemstones you found during the panning process. Panning lessons are also offered if you are not familiar with the process.

Deadwood, South Dakota

(Photo courtesy of Wayne Hsieh via Flickr)

The town of Deadwood is located on US Route 85 just a few miles south of its interchange with Interstate 90. Deadwood is renowned for its storied history as a gold mining boomtown. During its gold mining heydays in the late 19th century, Deadwood was notorious for its lawlessness nature in which it attracted outlaws, illicit gamblers, and gunslingers.

That includes Wild Bill Hickok. He arrived in Deadwood during the late 19th century hoping to strike it rich via illicit gambling, only to be gunned down just a few short weeks later while he was playing poker. When he was shot dead, he was holding a pair of aces and eights which became known as the Dead Man’s Hand.

He was the most famous resident in Deadwood at the time because of his status as a legendary gunslinger who participated in many shootouts before his arrival in Deadwood. Today, Deadwood is renowned for its historic Old West gold mining boomtown architecture going up against the Black Hills scenery. Main Street is the town’s main drag with its concentration of casinos, bars, restaurants, and shops.

Every month of the year, Main Street is also bustling with outdoor activities. These include concerts, wine and food, rodeo action, parades, costume contests, car shows, and amateur and professional competitions. Also, during the summer months, there are live performances on Main Street that depict the shootouts that happened in Deadwood during its notorious Wild West days in the late 19th century.

You also may want to check out Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood. This is where the gravesite of Wild Bill Hickok is found.

Sturgis, South Dakota

(Photo courtesy of J.T (Jason) Thorne via Wikimedia)

The town of Sturgis is located on Interstate 90 about 28 miles northwest of Rapid City, the Black Hills’ big city. Motorcycle enthusiasts will instantly recognize Sturgis. This is because the town is noted for being the host to one of the world’s largest motorcycle events known as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. This motorcycle event starts on the first Friday of August every year and lasts for ten days.

During the motorcycle event, a massive parade of motorcycles are parked on Main Street throughout downtown Sturgis as motorcycle enthusiasts wander the street in a festive atmosphere. In addition to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the town is home to a museum that is dedicated to the world of motorcycling. It is called the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame.

The museum is located on Main Street in downtown Sturgis. You can learn about the history of motorcycling and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally at the museum. It is also home to a collection of motorcycles and motorcycle-related antiques.

These are the towns that are dotted throughout the Black Hills. If you are looking for what to do in South Dakota, you will want to visit these charming towns in the Black Hills area of the state.

Black Hills Hotels

If you are in search of a hotel to stay in on your visit to the Black Hills of South Dakota, I have got your back. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you to book a stay at.

Baymont Inn & Suites by Wyndham Sturgis

This hotel is located on Lazelle Street in Sturgis. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. There are also barbeque facilities available onsite for you to have a cookout. If you are looking for a place to eat nearby, a few options include The Knuckle Saloon, Jambonz Grill & Pub, and Loud American Roadhouse. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

A fitness center is also available for you to use at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $60 to $194. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Mt. Rushmore/Keystone

This hotel is located on Swanzey Street in Keystone. This hotel has a unique architectural style that blends itself with the surrounding Black Hills. The hotel is renowned for its three-sided fireplace and antler chandelier located in what the hotel calls Great Room. This space of the hotel has a Western/Native American feel to it.

Free breakfast is available at the hotel at the hotel’s new Express Start Breakfast Bar. If you get hungry, a few nearby options include Janes Boardwalk Pizza, Himalayan Indian Cuisine, and Cruizzers. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. If you are looking for a workout, you can do so at the hotel’s fitness center.

All of the rooms and suites at the hotel come with WiFi, microwaves, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $76 to $293. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to any of these towns before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Rapid City, SD – Museums

Rapid City is the biggest city in the western half of the US state of South Dakota. This part of the state is home to a scenic area known as the Black Hills. The Black Hills is known for iconic attractions including Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Custer State Park – all of which I just discussed in my previous post.

