Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Nebraska and onward: Day 4

If you missed day 1 & Here
If you missed day  Here

Day 4:  
We still had several things that we wanted to do with the kids.  This day was a bit foggy, but it didn't stop us from enjoying the Black Hills.  We moseyed out of the hotel and didn't feed the kids breakfast until 11am.  They were troopers and didn't even complain.  I gave them 2 M & M's to hold them over. :) Funny that they are good at reminding me about snacks and meals at home ...but while we were on vacation...they didn't complain at all.  We missed several snacks...and meals...I guess we were just too busy having fun. 

Our first activity of the day was to take a drive through the Wildlife Scenic loop in Custer State park.  Right when we entered the loop was saw a bison (buffalo).  I thought to myself if we are seeing things right away...this is going to be great!!  So we drove...and we drove...and we drove...we were losing interest of the kids fast...we saw quiet a few prairie dogs...those aren't very exciting after you see hundreds of them.  

We took side roads...we were getting pretty desperate to just find any type of animal.  FINALLY....we ran across some burros (wild donkey's) on the road.  Cars were stopped and the burros were trying to get into people's cars.  We then drove a little further and pulled off the road and let the kids out to pet a few.  Sean was a bit cautious, but they had a good time.  A guy gave the kids cookies and they fed the burros...and they were NOT happy when the cookies were all gone (the burros...not the kids).  They got kind of aggressive, so that was our cue to leave...they followed us to our car and tried to stick there heads in our windows.  It was fun...but I was glad to get back in the car.  

 We drove a bit further and ran across some bighorns (antelope) and hundreds of bison.  It was a great drive and in the end we all had a good time!

After the wildlife loop we headed out to learn how to pan for gold at Big Thunder Gold Mine.  We didn't take the tour, but I have heard they have great tours.   After the gal taught us how to pan for gold, we went in their trough and panned away.  The kids (and Sean) had a great time panning.  The girls were more interested in finding pyrite (fools gold), but Sean wanted to find the real stuff.  He did end up finding 4 pieces and was thrilled.  Not sure we can do much with it, but it was a fun activity.  Now that we are expert panners, we are hoping to go panning in the creeks down in Missouri like Sean used to do as a child...well he didn't find real gold...just pyrite, but who knows, maybe we will strike gold!!:)  

After we went panning and out to dinner in Rapid City...we took the kids to Storybook Island.  They were really tired from the long day...and no naps.  I wasn't sure what their reaction would be.  When we pulled up they could see through the gates...and were BEYOND EXCITED! They screamed and ran...Sean and I could hardly keep up with them.  I took a million pictures, so I will just post a few...but trust me...this place was a wonderful break for the kids.  If you are ever in the area...this is a must for the kids.  I wish we had one here.  Rapid City also has a few really nice water indoors and the other outdoors.  Someone in our family (not me) does not do water parks...but they looked really fun.

Stay tuned...tomorrow we are leaving the Black Hills and heading east to the biggest drug store I have ever been too...and back to Nebraska....some of the prettiest pictures coming up!

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