Friday, May 11, 2012

What To Do When You Visit Mount Rushmore?

So you’re coming for a visit to Mt. Rushmore ~ great!  What should you do?

First, realize that although visiting the monument is free, parking is not: there is an $11 charge to park, and it’s good for the rest of the calendar year in which you visit. Once you get settled, first stop at the Information Center (on your right) as you enter, and get some information and plan your day.  On your left as you enter, you can purchase audio tours ($5 each) that provide fabulous information as you walk the Presidential Trail. These tours take you on a 0.6 mile loop past the Avenue of Flags, into the Visitor’s Center (more on the VC later), as close as you can get to the monument, to the Sculptor Studio (again, more later) and back to the entrance.  Be forewarned that although it’s only a 0.6 mile trail, there are 422 steps at a 5500’ elevation. 

As you walk the Avenue of Flags, you’ll end up on the Grandview Terrance, which is on top of the Visitors’ Center.  Be sure you take the stairs or elevator down, as the Visitor’s Center offers a wonderful 14-minute movie about the making of the monument, a museum, and lots of displays with interesting information.

To get to the Sculptor’s Studio where you can see the 9th and final model of that the sculptor Gutzon Borglum used as the model for the real deal, you do need to walk down many steps (and back up again).  Unfortunately, there is no accessible walkway if walking the steps is a problem.

Things to keep in mind:
  1. Remember to shop at the non-profit Mt. Rushmore Bookstore Associations and if you know you’ll be in the area, email us so we can tell you where Suzanne will be working that day ~ we’d love to say HI!
  2. There is a restaurant and gift shop – both run by Xanterra – just before getting to Grandview Terrace.
  3. Check the Information and/or Visitor Centers for Ranger Tours – they are wonderful!
  4. No dogs at all are allowed. (Zoey isn’t a fan of this rule.)
  5. Bring your camera – not only are there great photo opportunities, but a few goats meandering as well!


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