Rapid City is also close to the recently mentioned Badlands National Park and Wind Cave National Park. So, there is already plenty to do in the area. Even so, if you are still hungry for things to do in Rapid City, SD, you may want to check out some compelling museums that it has to offer.

(Photo courtesy of Dvorak86 via Wikimedia)

Museum of Geology

(Photo courtesy of Paul Weimer via Flickr)

The Museum of Geology is located on East St. Joseph Street on the campus of the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology in Rapid City. This museum is dedicated to ancient life and minerals. The museum houses mounted skeletons that once belonged to dinosaurs, mammals, marine reptiles, and fish. You can also check out rare fossils from the White River Badlands. These are arranged in time-specific dioramas.

As far as the minerals are concerned, this museum include showcases of gems, crystals, and the rocks that they form. If you have any young children with you, you may want to check out the museum’s The Kids’ Zone. There are hands-on showcases that will appeal to them in this section of the museum. There is free admission to the Museum of Geology for everyone. Also, there is an onsite gift shop if you want to buy souvenirs.

South Dakota Air and Space Museum

(Photo courtesy of User:Jaydec via Wikimedia)

If you are fascinated by US military aircrafts, I would suggest you to check out the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. This museum is located right next to Ellsworth Air Force Base on Davis Drive just a few miles east of Rapid City. The museum is renowned for its remarkable collection of US military aircrafts. Most of these aircrafts are located outdoors in what is known as an air park.

There are over thirty aircrafts showcased at the museum. They span time periods ranging from World War Two to modern day. Some of the aircraft you can check out include Boeing B-29 Superfortress s/n 44-87779, Beechcraft C-45H Expeditor s/n 52-10866, Martin EB-57B Canberra s/n 52-1548, Republic F-84F Thunderjet s/n 52-8886, and Bell UH-1F Iroquois Huey s/n 65-7951.

Each of the aircrafts showcased at the museum had previously been used in US military operations, including into the heat of war. In addition to learning about the history of the aircrafts and the crews, you can learn about the engineering, innovation, and science that contributed to the development of the military aircrafts.

There are also a few missiles displayed at the museum like Bell Labs Nike Ajax MIM-3 and Boeing LGM-30F Minuteman II. The admission to the South Dakota Air and Space Museum is free for everyone. There is also a gift shop available onsite for you to check out.

The Journey Museum and Learning Center

(Photo courtesy of Mr. Satterly via Wikimedia)

The Journey Museum and Learning Center is located on New York Street just north of downtown Rapid City. This museum digs deep into the regional history of western South Dakota that stretch as far back as a couple billions years. In order to showcase the overall history of the region, the museum is divided into five major collections. The five major collections are Paleontology, Geology, Archaeology, Native American, and Pioneer.

Within the Paleontology collection, it is all about the dinosaurs. You will be able to see how the dinosaurs used to live and roam in this region. Moving on to the Geology collection, you will get a better sense of what the unique landscape of western South Dakota used to look like over 2.5 billion years ago.

You will also be able to see how the land of this region took form over these billions of years to the one that exists today. Rocks, gems, and minerals are on display in this collection to help with telling the story of the region’s land formation.

In the Archaeology collection, you will see how humans lived in the region as far as ten thousand years ago when society was made up of ancient hunters who had to hunt for their own food. You will be able to learn about things like what the early settlers used to drink with, how they spoke, how they hunted for food, and what type of clothing they wore daily.

The Native American collection is dedicated to the Sioux group of American Indian tribes that has been settled in the region since at least the early 19th century. You can find a variety of artwork beautifully handcrafted by artists and artisans from the Sioux. These include glass beadwork, porcupine quillwork, hide painting, feather working, wood and pipestone carving, and metalworking.

In addition to showcasing artwork, this collection also house items related to the Sioux way of life including decorated garments, ceremonial regalia, personal adornment, and containers like bags and parfleches. Lastly, the Pioneer collection focus on the lives of the European settlers who first moved to western South Dakota in order to seek a better life for themselves.

