For a fun family attraction that will both educate and intrigue your entire family, take a short trip from the Powder House and visit the Museum of Geology, located on the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus in Rapid City. The museum, which is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, is open year-round and admission is free of charge, making it a great destination to take your family for an affordable and entertaining learning experience.
Construction on the museum’s initial location began in 1885, which is also when the first assortment of over 5,000 fossils and minerals were given to the museum to put on display. Since then, the museum has changed locations within the campus, as well as continued to add on to its massive collection. Currently, the museum is located, as it has been for the last 75 years, on the third floor of O’Harra Hall, which is the main administrative building on the campus. The museum is open Monday through Saturday all year for visitors to explore, with hours being shortened during the winter months. For the younger ones in your family, the Kids’ Zone is available, where children can have a hands-on approach in discovering more about geology and paleontology. There is also a gift shop connected to the museum, perfect for buying one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home.
With so much to see and do at this Black Hills attraction, a first time visitor may wonder where they should begin their expedition. A good place to start is taking a stroll through the main room of the museum, where there will be a something for everyone to enjoy. For the paleontology fans, tour the fossils and find out more about the different mammals, dinosaurs, and marine life that have inhabited the area by not only reading about the creatures, but also by being up-close and personal with the actual remnants of the animal. If mineralogy piques your interest, check out the thousands of vibrant minerals in every color of the rainbow, and have taken over a century to accumulate. All of the exhibits come together to form a collection that contains unique relics that you can’t find anywhere else.
The museum also hosts two popular family events during the year that all ages are invited to attend, free of charge. In the early spring, the annual Dinosaur Eggstravaganza is held, where kids can uncover all there is to know about dinosaurs and how paleontologists dig up fossils. The Annual Night at the Museum is a Halloween event and provides a safe place for children to trick-or-treat, and also play educational games and activities. These events have become beloved annual traditions in the Black Hills community, and are a fantastic way to have fun with science.
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology’s Museum of Geology has a convenient location in central Rapid City that makes it a great stop while you’re checking out the area’s diverse shopping and entertainment. The enriching learning experience and remarkable displays will make for a memorable time during your visit to the Black Hills.
Hours of Operation
Rapid City, SD 57701