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Rainy Day Activities in the Black Hills

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Rainy days aren’t meant to be spent gazing forlornly out of a window, wishing for the sun to peek out; on the contrary, afternoon rain showers present the opportunity to experience an area in a whole new way. Whether it’s sampling award-winning local wines or going on an adventure fit for the entire family, there are plenty of Black Hills attractions that allow you to escape the rain while enjoying unique indoor activities that make for a memorable vacation. So, if the forecast is calling for some sprinkles, don’t fret - instead, check a few of these great ways to spend an afternoon off of your list!

Take a Craft Beer/Fine Wine Tour

What better way is there to spend a dreary afternoon than by trying some of the best craft beers and wines that the region has to offer?! The following are only some of the many eclectic wineries and breweries that are located throughout the Black Hills  - head to our itinerary builder to view additional brewery and winery options.

Located only 15 minutes from the Powder House Lodge, Miner Brewing Company offers a truly South Dakota-inspired experience, complete with a rustic taproom and beers made from local and regional ingredients. This Black Hills brewery features both a collection of year-round beers that are influenced by European styles, as well as a constantly rotating selection of specialty and seasonal beers.

Neighbors to Miner Brewing Company, as well as run by the same owners, Prairie Berry Winery is a must-stop for every wine connoisseur. Their large collection of wines - ranging from the semi-sweet Lawrence Elk that features notes of raspberry and juniper, to Calamity Jane, which contains hints of candied orange zest - includes a selection to please every palate, made with ingredients sourced right here in South Dakota.

Lost Cabin Beer Co. is all about showcasing pride for the Black Hills, from the furniture in their taproom, which is made from locally-sourced pine, to their wide selection of beers, which are made from South Dakota ingredients and bear names such as “Buzzard’s Roost”. This popular brewery is located near downtown Rapid City, making it a convenient stop during your rainy day adventures!

Another tasty option just minutes from the Powder House Lodge, Sick-N-Twisted Brewery Co. serves up a unique selection of beers with distinctly Sick-N-Twisted names, such as Naughty Redhead, their exotic red ale, and Hot for Teacher, a PB&J specialty brew. Make sure to grab a growler of your new favorite to enjoy later!

Explore Family-Friendly Destinations

Kids can often be the hardest to keep entertained during those afternoon showers that commonly pop up this time of year; luckily, with all of the indoor fun to be had in the Black Hills, your day can be just as memorable and action-packed as a clear, sunny afternoon! Pack up the family and head to one of these attractions to end those rainy day blues.

A Guinness Book of World Records winner for the world’s largest reptile zoo, Reptile Gardens is an essential part of any family’s Black Hills vacation. And the best part of this attraction is that you don’t have to be outside to explore an outdoor-like atmosphere - the giant Sky Dome encloses the Safari Room, where you can walk among tropical plants and free-roaming birds and reptiles. In fact, most of their collection of animals - which include snakes, crocodiles, lizards, bugs and much more - is housed indoors, giving the opportunity for adventure no matter the weather.

Located in Hot Springs, Mammoth Site is another Black Hills attraction that holds a worldwide record: largest mammoth research facility. As an active paleontological dig site containing 61 mammoths, it is truly a sight worth seeing. Not only will a visit to Mammoth Site entertain, but it will also educate on fossil identification, erosion, odontology and more. Pay a visit to their gift shop for one-of-a-kind souvenirs to take home!

With this indoor Rapid City waterpark, there’s no need for dry, cloud-free days to bust out the swim gear and make a splash! Watiki Waterpark boasts 30,000 feet filled with pool activities and games for all ages, as well as an arcade and dining options. Whether you want to zoom down a waterslide or relax in a hot tub, a visit to this Black Hills attraction is sure to please.

Evan’s Plunge offers another indoor swimming option with a unique twist - the pools of spring-fed waters are kept at a mild 87°F and are minimally treated, providing a swimming experience unlike any you’ve had before. Try your hand at one of the many activities and games they have available, including swing rings and water basketball, or chill in their steam room - whatever you decide to do, a visit will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Get Inspired by Local Art

Checking out an area’s art scene is a great way to get a feel of the region’s culture, as well as get motivated to create some masterpieces of your own! Since most art galleries are located indoors, they also make for an interesting and educational outing during a rainy day. Click here for more Black Hills art galleries to add to your art tour.