This collection also dig into the battles between the Sioux and the settlers for control of the land. The stories are told through illuminated story walls. The admission prices to this museum are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and military members, and $7 for students. Those who are aged under six get free admission.

These are some museums that are worth your time. If you are itching for more things to do in Rapid City, SD, I would suggest you to take on these museums.

Rapid City Hotels

Should you be in need of a place to lay your head overnight at, I am here to help you out. Here are the two hotels in Rapid City that I would suggest you to check out.

La Quinta by Wyndham Rapid City

This hotel is located on North Elk Vale Road in Rapid City. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews, Dakotah Steakhouse, and Marco’s Pizza. The hotel houses an indoor swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center available for your workouts.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers. The average rate for a standard room range from $53 to $210. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Best Western Plus Rapid City Rushmore

This hotel is located on Eglin Street in Rapid City. The hotel features complimentary breakfast. Sickies Garage Burgers & Brews, Dakotah Steakhouse, and Marco’s Pizza are just a few nearby options for dining. There is an onsite convenience store available should you want to buy something. This hotel is home to an indoor swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is also available at the hotel.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites have WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $58 to $188. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Does any of these Rapid City museums sound like a place you would be interested into? Feel free to drop a comment below.

What To Do In South Dakota – Black Hills

If there is anything you know about the US state of South Dakota, it is that the state is largely flat in general. But, look to the southwestern section of the state and you will find some breathtaking natural beauty that is vertical. This area is called the Black Hills. It is an isolated mountain range surrounded by the plains.

The area get its name because of its dark appearance from a distance given its tree coverage. So, for what to do in South Dakota, the Black Hills should be on your radar.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikipedia)

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is the attraction that many of you will recognize. It is located on South Dakota 244 just west of Keystone, South Dakota. The most recognizable feature of Mount Rushmore is the granite sculpture of four heads. These heads are that of four US presidents from throughout the nation’s history.

The four presidents are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. George Washington was the first ever president of the US from 1789 to 1797. Thomas Jefferson became the third president from 1801 to 1809. Abraham Lincoln became president from 1861 to 1865. Teddy Roosevelt took office as president from 1901 to 1909.

These four presidents were chosen for the granite sculpture because they collectively represented the country’s birth, growth, development, and preservation. They symbolize the first 130 years of American history. The granite sculpture is about 60 feet high. There is a half-mile hiking trail that will lead you to the granite sculpture. It is called the Presidential Trail.

On your way to the granite sculpture, you can also learn about the heritage of the three local tribes at the Borglum View Terrance. These three local tribes are called Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota. There is no entrance fee for entering Mount Rushmore National Memorial, although there is a $10 fee for parking your car there. There is an onsite restaurant at the national memorial called Carver’s Cafe. A gift shop is also available onsite.

Custer State Park

(Photo courtesy of Guimir via Wikimedia)

Custer State Park is located on US Highway 16A about 15 miles east of Custer, South Dakota. This is one of the largest state parks in the United States, measuring at 71,000 acres. This gorgeous state park is known for its large population of North American bison that can be up to six feet tall and weigh more than two thousand pounds.

In fact, there are nearly 1,300 of them roaming the scenic landscapes of Custer State Park that include rolling plains, granite peaks, ponderosa pine forests, and bodies of water. In addition to the large population of North American bison, there are also other animals that roam the state park. These include deer, antelope, begging burros, elk, big horn sheep, and prairie dogs.

One of the best ways to go about observing the wildlife is to go for a scenic drive on a road that loops the state park. The loop road is about 18 miles and is called the Wildlife Loop State Scenic Byway. If you are up for a lengthy hike, you may want to consider going for a hike to Black Elk Peak. The peak stands at 7,242 feet high.

That not only makes this the tallest peak in South Dakota, but also the tallest peak in the country east of the Rockies. Black Elk Peak isn’t technically located in Custer State Park, but there are a couple hiking trails that lead from the state park all the way to the peak. The easiest and most travelled hiking trail to take on is Trail 9. This hiking trail runs for seven miles round trip.

