Things To Do In Detroit, Michigan – Museums To Visit First

As the birthplace of the automobile, Detroit is renowned for attractions that are themed around cars. I have got you covered on those attractions here. The rise of the automobile in Detroit in the early 20th century enabled members of the prominent automaker families to live lavish lives within their mansions in the area, all of which you can now visit.

Aside from all of those attractions, Detroit is known for its world-class museums and you will want to visit them all for things to do in Detroit, Michigan. But, let’s imagine that you have a limited time to spend in the city. You may be wondering which ones you should visit first.

This is where I come in to help you out. Here are the three museums to visit first. They are all located in the northeastern section of Midtown Detroit known as the Art Center. This area is noted for its neat concentration of museums.

(Photo courtesy of Ken Lund via Wikimedia)

Michigan Science Center

(Photo courtesy of Mx. Granger via Wikimedia)

The Michigan Science Center is located on John R Street just north of its intersection with East Warren Avenue. This museum houses over 250 hands-on exhibits. So, there is a lot for you to discover there. They are categorized into separate groups including, but not limited to, engineering, space, health and wellness, motion, and a cool area for kids called Kids Town.

In the engineering category, you will have a chance to walk the eighty-foot long Mini Mac Bridge. There is a roundabout for you to travel around within the category. The US Steel Fun Factory is also housed there and is well worth checking out. Within the health and wellness category, you will discover how hidden factors affect people’s health.

It will also allow you to explore what it means to have good nutrition and fitness. You will also gain insights into how making smart choices will improve your health. The motion category deals with the physics of matter and energy including circuits, electrical loads, magnetic fields, simple machines, light, among others. The cool town in Kids Town is built to scale with children aged from 2 to 5 in mind.

It provides them with a place to learn basic science concepts through a variety of fun activities. Probably the best of all the categories I have mentioned is the space one. It provides you with interesting insights into the history of human space travel. It houses cool rocket technology which is nice for rocket enthusiasts who have not had an opportunity to visit Huntsville, Alabama.

The category also provides you with an exciting way to explore the galaxy and the sun. These are just some of the things you will discover at the museum. In addition to the many hands-on exhibits, you will want to check out the live performances where they will show off fun experiments. One example of this is Kaboomistry in which physics and chemistry are mixed in order to produce loud, flashy effects.

The price of admission to the museum range from $16 to $24. You can head here to buy your tickets. Also, if you are hungry, there is an onsite restaurant called the Cosmic Cafe.

Detroit Historical Museum

(Photo courtesy of Michael Barera via Wikimedia)

The Detroit Historical Museum is located on Woodward Avenue at the intersection with West Kirby Street. This is the museum where you can learn about the storied history of Detroit that go back three hundred years. The museum houses eleven signature exhibits that explore all aspects of Detroit’s history from the automobile’s birth to the city’s role in the production of military equipment during World War II to its music legacy.

The best of these exhibits is called the Street of Old Detroit. This is the exhibit where you can travel through a re-creation of Detroit as it looked during three time periods. They are the 1840’s, the 1870’s, and the turn of the 20th century. It is designed to give you a visual look at how Detroit had transformed from being a rural frontier town to being an industrial city.

You will get a better feel for what buildings, streets, and businesses were like during these three time period. Another interesting exhibit to point out is called Frontiers to Factories: Detroiters at Work, 1701-1901. This exhibit will walk you through the things that the residents of Detroit did for work during that two-century time period.

This just scratches the surface for what you can learn at the museum as it relates to the city’s history. The admission fees for the museum are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, students, active military members, and first responders, and $6 for children. The admission is free for those under the age of 6. You can visit here to buy your tickets.

Detroit Institute of Arts

(Photo courtesy of Jeff Dunn via Flickr)

The Detroit Institute of Arts is located on Woodward Avenue right in between the Michigan Science Center to the southeast and the Detroit Historical Museum to the northwest. The museum has one of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States. It houses a stunning one hundred galleries for you to check out. There are more than 65,000 artworks dating from the earliest civilizations to the present.

They are divided into eight art themes. They are Africa, Oceania & Indigenous Americas, American Art, The Arts of Asia and the Islamic World, European Art, Prints Drawings & Photographs, African American Art, Contemporary Art, and Performing Arts. A few artworks to note here include Mexican artist Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry fresco cycle and Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait painting.

The fees for admission into the museum are $14 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for college students, and $6 for youth aged from 6 to 17. Those who are under the age of 6 will receive free admission. Those who are hungry can visit Cafe DIA and Kresge Court – both of which are located onsite. Souvenir shoppers should browse the museum’s shop, DIA Shop.

These are the three museums to visit first for things to do in Detroit, Michigan. I will be talking more world-class museums in the city in my next post. So, stay tuned.

Detroit Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your Detroit visit, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel that I would suggest you to book your stay with.

Aloft Hotel at The David Whitney

This hotel is located on Park Avenue in front of Grand Circus Park in the heart of downtown Detroit. It is housed inside a beautiful restored building known as the David Whitney Building. The boutique hotel houses a bar called W XYZ. Should you get hungry, downtown Detroit is bustling with restaurants. A few of them include Lafayette Coney Island, Michael Symon’s Roast, and Hudson Cafe.

