Rapid City – Day 3July 12, 2006 at 10:42 pm | Posted in Travel, Travelogues | Leave a comment
Got our first taste of the hot weather today. Headed straight for The Journey Museum in downtown here. Nice and cool inside. Sort of a Natural History and Industry Museum for the region. Pretty big and very well done. Kids enjoyed it as they had lots of things to touch and a fullsize teepee, etc. The history of the area is really much more interesting than I had realized. The exhibits were quite diverse and well-balanced. The portion covering the stormy history with the Native Americans is definitely, like slavery, not a very flattering part of American History. The details are somewhat shocking, depressing and a bit embarassing but people weren’t very smart I guess way back in those days. The Indians weren’t completely innocent either.
Here’s the kicker though. While I’m sure the parking lots were full at attractions like the Reptile Garden, Black Hills Caverns, Cosmos Mystery Area, Flinstones Bedrock City, and Gulches of Fun Amusement Park, we were the only ones in the entire museum expect for one other couple! Granted those other attractions are right alongside the highway, I think the fact this cool (in both meanings of the word) museum was virtually empty was a bit strange.
For lunch we ate at Gigglebees. This is a cheap copycat of Chuck E Cheese in an ugly strip mall between the K-mart and a Pawn Shop. Although half the games were broke, we knew the kids would have a great time. It was practically empty. The pizza was actually a little better than Chuck E Cheese and they were running a good Buffet deal. The funniest thing is that they had an electric remote control Coyote (Wilbur) that went around the tables on a track holdiing a platter (for deliverying pizzas). He had a speaker and mic and his head turned so he would stop and hold a conversation with the kids. It was absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately as soon as I gave Jordan and Nolan each 15 tokens, they spent them all in about 5 minutes on that game with the claw that tries to grab the stuffed animal before I was able to get to them to tell them it was a scam. I want some kickback on the indirect revenue Uncle Todd is getting on that game!
After lunch Lisa requested a trip to the local mall – your average size mall. Temperature was 102 degrees out about that time so it was a good place to go. It’s a dry heat and there is a good breeze so it could be a lot worse.
Kids swam at the hotel pool later and then we joined Sam and his friend Victor for some Mexican. We then headed to Mt. Rushmore which is suppose to be best at night. We got there in time to see it during the daylight and do the half-mile trail where we saw the mountain up close along with some mountain goats. The facility itself, aside from the mountain, is pretty nice. A nice little museum and large amphitheatre. The history on how it was made was quite facinating. At 9 PM they do a talk and short film. The 15-20 min. film talked about the sculptor and the process and then a short history on the four Presidents and what they represent. For political correctness, there was a very small portion that mentioned the part about the Native Americans being uprooted. I thought the movie was well done though overall. It had to be to make a semi-cynical person like me feel very patriotic. The movie concluded with the lighting of the mountain and the signing of the National Anthem then all the Veterans and active duty people in the crowd were asked to come up on stage. A Boy Scout troop performed the lowering of the flag ceremony then each person on stage said their name and part of the services they were from and received a standing ovation. Going at night is was well worth it. The kids lasted fine as they haven’t been going to sleep until about 10:30 anyway.
Nolan once again raided all the gift shops. They also keep requesting to go back to Safeway so they can buy some toys out of the toy machines. We are growing very tired of the whole thing. Nolan has become the in-car Game Show Host though throwing out Disney trivia questions during most of the time we are driving in the car. Sam’s friend Victor got a good kick out of it as he is knowledgeable on the subject himself.