The trail is marked by blue diamonds for about the first half and then blazes on the trees for the second half. The entrance fee for Custer State Park is $20 per vehicle and is good for up to seven days after being purchased.

Crazy Horse Memorial

(Photo courtesy of Ken Lane via Flickr)

If you are interested into American Indians, you will want to be sure to visit the Crazy Horse Memorial. It is located on Avenue of the Chiefs about five miles north of Custer, South Dakota. The Crazy Horse Memorial is known for being home to a granite sculpture that is similar to the one from Mount Rushmore, but is dedicated to Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse was a famous war leader from the Lakota tribe who led a group of a few tribes in their battle against the federal government’s attempted takeover of their lands in the 19th century. Unlike the granite sculpture at Mount Rushmore which is already completed, the granite sculpture at Crazy Horse Memorial is still in progress of being constructed. This is the world’s largest mountain carving still in progress.

When the granite sculpture is completed some time in the future, it will measure at 641 feet long and 563 feet high. It will depict Crazy Horse riding on his hors. There is an outdoor model located onsite that will show what the completed granite sculpture will look like. There is also a museum located onsite at the memorial. It is called the Indian Museum of North America.

The museum is home to a large collection of art and artifacts depicting the history and culture of the various American Indian tribes. If you are hungry, you can head to the onsite restaurant called Laughing Water Restaurant. The admission for Crazy Horse Memorial is $30 for vehicles with three or more people, $24 for two person vehicles, and $12 for one person vehicles. You can book your visit here.

These are a few places you can go to in the Black Hills area for what to do in South Dakota. The Black Hills is an oasis of vertical natural beauty for the state.

The Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight in the Black Hills area, I am happy to help you out. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you to book with.

Comfort Suites Hotel & Convention Center Rapid City

This hotel is located on North Elk Vale Road in Rapid City, South Dakota. There is complimentary breakfast and coffee available at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Sickies Garage Burger & Brews, Dakotah Steakhouse, and Marco’s Pizza. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for you to use.

All of the suites at the hotel come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $57 to $230. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites – Rapid City – Rushmore South

This hotel is located on Caregiver Circle in Rapid City. Complimentary breakfast is available for you to take advantage of at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few of the nearby options include Stonewalls Kitchen, Colonial House Restaurant & Bar, and Ruby Tuesday. There is an indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel for you to use. If you are looking to exercise, you can do so at the hotel’s fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $64 to $238. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Chicago For Parks – Lincoln Park

If you have been to a park in Chicago, you have probably been to Grant Park. That wouldn’t be surprising since Grant Park is probably the most recognized park in Chicago with its own smaller parks and attractions within. Even so, there is another scenic park that you should check out if you happen to be in Chicago for parks.

The scenic park I am talking about is Lincoln Park, not to be confused with the Chicago neighborhood of the same name. The park is located to the north of Chicago’s famed Magnificent Mile. At 1,208 acres, Lincoln Park is the largest public park in Chicago and much bigger than Grant Park. There are multiple attractions that you can visit within the park.

(Photo courtesy of Ceyhun Jay Isik via Flickr)

Lincoln Park Zoo

(Photo courtesy of Daniel X. O’Neil from USA via Wikimedia)

Lincoln Park Zoo is located in the central section of Lincoln Park. The zoo is among the oldest zoos in North America, having been in operation since 1868. The zoo is home to around 1,100 animals from 200-plus species. Lincoln Park Zoo is currently split into 16 exhibit areas with one more reopening soon after a renovation. Here are just a few of them.

Nature Boardwalk is the exhibit area where you can walk along scenic South Pond on a boardwalk. This exhibit area is home to groups of animals including birds, frogs, fishes, turtles, and insects. Another exhibit area to note is Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove. This is where you can find a group of tropical penguins called African penguins. They are the only penguins known to breed in Africa.