The hotel is home to a beautiful four-story atrium. So, you will want to check it out. There is a 24-hour fitness center available for your workout needs. Many of the hotel’s upscale and chic rooms and suites offer breathtaking views of downtown.

Baseball fans, in particular, will be pleased to know that certain rooms and suites will offer unobstructed views inside Comerica Park which is where the MLB’s Detroit Tigers play baseball. All rooms and suites at the hotel will offer WiFi, mini refrigerators, and coffee makers.

The average rate for a standard room range from $221 to $402. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these museums yet? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Detroit, Michigan – Mansions

Detroit is notable around the world for being the birthplace of the automobile. As such, there are a few attractions in and around the city that you will want to check out if you are into the world of cars. You can learn about them by visiting this post. For those of you who are hungry for more things to do in Detroit, Michigan though, you will want to consider checking out three beautiful mansions around the area.

The three mansions were owned by members of the prominent Ford and Dodge auto-making families. Today, they are all accessible to the public to visit.

Fair Lane

(Photo courtesy of VasenkaPhotography via Flickr)

Fair Lane is located on Fair Lane Drive in Dearborn which neighbors Detroit to the west. It was the estate of Henry Ford and his wife, Clara. Henry was responsible for inventing the world’s first automobile in 1908 with the Ford Model T. The mansion within the estate is built of limestone. It is designed to resemble an English castle. It bears some influence from the prairie architectural style.

The mansion contains 56 rooms in total. It served as the gathering place for all of Henry and Clara’s grandchildren to be entertain. Every time they gathered at the mansion, a suite of rooms were reserved for them. In addition to the mansion itself, the estate housed many other things. It housed an indoor swimming pool, a bowling alley, a skating house, and a hall for dancing and the playing of music.

There were also cottages for estate staff, a pony barn, a greenhouse for Clara’s gardens, and a hydro-electric powerhouse and dam. Henry housed a laboratory inside a private garage where he continued to experiment with ideas. The beautiful grounds of the estate is noted for its vast gardens and landscaping designed by famed landscape architect Jens Jensen.

The scenic Rouge River navigates its way along the edge of the estate. Fair Lane can be visited free of charge.

Edsel and Eleanor Ford House

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Jameson via Wikimedia)

The Edsel and Eleanor Ford House is located on Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Shores which is located to the northeast of Detroit. It sits on the shores of scenic Lake St. Clair. This mansion was the home of Edsel Ford and his wife, Eleanor. Edsel is the son of Henry Ford. The mansion is inspired by village cottages from the scenic English region known as the Cotswolds.

The exterior walls of the mansion is constructed of sandstone. The mansion’s exterior is further beautified by moss of ivy grown across it. The traditional slate roof of the mansion feature stone shingles that decreases in size as they reach the peak.

A few of the interior features of the mansion include kitchen counters made of sterling silver, Art Deco-style rooms, and a secret photographic darkroom tucked away behind Edsel’s office. The mansion is renowned for its many paintings hung on walls in rooms like the Drawing Room, the Morning Room, and the Modern Room.

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Jameson via Wikimedia)

Jens Jensen, the famed landscape architect responsible for designing the grounds of Fair Lane, also beautified the grounds of this mansion with gardens and other landscaping features. The grounds also features a man-made lagoon and a swimming pool. Along with the mansion, there is a powerhouse and a gate house. The gate house is often mistaken for the mansion itself.

An eight-car garage that features a turntable for rotating cars, is also found on the mansion grounds. The price for the grounds pass is $5 for adults and children aged from 6 to 12. Those who are under the age of 6 will receive free passes. You can visit here to get your grounds passes for the mansion.

Meadow Brook Hall

(Photo courtesy of Kelocyde via Wikimedia)

Meadow Brook Hall is located on Estate Drive in Rochester, a suburb around 35 minutes drive north of Detroit via Interstate 75. It was the home of Matilda Dodge Wilson and her second husband Alfred Wilson. Matilda was the heiress to the Dodge automaker fortune. The mansion is designed in the Tudor Revival architectural style. The mansion features a whopping 110 rooms.

This makes this mansion the fourth largest historic mansion museum in the United States. The mansion is renowned for its stonework. It houses numerous paintings by Anthony van Dyck, Rosa Bonheur, Joshua Reynolds, John Constable, and Thomas Gainsborough. The mansion also features Tiffany glass, Stickley furniture, Meissen porcelain, and Rockwood pottery.

The mansion is the centerpiece of the sprawling country estate. The country estate also feature numerous farm buildings, recreational facilities, and several residences. The serene grounds of the estate is decorated with formal gardens. The estate is filled with lore that offers an insight into local history. You will be able to explore the family archives and check out the original furnishings.

There are also opportunities to have picnics and play games on the lawn onsite if you would like. You don’t want to miss out on the estate’s garages either because they house a nice collection of vintage Dodge cars. The admission fees are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $5 for children aged 6 to 12. There is free admission for those under the age of 6.

These are the beautiful mansions that you will want to visit for additional things to do in Detroit, Michigan. If the allure of visiting these mansions capture your attention, may I suggest that you feast your eyes on a few similar posts to this one?

The vibrant city of Wilmington, Delaware is renowned for its gorgeous du Pont mansions. Nashville also has its share of beautiful mansions. Those of you who are into plantations will want to visit a few just outside New Orleans.

