Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The South Dakota Sights

First let me start by saying South Dakota looks nothing like I expected. It was so incredibly beautiful and the sunsets rival those of home. We stopped at the 1880 Town on the way back from Rapid City where they had a Dances With Wolves display and if you ever wanted to see what the real South Dakota looks like, watch that movie.

Outside the visitor's center at Crazy Horse

On Sunday morning we woke up early and headed out to tour Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore. I had also read about Sylvan Lake in a brochure and wanted to see that as well. Our first stop was the Crazy Horse Memorial which was about 30 miles from the hotel in Rapid City. The drive seemed to take a while as the roads were very winding. We paid our $20 to enter the park and were greeted with a long distance view of the memorial. It was breathtaking.

Indian Museum of North America

We entered the complex through the Visitor's Center and watched a quick movie about the creation of the memorial and then we toured the Indian Museum of North America. In this area are large viewing windows and we took several pictures here and went on to the the Native American Cultural Center and gift shop before we stopped at the outside viewing area. Here we took more pictures and Tobey practiced his National Geographic skills by manning the camcorder. I really must apologize for the video he took at Crazy Horse and Rushmore - apparently he has a nostril fixation.

Any who - In the original lobby area you can make a donation to the memorial and take home a piece of blasted granite from the rock box. I picked up two good size chunks for Frodo and the boys. Buttercup was none too impressed when I presented her with the chunk of granite but Frodo did get a bit misty-eyed and I was so happy because I knew he would just treasure that chunk of stone for the rest of his life.

"Where are your lands now Crazy Horse?"

"My lands are where my dead lie buried."

There was so much to see at this memorial and we easily spent a few hours here. I have done a quick comparison to show you the sheer size of the memorial in comparison to Mount Rushmore. The movie we watched showed that all of Mount Rushmore would fit in the hair of Crazy Horse and the Crazy Horse website says that Rushmore would fit in the horse's head area of the memorial. There is tons of information on their website and I would advise everyone to go and take a look at it and be sure to view their live webcams.

Here are some interesting facts I learned at the Crazy Horse memorial:

-Korczak Ziolkowski, who designed and first began blast sculpting the memorial, also worked as an assistant to Gutzon Borglum on Mount Rushmore.

-When complete the memorial will be roughly 80 feet taller than the Giza Pyramid.

-The memorial is completely privately funded and the Ziolowski family has twice turned down the government's offer of $10 million dollars to assist in the completion of the project.

-Crazy Horse's head stands at 87.5 feet tall versus the heads of Rushmore coming in at a measly 60 feet tall.

-It is the world's largest sculpture.

While I believe it will take generations to finish this memorial, it truly is a sight to behold today. I can't imagine how much more inspiring it will be when it is completed. It would be my hope that they finish it in my children's lifetimes and that they will be able to take their children or grandchildren to visit the memorial.



It looks like you had a great trip, aside from the hotel!

Great photos :)

It's nice to sleep in your own bed, isn't it?

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