In this exhibit area, you can sit indoors and watch as African penguins walk around near you and swim in the water. These are called Penguin Encounters. If you are visiting the zoo with young children, you will want to check out these two exhibit areas: Farm-in-the-Zoo and Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo. In Farm-in-the-Zoo, children can learn about what farm life is like in the countryside.

Cows, chickens, ponies, and goats are the animals that can be encountered in this exhibit area. Young children can learn about gardening as well as visit a couple onsite barns that contain play stations. Pritzker Family Children’s Zoo focuses more on animals from the wilderness. Some of the animals that young children can get up and personal with include red wolves, black bears, North American river otters, and American beavers.

There are two sections in this exhibit area. They are Wild Sapling Play Forest and Treetop Canopy Climbing Adventure. The admission to Lincoln Park Zoo is free to everyone. This makes the zoo one of just a few free zoos in the country.

Lincoln Park Conservatory

(Photo courtesy of GPA Photo Archive via Flickr)

Plant and garden enthusiasts will want to check out the Lincoln Park Conservatory. It is located just to the northwest of Lincoln Park Zoo in Lincoln Park. This is a Victorian-era glass house that was built in the late 19th century. The conservatory’s grounds is home to a gorgeous formal garden. The formal garden was planted in the late 1870’s, making this one of the oldest public gardens in Chicago.

The formal garden is known for being the home of many sculptors and works of art. The most notable of these are the Bates fountains, the Schiller monument, and the Shakespeare monument. Inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory are four rooms filled with exotic plants from around the world. These rooms are Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House, and Show House. The admission to the conservatory is free for everybody.

Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

(Photo courtesy of TonyTheTiger via Wikipedia)

The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool neighbors the Lincoln Park Conservatory to the east in Lincoln Park. This is a gorgeous garden that just happens to be tucked away beside the conservatory. The signature feature of this attraction is the pool that is filled with floating lilies. In addition to the pool, there is also a small waterfall and natural stonework designed to resemble limestone bluffs.

There is a stone walkway that leads into and around the lily pool. A prairie-style gate serves as the entryway to the lily pool. There is also a pavilion onsite. The lily pool is known to be a haven for many species of birds, dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, and turtles. The admission to the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is free of charge to everyone.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

(Photo courtesy of opacity via Flickr)

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is located just across West Fullerton Parkway from the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Lincoln Park. This museum has a focus on the natural history of the Chicago region. There are multiple exhibits currently on display at the museum. One such exhibit is RiverWorks.

This exhibit allows you to experience the reversing of the Chicago River so that it flows into Lake Michigan instead of flowing away from it. Another exhibit to note is Mysteries of the Marshes. This exhibit explore the seven different types of wetland and the animals that live in them. Also in this exhibit, you will also learn of the fact that before Chicago existed, the land was once dominated by marshes.

These are just a couple of the exhibits currently at the museum. The museum is also known for its onsite butterfly house called the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven. It is home to one thousand exotic butterflies from over forty species housed in a tropical setting. The prices for admission to the museums are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and students, and $6 for those aged from 3 to 12. Free admission is given to those aged under 3.

Chicago History Museum

(Photo courtesy of mason.flickr via Flickr)

The Chicago History Museum is located on the southwestern corner of Lincoln Park. This museum is dedicated to the history of Chicago. There are around six permanent exhibits housed within the museum. One of the exhibits is Chicago: Crossroads of America. In this exhibit, you can check out replicas of a Chicago L train car, a jazz club, and a Marshall Field store window.

Another exhibit is Lincoln’s Chicago. This is where you can learn about the time that former US president Abraham Lincoln spent in Chicago which he called his second home during his Illinois days. You can also get a glimpse of what Chicago was like during his time there.

These are the attractions that are housed within Lincoln Park. So, if you find yourself in Chicago for parks, you will want to check out the city’s largest public park.

Hotels in Chicago

Are you in need of a hotel to stay overnight at during your time in Chicago? If so, I have your back. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest you to book a stay at.