Detroit Hotels

Should you need a place to stay overnight at during your time in Detroit, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest for you.

DoubleTree by Hilton Detroit-Dearborn

This hotel is located just northwest of the interchange of M 153 and M 39 (Southfield Freeway) in Dearborn. This hotel houses an onsite restaurant called grille39. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for you to use.

WiFi is featured in all the hotel’s rooms and suites. The average rate for a standard room range from $118 to $179. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

DoubleTree by Hilton Detroit Downtown – Fort Shelby

This hotel is located on West Lafayette Boulevard in bustling downtown Detroit. It occupies the restored historic Fort Shelby building. Motor City Kitchen is the onsite restaurant while Round Bar is the onsite bar. The hotel houses a fitness center for your workout needs. All of the rooms and suites at the hotel feature WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves.

The average rate for a standard room range from $151 to $310. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to visit these three mansions when you are in the area? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In St. Charles, MO – A City Of Charm

St. Charles is a suburb of St. Louis located on the mighty Missouri River northwest of the bustling city. If you haven’t visited St. Louis and/or are looking for suggestions for what to do there, you can head here. Or if you would prefer to visit the city’s Forest Park specifically, this post will do for you. Even though St. Charles is a St. Louis suburb, it is a charming destination in its own right with some interesting lore.

St. Charles was founded in 1769 by a French-Canadian fur trader – Louis Blanchett. It was originally called Les Petites which means “The Little Hills” in French. The city served as a temporary state capital for the US state of Missouri in the early 19th century. It was also known to be the last civilized stop of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition as they proceed to explore the American West in 1804. I would suggest that you visit the St. Charles Historic District for things to do in St. Charles, MO.

St. Charles Historic District

(Photo courtesy of Matt Ridings via Flickr)

The beautiful St. Charles Historic District is brimming with charm. This is one of the oldest and largest historic districts in the state of Missouri. The beating heart of the historic district is Main Street which is paved with brick. The ten blocks or so of Main Street is filled with dozens of restaurants and shops housed in historic brick buildings that were restored to their 19th century glory.

Many of the restaurants have outdoor patios so that you can dine outdoors and soak in all the charms. One such restaurant is called Bradden’s. It is located on South Main Street north of Pike Street. This restaurant is known to offer a roster of American fare and wine. The restaurant uses home-style cooking as the method for preparing their dishes for diners to enjoy.

The countless shops found on Main Street offer many one-of-a-kind items for you to purchase and take home as souvenirs. So, browse as many of them as you can. Main Street also contain two tiny lovely parks to help beautify the brick-paved street. They are Berthold Square Park and Kister Park. There is also a sizable and lovely park just a very short walk east of Main Street.

This park is called Frontier Park and it is along the Missouri River. I would suggest arriving there via Perry Street which is a short, serene pedestrian street. That will lead you straight to the beautiful, circular Lewis and Clark Monument. If you don’t have your own bicycle, but would like to bicycle, I would suggest that you head to the Bike Stop Cafe which you will pass by on Perry Street on the way to Frontier Park.

They have bicycles available there for you to rent for bicycling on the path inside Frontier Park. There are also tasty coffees available at the Bike Stop Cafe if you want some. Also, there are trolleys that you can ride up and down the historic district so that you can get somewhere more specific without having to do the walking all the time.

First Missouri State Capitol

(Photo courtesy of Smallbones via Wikimedia)

The First Missouri State Capitol is located across South Main Street from Berthold Square Park. It served as the seat of Missouri’s government when St. Charles was the capital of Missouri from 1821 to 1826. St. Charles competed with eight other Missouri cities for the right to serve as the temporary capital of the state until construction was completed for the permanent state capital of Jefferson City in 1826.

The state government was granted free rooms to be used for the state legislature to meet in. These rooms were on the second floor of the old state capitol, above a hardware store and a residence. The old state capitol is actually four brick buildings connected together. It is known for its rough-hewn timbers and dark wood floors.

During your time there, you can learn about how the state government was formed and what life looked like in the early 19th century. The admission fees for the old state capitol are $4.50 for adults and $3 for youth aged from 6 to 17. Those who are under the age of six get free admission.

Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum

The Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum is located between Frontier Park and the Missouri River at the southeastern corner of the historic district. This is the museum where you can learn about the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition. This museum offers Native American artifacts and Missouri River habits that the expedition encountered on their journey westward.

The museum also house full scale replicas of the keelboat and pirogues that the expedition used to journey to the Pacific Ocean in the early 19th century. You can also check out the artwork, Missouri River Walk. This is the largest indoor mural in the state of Missouri.

The entrance fees for the museum are $5 for adults and $2 for children under the age of 17. There is also a gift shop onsite called The Trading Post.

So, the St. Charles Historic District is excellent for things to do in St. Charles, MO. Also, have you wondered about where the mighty Missouri River navigates its way through the United States? It also travels through the states of North Dakota and South Dakota.

Both of their respective capitals, Bismarck and Pierre, are located on the Missouri River. If you are wondering about places that you can visit in Bismarck, you can visit this post to learn more. As far as Pierre is concerned, you will want to head here for what to do if you end up in South Dakota’s capital.

