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9 Black Hills Attractions for Families with Young Children

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Traveling with little ones can present some challenges when planning a vacation. It can feel overwhelming trying to think of things to do with the entire family that everyone can participate in and enjoy, especially if you’re not too familiar with an area. Luckily, we’re here to point you in the direction of some great Black Hills attractions that not only offer fun activities for children ten years of age and younger, but also provide plenty of entertainment for your whole group. Add some of the following destinations to your itinerary for a vacation the family will be talking about for years to come!  


Have a Splash

No matter your age, nothing beats the sweet relief of splashing through cool water on a hot summer day! The Black Hills present plenty of opportunities for a dip, and each option below offers a unique aquatic experience.

Evans Plunge

As the Black Hills’ titleholder for oldest visitor attraction, Evans Plunge boasts pools of minimally-treated spring waters that are kept at a balmy 87°F, giving you a natural, comfortable swimming experience. The kids can join in this unique opportunity by checking out the attraction’s two kids’ pools, which include a slide that is safe for younger children as well as other age-appropriate water activities. There’s also a snack bar on site that serves up healthy treats, perfect for that inevitable moment that you hear the words “I’m hungry.”  Click here to learn more and add this attraction to your itinerary!

Watiki Indoor Water Park Resort

Perfect for those wanting some aquatic fun on a rainy day, Watiki Indoor Water Park Resort features Koko’s Kingdom, a haven for young kids filled with equipment suited just for them. They will also love the three mini-slides that are perfect for them to coast down!  The resort contains an arcade with forty classic and modern games, many of which little ones can also play and win tickets to redeem for prizes. Read more about Watiki and all of the family fun they have to offer!

Get Up Close and Personal with Animals

The Black Hills are home to creatures aplenty, and there are many safe opportunities to let your little ones have an animal encounter during your vacation that they won’t soon forget. Head to one of these attractions for some family time in the animal kingdom!

Reptile Gardens

A Black Hills vacation just isn’t complete without a visit to Reptile Gardens, located only 15 minutes from the Powder House Lodge. All ages will be fascinated by the attraction’s large collection of snakes, alligators, turtles, birds, and other animals, as well as the tropical oasis that is housed under the giant sky dome. The kids will have the perfect opportunity to interact safely with animals throughout the site, as well as take in animal shows that will captivate while they educate. Head to our Itinerary Builder to add Reptile Gardens to your list of things to do while in the Black Hills!

Old MacDonald’s Farm

Round out your trip to Reptile Gardens with a stop at Old MacDonald’s Farm, which is located just down the road from the reptile zoo. Instead of creepy crawlies, Old MacDonald’s Farm instead features hundreds of cute and cuddly farm animals in a safe, clean environment. Little ones will get a kick out of feeding the fish, pigs, lambs and goats – there are even opportunities to bottle feed baby animals! Pony and tractor train rides, pig races and climbing on the playground are also available to add to the family-friendly fun.  Learn more about this Black Hills attraction here!

Go on a One-of-a-Kind Adventure

If there’s one thing about the Black Hills, it’s that there are experiences that are truly unique to this area around every corner. During your visit, take your little ones to one of the following attractions so they can see the magic of the region for themselves!

Storybook Island

A wonderland where your child’s favorite nursing rhyme and fairy tale characters come to life, Storybook Island is filled with opportunities to climb, slide and swing to their little hearts content! In addition to play areas located throughout the site, kids can also enjoy a train ride through the park, a spin on the merry-go-round and shows at the Children’s Theater. Even better, attendance into the park is free, making this an affordable addition to your family vacation! Learn more about Storybook Island and make plans to witness the magic.

Cosmos Mystery Area

Take a short five minute drive from the Powder House Lodge to this mysterious family favorite! Parents and kids alike will be fascinated during the amazing 30 minute tour, where you’ll witness water running uphill and be able to stand on walls. The laws of physics simply don’t apply at this popular destination! Note: Due to the unique gravity pull of the area, the tour is not stroller accessible. Read more and plan your visit here!

Dinosaur Park

Dinosaur Park is the perfect stop to take if you’re checking out all of the shopping, dining and entertainment that Rapid City has to offer. Showcasing seven humongous concrete statues that represent species of dinosaurs that actually lived in the Black Hills, the park also boasts spectacular views of the area, making it a the prime destination for some excellent photo opportunities. Learn more about visiting Dinosaur Park, as well as its interesting history, here.

Squeeze in Some Kid-Friendly Education

Getting your kids to go to educational attractions during vacation can be as hard as getting them to polish off their vegetables at dinner. However, the area has many educational opportunities that are not only enriching, but engaging and entertaining, such as the ones below.

Journey Museum and Learning Center

The Journey Museum and Learning Center is not only a museum filled with exhibits showcasing the history and culture of the Black Hills, but also a destination for kids to learn more about astronomy, paleontology, art and much more with fun hands-on activities. Admission to the museum includes access to the plethora of programs that they offer throughout the day for all ages, making this a stop where you can make the most of your money. View their current list of daily programs here.

Mammoth Site

 As an active paleontological dig site that contains the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the whole world, The Mammoth Site is an easy choice for education and entertainment for the whole family. Kids ages 4-12 can take part in the Junior Paleontologist Program, where they will be able to dig for fossil replicas and learn proper excavation techniques. Just the sight of the full-sized replicas of mammoths and a bear will be enough to keep them talking about their visit for days! Click here to learn more about this unique attraction!

Head to our Itinerary Builder to view more Black Hills Attractions and build your family’s perfect vacation itinerary!

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