Courtyard by Marriott Chicago Downtown/Magnificent Mile

This hotel is located on East Ontario Street just east of Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. There is a new restaurant onsite called Copper Fox Gastropub. There is also a Starbucks coffee shop onsite in the lobby. There is an indoor heated swimming pool at the hotel. If you are looking for a workout, you have 24-hour access to the hotel’s fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with breathtaking views of the surrounding cityscapes along with WiFi and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $113 to $431. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile

This hotel is located on North Michigan Avenue, right on the Magnificent Mile. This hotel has a historic feel to it, specifically that of the Roaring Twenties period. The hotel is known for its gorgeous lobby with a sweeping staircase and marble mosaic floors. There are three onsite restaurants and bars at the hotel. They are Michael Jordan’s Steak House, ENO Wine Bar, and Tower Lounge.

Tower Lounge is located on the 32nd floor which will allow for breathtaking views of the surrounding skylines. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and sauna at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for you to use. The hotel’s rooms and suites all offer stunning city views along with WiFi. The suites also have separate bedrooms and living rooms.

The average rate for a standard room range from $173 to $453. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you had a chance to visit Lincoln Park in Chicago yet? Feel free to leave a comment below.

What To Do In St. Louis – Forest Park

Forest Park is an oasis of natural beauty to behold in an otherwise urban setting in St. Louis. The park is located on 1,300 acres of land which makes it the seventh largest urban park in the United States. In fact, Forest Park is larger than New York City’s famed Central Park by around 450 acres. Those of you looking for what to do in St. Louis will want to pay a visit to Forest Park to experience its gorgeous beauty.

St. Louis Zoo

(Photo courtesy of Bananasoldier via Wikimedia)

The St. Louis Zoo takes up the southern central section of Forest Park. This is by far the most popular attraction in Forest Park. The zoo is home to over 13,000 animals from 555 species. The zoo is divided into six zones. Each of these zones has a unique feel to it. River’s Edge is the zone situated along a scenic waterway where you can observe animals from four different continents: Africa, Asia, South America, and North America.

Some of the animals you can find in River’s Edge include Andean bears, black rhinos, hippos, Asian elephants, and Malayan sun bears. The Wild is the zone you will want to go to check out the animals from sub-Antarctic and tropical rainforest environments. Grizzly bears, penguins, polar bears, gorillas, and chimpanzees are among the animals found in this zone.

Those of you who have young children will want to head to Discovery Corner where there is a children’s zoo in this zone where the young children can pet a variety of animals. Also located in this zone is Bayer Insectarium where you can check out a variety of insects. Historic Hill is one of the oldest zones at the zoo.

This historic zone is home to charming attractions including the 1904 Flight Cage, the Bird House & Garden, the Charles H. Hoessle Herpetarium, the Primate House, and Judy and Jerry Kent Family Sea Lion Sound. Red Rock is the zone of contrasts where some of the world’s most notorious predators live frighteningly close to some of the most humble prey on the planet.

In Red Rocks, you can check out tigers, jaguars, lions, leopards, zebras, camels, giraffes, okapis, takins, among other animals. Lakeside Crossing is serenely nestled around a lake. This zone is home to Stingrays at Caribbean Cove. There are also a few restaurants in this zone: Lakeside Cafe, Ice Cream Oasis, and Safari Shop.

The admission to the St. Louis Zoo is free for all. In fact, this is one of only a few free zoos in the country.

World’s Fair Pavilion

(Photo courtesy of Kris from Seattle, USA via Wikipedia)

The World’s Fair Pavilion is arguably the most iconic attraction in Forest Park. This magnificent open air shelter serves as the symbol of Forest Park’s historic role as the host of the 1904 World’s Fair. It was built in 1909 with proceeds from the world’s fair in order to preserve the legacy. The pavilion is located on top of Government Hill in Forest Park to the east of the St. Louis Zoo.