St. Charles, Missouri Hotels

If you are in search of a hotel room to stay overnight at in St. Charles, I will give you a helping hand. Here are the two hotels that I would suggest you to book your stay at.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, St. Charles, MO

This hotel is located on South Main Street just south of the St. Charles Historic District. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Given this hotel’s proximity to the historic district, there are plenty of restaurants within walking distance. A few of them include Magpie’s Restaurant, Hendrick’s BBQ, and Trailhead Brewing Co. This hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

There is also a fitness center available 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 $83 to $171. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Hampton Inn St. Louis/St. Charles

This hotel is located on West Clay Street near the interchange of Interstate 70 and Harry S. Truman Boulevard around nine minutes drive west of the historic district. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Also, there are onsite barbeque facilities available if you are planning any cookout during your stay.

If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Mario’s Donuts and Cafe, Lil Mickey’s Memphis Barbeque, and LongHorn Steakhouse. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub available at the hotel. If you are in need of a place to workout, there is a fitness center available for you at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi and mini refrigerators.

The average rate for a standard room range from $96 to $148. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to visiting the St. Charles Historic District? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Bismarck, North Dakota

Bismarck is the capital of the US state of North Dakota. It hugs the mighty Missouri River which lies along the west end of town. Bismarck is home to a unique kind of state capitol. History buffs with an overall interest in North Dakota will want to check out the North Dakota Heritage Center.

Another place that history buffs, along with those wanting to taste the North Dakota outdoors along the Missouri River, should visit Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park. These are the things to do in Bismarck, North Dakota.

North Dakota State Capitol

(Photo courtesy of Bobak Ha’Eri via Wikimedia)

The North Dakota State Capitol is located on East Boulevard Avenue north of downtown Bismarck. The state capitol is unique in that it is not a domed building as many other state capitols are. Rather, North Dakota’s state capitol takes the form of a 21-story tower. Believe it or not, the state capitol is the tallest skyscraper, not just in Bismarck, but also in North Dakota.

In fact, the state capitol has been dubbed the Skyscraper on the Prairie. It is designed in the Art Deco architectural style. The state capitol contains the office of North Dakota’s governor, Doug Burgum, along with the state legislature and the state Supreme Court. Both chambers of the state legislature are housed in the state capitol’s west wing while the state Supreme Court is housed in the east wing.

The state capitol also contains an observation deck on the 18th floor which you can visit in order to get a nice view of the surroundings. In fact, the observation deck offers the highest vantage point in North Dakota. The central part of the state capitol’s beautiful grounds is the Capitol Mall.

It contains a large, neat-looking lawn with walking paths lined with American Elm trees, including the one that former US President George H.W. Bush gave to North Dakota in 1989 for its 100th anniversary as a state. The grounds also hold two lovely parks – Myron Atkinson Park and the Capitol Park. The admission to the state capitol is available to everyone free of charge.

North Dakota Heritage Center

(Photo courtesy of State Historical Society of North Dakota via Wikimedia)

The North Dakota Heritage Center is also located on the grounds that houses the North Dakota State Capitol. So, getting there should be a nice breeze. This is the official history museum of the state of North Dakota where you can go and learn about the state’s history dating as far back as 600 million years ago. The museum is divided into three permanent galleries.

Each one of the three permanent galleries represents a time period in North Dakota’s history. They are Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time, Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples, and Inspiration Gallery: Yesterday and Today. The first permanent gallery will have you explore what North Dakota was like between 600 million and 13,00 years ago.

A major feature of this gallery is the life-sized casts of a T. rex and Triceratops engaging in a battle during a time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. As you will see, the geology of North Dakota was vastly different hundred of millions years ago compared to today. You will also learn about the first people ever to set foot in the state 13,000 years ago.

The second permanent gallery is concerned with the Native American tribes and how they lived in North Dakota starting about 13,000 years ago through the 1860’s. One thing you will learn about is the inventions that the tribes had made which include the bow and arrow, and clay pottery. This gallery houses over one thousand artifacts for you to check out such as the skeleton of a bison that was killed by big-game hunters.

The third permanent exhibit covers the time period from two hundred years ago to today. The stories of North Dakota and its people within this gallery cover six themes. They are Agricultural Innovation, Industry and Energy, Newcomers and Settlement, Conflict and War, Our Lives, Our Communities; and Cultural Expressions.

Major features of this gallery include a homestead shack, a 1950’s soda shop, and a modern tractor cab. There is free admission to the North Dakota Heritage Center for everybody. There is an onsite restaurant called the James River Cafe. Those of you looking for souvenirs can browse the museum’s onsite store.

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park

(Photo courtesy of MatthewUND via Wikimedia)

Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park is located on Fort Lincoln Road on the west bank of the Missouri River southwest of Bismarck. This historically significant state park served two purposes in the history of the area. First, it was a thriving village that belonged to the American Indian tribe known as the Mandan.

It was established in 1575 and lasted for about two hundred years until a major smallpox plague resulted in significant population losses for the tribe and forced it to move north. The tribe built earth lodges in order to form a village. The village supported itself by hunting bisons and growing a number of crops. After the tribe left, the location was converted into a military fort in 1872.