Owned and operated by South Dakotans, Warrior’s Work and Ben West Gallery showcases Native American and contemporary art by regional artists in many mediums, including sculptures made of wood, glass, stone and bronze. The gallery is located in Hill City, a short 15 minute drive from the Powder House Lodge, giving you quick access to awe-inspiring art during your Black Hills vacation.

This Rapid City art gallery is the region’s hub for contemporary visual arts, arts education and performing arts since 1974, and houses five visual art galleries, an interactive children’s gallery, gift shop and much more. Their art exhibits are rotated regularly, and feature local and regional artists who create stunning works in a variety of mediums. Admission is free, although donations are welcome and go right back into keeping the Dahl running for the enjoyment of all who visit.

Travel off the beaten path and visit this unique Spearfish art gallery, which features up to 70 fascinating termespheres that will wow your crew. Termespheres are optical illusions that are painted so that upon observing them, you get a complete 360° look into each unique world that the artist, Dick Termes, has created. Termes often works on his pieces right in the gallery, so don’t be surprised if you see him hard at work during your visit!

Find the Perfect Black Hills Keepsake

A rainy afternoon shopping trip not only allows you to avoid the downpour, but is also the ideal occasion for picking up some souvenirs that will allow you to fondly look back on your vacation. You can also head to one of the following destinations for a locally-made gift that the recipient is sure to love!

A walk through downtown Keystone to visit the large variety of shops available allows you to browse many different options quickly, all without much risk of getting wet in the rain in the process. From gourmet chocolates to handcrafted jewelry, you’re sure to find plenty of goodies that you can’t resist, just minutes from the Powder House Lodge!

Whether you’re looking for a good book to read, some outdoor gear or the perfect toy, the Shops at Main Street Square have what you need, all located conveniently in one building. Make sure to stop by the Square’s Silver Linings Creamery to indulge in one of their delectable ice creams, made with fresh ingredients in small batches. If you have an umbrella on hand, take a stroll to the many other nearby shops and boutiques in downtown Rapid City, including Prairie Edge, the top destination for Native American art, books and jewelry.

If you traveled to the Black Hills by car, it is very likely that you saw one of the many roadside Wall Drug signs offering free ice water and advertising their delicious donuts. However, Wall Drug has much more than snacks; their shops carry quality Western apparel, handmade toys, jewelry, books and more. Make it a true Wall Drug experience during your visit and grab a bite at their Western Art Gallery Restaurant, home to the largest private art collection in the country.

Learn More About the Black Hills

The rich history of this region makes for a fascinating time spent browsing local museums and other educational attractions. If you’re bringing little ones along for the ride, don’t worry - you won’t hear one “I’m bored” with these enriching, adventurous options!

Learn more about the days of Wild Bill Hickok and Seth Bullock at Deadwood’s Adams Museum, showcasing actual personal belongings from these notorious figures of the gold rush. You’ll receive a crash course on the fascinating, and sometimes questionable, actions that were made in attempt to restore law and order during such an unruly time. Make sure you take a tour of the Adams House as well, which includes all of its original furnishings down to sheet music on the piano, to get a glimpse into life in the late 19th century.

Situated in central Rapid City, The Journey Museum offers a peek inside of the region’s past, as well as enriching information on Native American culture. They offer many hands-on programs that give kids the opportunity to learn in fun and interesting ways, as well as activities and events for adults, which are all often included in general museum admission.

Located on the School of Mines & Technology campus in Rapid City, the Museum of Geology showcases thousands of fossils and minerals so spectacular, your jaw is sure to drop. Little ones will love the Kids’ Zone, where there are fun, interactive ways to learn about geology and paleontology. The best part about a visit to this Black Hills attraction? It’s free, making it a great stop for those on a budget!

Head to our itinerary builder to view more Black Hills attractions and create your own rainy day adventure!

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