From the World’s Fair Pavilion, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the Forest Park landscape including a colorfully lit foundation and reflecting pool. The pavilion building itself can seat up to 500 people. Given its iconic backdrop, the pavilion is popular for things like picnics, weddings, and birthday parties.

The Muny

(Photo courtesy of Dalstadt via Wikimedia)

The Muny is a historic amphitheater located in the northern central section of Forest Park. This amphitheater is more than 100 years old, having been built in 1917. The Muny can seat up to 11,000 people. The amphitheater produces about seven different performances each year. The Muny is open during the summer season which runs from June through August.

For the 2020 season, the seven performances that you will get to see at the amphitheater are Chicago, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, Sweeney Todd, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, The Sound of Music, On Your Feet!, and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Each of these seven performances will run for around one week. The prices for the ticket varies depending on which seating you choose.

The prices range from $18 for Terrace C to $110 for Box Seats. You can view the performance schedule by going here. You can buy the tickets here.

The Jewel Box

(Photo courtesy of Marcus Qwertyus via Wikipedia)

Another beautiful attraction you will want to check out in Forest Park is The Jewel Box. This is a display greenhouse located to the east of the World’s Fair Pavilion which I mentioned earlier in this post. The greenhouse is designed in the Art Deco architectural style and is known for its unconventional, cantilevered, glass walls. Inside the greenhouse, you can find hundreds of flowers and exotic plants.

In the center of the greenhouse lies a large fountain. In addition to the flowers and plants lining the floor on both sides of the greenhouse, you will want to be sure to look up as there are baskets of plants hanging on the ceilings. The greenhouse’s grounds is beautifully landscaped with rose gardens and lily ponds.

Also located on the greenhouse’s grounds is a statue of St. Francis of Assisi and a memorial to veterans of the Korean War. The admission to The Jewel Box is $1 per person, but there are free days on Mondays and Tuesdays from 9am until noon.

The Boathouse at Forest Park

(Photo courtesy of Ted Engler via Flickr)

You will want to be sure to visit The Boathouse at Forest Park. Located in the northern central section of Forest Park, The Boathouse is known for its serene location on Post-Dispatch Lake. The Boathouse’s architecture resemble early 20th century Midwestern boathouse cottages. It has a dual function as both a restaurant and a boat rental. Sandwiches and salads feature prominently on the restaurant menu.

As for the boats themselves, the ones that are available to rent at The Boathouse are paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards. The prices for renting the boats are $22 per hour for paddle boat, $20 per hour for canoe and double kayak, and $15 for single kayak and paddle board. Another thing to note about The Boathouse is that it host live concerts on the dock and festivals on the scenic grounds.

So, if you are looking for what to do in St. Louis, you will want to head to Forest Park and feast your eyes on these attractions. Oh and also, Forest Park is also home to three museums. Just over a week ago, I published a post focused on the three museums in Forest Park. So, if you would like, you can head to this post to read about it.

St. Louis Hotels

If you are in need of a hotel to stay overnight at in St. Louis, I am here for you. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest for you.

Drury Inn & Suites St. Louis Brentwood

This hotel is located on Eager Road in the neighboring St. Louis suburb of Brentwood just a few miles west of Forest Park via Interstate 64. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. An onsite restaurant called 5:30 Kickback is also available. As a treat, you can get a free popcorn and soda in the hotel’s lobby each day.

There is a hybrid indoor/outdoor swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. If you are looking to exercise, a fitness center is available for you to use. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites offer WiFi, coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $138 to $203. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Homewood Suites St. Louis – Galleria

This hotel is located on Clayton Road in the neighboring St. Louis suburb of Richmond Heights, a few miles west of Forest Park in St. Louis. There is complimentary breakfast and snack bar available. Should you get hungry, a few nearby options include Maggiano’s Little Italy, Weber Grill Restaurant, and Texas de Brazil. There is an indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

There is also a fitness center available for you to use. All of the suites at the hotel include WiFi and kitchenettes. The average rate for a standard room range from $127 to $222. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited Forest Park in St. Louis in the past? Feel free to leave a comment below.