The military fort was led by George A. Custer who was known for leading the US Army in its war against the Sioux tribes for access to land in the Dakotas in the 1870’s. The fort was used in order to secure the expansion of the Northern Pacific Railway through the area. It also served as a base of operation for the US Army in its battles with the Sioux tribes.

(Photo courtesy of Gooseterrain2 via Wikimedia)

Today, the state park contains two attractions that reflect the history of this location. The first one is the On-A-Slant Indian Village which is a replica of the earth lodge village that the Mandan tribe lived in. The second attraction is Fort Abraham Lincoln which is a replica of the military fort that George A. Custer headed. It contains replicas of the buildings that existed during the military fort days.

This includes the Victorian-era home of George A. Custer. Both the Custer home and the Indian village are open for guided tours. They act as living history museums with costumed staff onsite in order to transport you back in time. The tour fees are $8 for adults and $5 for students. You can go here to buy your tour tickets.

If you are looking for souvenirs and/or want something to drink, you can head to the state park’s commissary store. Also, the state park contains hiking trails for you to soak in the beautiful Missouri River scenery.

These are the things to do in Bismarck, North Dakota. Also, if you are into the outdoors, you may want to consider taking a trip to visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park which is about two hours drive west of Bismarck on Interstate 94. You can learn more about by reading this post from late March.

Bismarck, North Dakota Hotels

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at during your time in the North Dakota capital, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you book your stay at.

Days Inn by Wyndham Bismarck

This hotel is located on East Capitol Avenue just south of the interchange of Interstate 94 and US 83 in Bismarck. This hotel offers free breakfast. If you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include 40 Steak and Seafood, Texas Roadhouse, and LongHorn Steakhouse. This hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

There is also a fitness center available at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, coffee makers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $59 to $84. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Sleep Inn & Suites I-94 – Bismarck

This hotel is located on East Century Avenue just north of the US 83 and Interstate 94 interchange in Bismarck. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. A few nearby restaurants include Sickies Garage Burgers & Brew, 40 Steak & Seafood, and LongHorn Steakhouse. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

A fitness center is also available for your workout needs at the hotel. All of the rooms and suites at the hotel come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $73 to $104. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you spent time in Bismarck before? Feel free to leave a comment here.

What To Do In Kansas – Old West Museums

The US state of Kansas is treasured with history related to the Old West. Kansas was a place where a mixture of outlaws and pioneers thrived in the 19th century. Those of you who are fascinated with the American frontier will be wondering about what to do in Kansas.

The good news is that there are two museums in the state where you can go to get your Old West fix. One of the two museums is located in Wichita, Kansas’ largest city. The other one is located in Dodge City which is located in the southwestern part of Kansas, about 2 hours and 35 minutes drive west of Wichita.

Old Cowtown Museum

(Photo courtesy of Kansas Tourism via Flickr)

The Old Cowtown Museum is located on Museum Boulevard just north of the winding Arkansas River in Wichita. This is a living history museum. You are being transported back through time to a Wichita that existed between 1865 to 1880. This museum examines Wichita’s transformation from a frontier settlement to a cattle town and then into an agricultural and manufacturing hub.

The museum’s staff dress themselves in costumes from that time period in order to heighten your immersion into 19th century Wichita. This museum covers 54 historic and re-created buildings with all of them available for you to explore. The museum is divided into unique districts. They are Residential Street, Business and Industrial Areas, Wichita’s Beginnings, 1880 DeVore Farm, and Blood Family Homestead.

The Business and Industrial Areas district is where you will find the kinds of businesses that were common to most Old West towns as well as these that were unique to Wichita. Some of them include Arkansas Valley Grain Elevator & Scale House, Wichita & Southwestern Depot, Drugstore, General Store, First Arkansas Valley Bank, and Fritz Snitzler’s Saloon.

The Residential Street district is where you can find the houses from 19th century Wichita. There were basically two types of houses depending on which group of people built them. The local businessmen built what was called in Old West Wichita, comfortable homes. The newly arrived settlers built houses using quick and easy construction techniques that were common during that time period.

Wichita was an Old West boomtown. The 1875 census had the town’s population at 62. By 1880, the population had grown to 246 residents. For the sake of comparison, the Wichita of today has a population of 382,368 as of the 2010 census.

The Wichita’s Beginnings district focuses on the economic activity that built the town in the first place. It all began when men came to the Great Plains to hunt for animal meat. The skins of animals, especially the buffalo, turned into a very profitable business for the hunters. They took the opportunity to trade with American Indian tribes, recently arriving settlers, and other hunters.

That helped to fuel the economic activity to start up Wichita. Darius S. Munger was the town’s founder. Even though there were already residents living in the area, Darius was the first person to formally attempt to build the town. His house, Munger House, can be found within this district. The 1880 DeVore Farm district is where the DeVore Farm is located.

When you are there, you can check out the animals and farm machinery that were common to farms in the 1880’s. The Blood Family Homestead district is where you can find the fruit orchard that belonged to multiple generations of the Blood family. The orchard was used to grow the fruits to be sold in the area. At first, the Blood family grew apples in their orchard. They then eventually switched to growing peaches.

The admission prices for the Old Cowtown Museum are $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for ages 12 to 17, and $6 for ages 5 to 11. Those who are aged under 5 will get free admission. There is also a gift shop located at the entrance to the museum. It is called S.G. Bastian and Sons Mercantile.

Hotel Suggestion: Best Western Plus Wichita West Airport Inn

This hotel is located on West Kellogg Street in Wichita. It is about 3.8 miles southwest of the Old Cowtown Museum near the interchange with US Route 54. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Bella Vita, Town & Country Restaurant, and Hog-Wild Bar-B-Q. The hotel contains an outdoor swimming pool.

There is also a fitness center available at the hotel for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $70 to $109. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Boot Hill Museum

(Photo courtesy of Chris Murphy via Flickr)

The Boot Hill Museum is located on West Wyatt Earp Boulevard in Dodge City. This museum is similar to the Old Cowtown Museum in Wichita. That is because this museum takes the form of the Old West-style main street of a Dodge City that existed in the 1870’s and 1880’s during its notorious lawless days in which there were frequent gunfights between the outlaws and the lawmen.

Members of the museum staff are dressed in costumes from that time period in order to draw you into Dodge City during its American frontier days. You can check out the Old West-style stop fronts to soak in the interiors and view more than 60,000 objects from the infamous era. These include firearms, photographs, clothing, personal items, and Native American artifacts.

The most exciting thing about the museum is its shows. The first one is the gunfighting show. It takes place in front of the buildings and reenacts the infamous gunfighting between the outlaws and the lawmen. The second show is the Long Branch Saloon Variety Show. This is where a group of ladies in dress costumes perform the dances from Dodge City’s Old West days.

This dance show takes place in the iconic Long Branch Saloon. Even though you can visit the Boot Hill Museum any time of the year, it would be better if you do so during the summer. That is because this is when the two exciting shows happen. That way, you will have more fun during your time at the museum. The shows take place from Memorial Day through mid August.

The admission prices to the museum are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors, and $11 for those aged from 5 to 12. Those who are aged under 5 will receive free admission. For those of you who would like fudges can get some inside the General Store building. Ice cream is also available onsite at the Beatty and Kelley Ice Cream Parlor. A gift shop is also available at the museum if you would like souvenirs.

Hotel Suggestion: Hampton Inn and Suites Dodge City

This hotel is located on West Comanche Street in the western portion of Dodge City, about 3.6 miles from the Boot Hill Museum. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. A few nearby restaurants for the hungry are Central Station Bar & Grill, Prime on the Nine, and Bella Italia. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

Those of you who are looking for a place to workout can do so at the hotel’s fitness center. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $103 to $160. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

Old West buffs looking for what to do in Kansas should look no further than these two museums. These two museums are like time machines that will transport you back in time to that era. Also worthy of consideration is a trip south to the bustling Texas city of Ft. Worth. When you read this post, you will easily see why the city has been nicknamed Cowtown.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to immerse yourself in the Old West in Kansas? Feel free to leave a comment here.

What To Do In South Dakota – Sioux Falls

The US state of South Dakota is renowned for being the home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial as well as not just one, but two, national parks – Badlands and Wind Cave. All of these serene beauties are located in the western portion of the state. Across the sweeping plains of South Dakota lie Sioux Falls.

The bustling city surrounds the scenic Big Sioux River in the far eastern part of South Dakota near the state border with Minnesota. Sioux Falls is the state’s largest city. As such, the city comes with compelling attractions of its own. So, if you aren’t sure where to start for what to do in South Dakota, may I suggest the state’s biggest city?

(Photo courtesy of Maxpower2727 via Wikimedia)

Falls Park

(Photo courtesy of unknown via Wikimedia)

Falls Park is Sioux Falls most famous attraction. So, this should be the first place that you visit in the city. The park is located just north of downtown Sioux Falls. It is home to beautiful waterfalls. In fact, the waterfalls is a big part of how the city got the name Sioux Falls. The waterfalls average about 7,400 gallons of water per second as it drops 100 feet down the Big Sioux River.

The waterfalls had been known to exist since the last ice age around 14,000 years ago. Sioux Falls was founded around the waterfalls in 1856, hence the city’s name. There is a 50-foot viewing tower located at the Falls Park Visitor Information Center where you can get a nice overhead view of the waterfalls. There is also a gift shop inside the visitor center.

Should you get hungry, you can head to the Falls Overlook Cafe which gives you a chance to dine while soaking in the views of the waterfalls. If you are looking to go on at least a short hike, there is a trail that starts within Falls Park and then travels along the Big Sioux River as it navigates its way through Sioux Falls.

Also, there are 12 permanent sculptures throughout Falls Park for you to discover. Monarch of the Plains, American Farmer, For Which it Stands, and Coming Home are among the permanent sculptures within the park.

Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science

(Photo courtesy of Jon Platek via Wikimedia)

You will then want to head into Sioux Falls’ vibrant downtown to the Washington Pavilion of Arts and Science. It is a multi-story building of Neoclassical style that houses multiple attractions within it. There are two attractions in particular that I would like to discuss.

Kirby Science Discover Center

The first attraction is the Kirby Science Discover Center. It is a massive science museum that takes up three floors. It contains over 100 hands-on exhibits for you to check out. The science museum covers a wide range of topics from outer space to tornadoes to rock climbing to music and movies. One hands-on exhibit is called Jack’s Imagination Lab.

This is where children of all ages can learn about science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics by participating in an activity in which they try to think of something and then try to build it using a set of kid-friendly tools. A scavenger hunt activity is also featured within this hands-on exhibit in which children search for answers to images and facts shown on a large display.

Dinosaur Discovery is a hands-on exhibit in which you can learn about dinosaurs that once roamed the land that is now South Dakota, including the Dakotaraptors, Pterosaurs, and Triceratops. There is a life-sized model of a T-Rex. You can also dig for dinosaur bones and learn about the tools used to uncover fossils.

There is an interesting experience within this hands-on exhibit in which you can ride a Jurassic Jeep and meet a couple of dinosaur scientists to learn about how they study dinosaurs. There is also an activity to color dinosaurs on interactive screens. The Learn South Dakota hands-on exhibit is basically what it sounds like – a place for you to learn about the state of South Dakota.

Here are a few of the hands-on activities in which you can learn about the state. The first one involves you in selecting a type of South Dakotan as your player, ranging from a farmer to an inventor, and take an interactive quiz regarding the state. The second one will have you become the fifth US president to be on Mount Rushmore via an interactive postcard.

The third hands-on activity will give you a better feel for a tornado by actually touching one. These are among the hands-on exhibits available at the science museum. The admission prices for the Kirby Science Discover Museum are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and military members, and $7 for ages 3 to 17.

Those aged under 3 will get free admission. It is worth noting that the admission into the Visual Arts Center, which I will be talking about in a moment, is also included when buying the passes to the science museum.

Visual Art Center

The second attraction within the Washington Pavilion is the Visual Arts Center. This art museum is home to seven galleries that showcase a variety of artwork from local, national, and international artists. Each of these seven galleries has an area of focus as far as the type of artwork and artists are concerned. The Jerstad Gallery is focused on artwork from well known contemporary artists in a variety of styles and media.

The Contemporary Gallery is where you can find installations, video art, and new media. Artwork created by artists with ties with the southeastern region of South Dakota can be viewed in the Shultz Gallery. The Egger Gallery is dedicated to Northern Plains Tribal Art. Those of you wanting to see South Dakota-inspired artwork will want to check out the Bates Trimble Gallery.

The Everist Gallery is concerned with large-scale artwork. Lastly, the Young Artists Gallery is, as you can guess, is focused on displaying artwork created by young local artists.

Great Plains Zoo

(Photo courtesy of Jake DeGroot via Wikimedia)

Animal lovers hungering for a place to go in Sioux Falls will want to head to the Great Plains Zoo. The mid-sized zoo is located on South Kiwanis Avenue in Sioux Falls between downtown and Interstate 29. The zoo is home to more than one thousand animals from 137 species, including 43 endangered species. The zoo’s signature animals are the snow monkeys.

Also among the animals you can check out at the zoo are tigers, giraffe, rhinos, zebras, and anteaters. The zoo is divided into eight categories, each focusing on a particular group of animals. They are North America, African Savannah, Primates, Flamingos, Asian Cats, Birds, Bugs & Amphibians, Hy-Vee Face to Face Farm, and Endangered Animals.

The zoo also contains the Delbridge Museum of Natural History which is home to a unique collection of 150 mounted animals, including 38 vanishing species. The admission prices to the Great Plains Zoo are $12.75 for adults, $11.75 for seniors, and $9.75 for children aged 2 to 12. Those aged under 2 will get free admission to the zoo.

These are some places for you to check out in Sioux Falls. Regardless of whether the city is your stopover on the way to other destinations within South Dakota or your standalone destination, there is something to do there. So, I would suggest you to give the city a look for what to do in South Dakota.

Sioux Falls Hotels

If you are in need of a hotel to stay at in Sioux Falls, I am happy to help you out with this. Here are the two hotels I would suggest you to book your stay at.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Sioux Falls, SD

This hotel is located on East Eighth Street in downtown Sioux Falls. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. If you get hungry, the hotel houses an onsite restaurant called Falls Landing. There is an indoor, heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. If you are looking for a place to workout, the hotel contains a fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $92 to $199. You can go here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Sioux Falls

This hotel is located on West 41st Street west of Interstate 29 in Sioux Falls. Free breakfast is available at the hotel. For nearby dining options, a few of them include Texas Roadhouse, Shahi Palace, and PizzaRev. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is also a fitness center available for your workouts.

All of the rooms at the hotel offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $100 to $149. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or view some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to check out South Dakota’s biggest city? Feel free to leave a comment here.

Things To Do In Springfield, IL – The City Of Abraham Lincoln

If there is anything that you know about Springfield in the US state of Illinois, it is the state’s capital. But, did you know that Springfield was also the home to former US president Abraham Lincoln. Anyone who is familiar with American history will recognize him as the president who united the United States following its civil war in the 1860’s.

Before he went on to become the US president, he spent much of his life and career in Springfield. So, as a result of that, there are a few things to do in Springfield, IL that has to do with Abraham Lincoln.

(Photo courtesy of Moses Parker Rice via Wikimedia)

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

(Photo courtesy of Meagan Davsi via Wikimedia)

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site is located on the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets in Springfield. That was the home that Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln lived during their time in Springfield. This was the only home that they ever owned in their lives. Three out of four of Abraham and Mary’s children were born within this home.

These three children were Edward Baker Lincoln, William Wallace Lincoln, and Thomas Lincoln. One of them died inside the home at the age of three from tuberculosis. Before the Lincolns bought this home in May of 1844, it once belonged to the Reverend Charles Dresser who officiated the wedding of Abraham and Mary two years earlier.

When the Lincolns bought the home for around $1,500 in 1844, it started out as a small one and a half floor home with five rooms in total. As the Lincoln family expanded over time, the home went through four renovations in order to accommodate the expanding family. The renovations were completed in 1860 when the house expanded to two full stories with twelve rooms.

Today, the Lincoln home appears just as it did in 1860 after all the four renovations were completed. It is designed in the Greek Revival architectural style with Italianate influences. The entrance to the historic, stately Lincoln Home is free for everybody.

Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site

(Photo courtesy of Zol87 via Wikimedia)

During much of Abraham Lincoln’s time in Springfield, he was a lawyer. He maintained a law office on the third floor of a historic three story brick building that is now known as the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site. The building is located on the corner of Sixth and Adam Streets in an area of Springfield known as the Central Springfield Historic District.

Abraham practiced law within this building from 1843 until 1852. During his time practicing law within the building, he had two partners – Stephen T. Logan and William H. Herndon. The second floor of the building was occupied by a federal courtroom which Abraham was known to appear before District Judge Nathaniel Pope regarding 40 regular cases and 72 bankruptcy proceedings as a lawyer.

During nearly 25 years of his career as a lawyer, Abraham held law offices in more than one building in Springfield. However, this is the only building that has been preserved in order to resemble what it was like during his time there. The first floor contains a visitor’s center with exhibits and a video exploring Abraham’s legal career. The second floor is a recreation of the courtroom that Abraham used to show up.

When you reach the third floor, you can view the actual offices that Abraham and his partners used to occupy. Tours of the building is free for everybody although donations of $2 for adults and $1 for children are encouraged. There is also a gift shop on the first floor of the building.

Old State Capitol State Historic Site

(Photo courtesy of Jasperdo via Flickr)

The Old State Capitol State Historic Site is located on East Adams Street in downtown Springfield, just north of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices building. Even though the old state capitol is generally known to be the former seat of Illinois government, it has a few notable connections to Abraham Lincoln.

First, it was in the old state capitol that Abraham served his final term as a state house representative in the early 1840’s. Second, the old state capitol was where Abraham argued several hundred cases as a lawyer before the state Supreme Court which was housed inside the old state capitol during that period.

Thirdly and most importantly, it was in the old state capitol where Abraham launched his successful 1860 presidential bid in June of 1858 with his iconic House Divided speech. The old state capitol is built in the Greek Revival architectural style with locally sourced yellow Sugar Creek limestone.

It is surrounded by a large neatly landscaped yard with historic 1850’s-era ornamental iron fencing. Admission to the old state capitol is free to all. Even so, donations are still encouraged at $2 for adults and $1 for children.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

(Photo courtesy of John Kannenberg via Flickr)

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is located on North Sixth Street to the northeast of the old state capitol in Springfield. This museum is dedicated to the entire life of Abraham Lincoln from his childhood to his time in Springfield to his presidency. The permanent exhibits at the museum are divided into three categories.

The first category is called Journey One: The Pre-Presidential Years. The second one is called Journey Two: The Presidential Years. The third one is known as The Treasure Gallery.

In the first category, you will experience various aspects of Abraham’s life before he became president. These include a teenaged Abraham studying law books within his childhood log cabin, his home life during his Springfield years, his legal and political careers, and his 1860 presidential campaign. The second category focuses on different parts of Abraham’s presidential years.

These include his famous Gettysburg address, the way he dealt with the death of one of his children, the time that Mary Lincoln was fitted for a gown by her dressmaker in the White House’s Blue Room, and his assassination at the Ford Theater. In The Treasure Gallery, you will check out various items from throughout Abraham’s life.

The admission prices for the museum are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and students, $10 for military members, and $6 for children aged 5 through 15. Those aged under 5 will get free admission. You can head here to buy your tickets for the museum.

These are the things to do in Springfield, IL that revolve around the iconic 16th president of the United States. This central Illinois city played a major role in Abraham Lincoln’s journey towards unifying a civil war-fractured nation.

Springfield Hotels

Should you be in search of a hotel to stay overnight at during your time in Springfield, I am here to lend you a hand. Here are two hotels I would suggest you to book your stay at.

Baymont by Wyndham Springfield

This hotel is located on Sixth Street Frontage Road East in Springfield. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Lake Point Grill, Cracker Barrel, and Head West. The hotel houses a hybrid indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. There is a fitness center available for your workout needs.

All of the hotel’s rooms come with WiFi, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. The average rate for a standard room range from $66 to $112. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or view some photos.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Springfield, IL

This hotel is located on Adlai Stevenson Drive in Springfield. This hotel offers free breakfast to guests. For the hungry, a few dining options nearby include Bob Evans, Red Lobster, and Taste of Thai Restaurant. You can find an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for you to use.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $75 to $122. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to immerse yourself into Abraham Lincoln’s life in Springfield? Feel free to leave a comment below.

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.

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.