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Part 4 (Continued)
Great American Dog-Friendly Road TripTM
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This attraction, known as Thunderhead Underground Falls, dates back to 1874 and is one of the earliest operating gold mines in the Black Hills. Today you can walk 600 feet underground into the mountain to see a vertical waterfall, as well as gold-bearing quartz lines and living stalactites (a cone or cyclinder that resembles an icicle). They have electric lighting that accentuates the natural colors of the mineralized formations. The path provides an easy walk that is great for everyone including families. Well-behaved leashed dogs are usually allowed. The falls are open during the day from May 1 to November 1. This attraction is located 10 miles from Rapid City, heading on West Highway 44 towards Mt. Rushmore.
We accidentally came across this historically valuable monument. A real piece of the old Berlin Wall is located in the park that is adjacent to the Holiday Inn, Rapid City-Rushmore Plaza at 505 North Fifth Street. A plaque next to this monument reads: "This Berlin Wall segment, located between the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie from 1961 to 1989, is donated in honor of the citizens of Ratingen, Germany (the Sister City of Vermillion, South Dakota) and its mayor, Dr. Ernst Dietrich, who fostered democratic ideals and German American relations."
Also located in the park next to the Holiday Inn, was a wonderful fragrant rose garden. Dogs on leash are welcome throughout this park, including at the Berlin Wall and this rose garden.
Toby and I also paid a visit to the Reptile Gardens in Rapid City. Well-behaved leashed dogs that are good around people, kids and (I assume reptiles!) are welcome. USA Today named the Reptile Gardens as one of the Top 10 places in the United States to "Stop the Car and Take a Look." This attraction claims to offer the World's Largest Reptile Collection. It is quite an amazing place. On display are all kinds of snakes, including some of the most poisonous snakes in the world and an absolutely huge python snake. Other reptiles here include Giant Tortoises, lizards, crocodiles and more. They also have shows like the Alligator and Crocodile, Birds of Prey, and Snake shows. You should be able to see most if not all of these shows with your dog. Your dog is also allowed to go inside the buildings to view the reptiles.
After a visit to the Reptile Gardens, it was on to Bear Country U.S.A. Not many wildlife drive-thru parks allow dogs, but this one does. As with people, your dog must remain in your car once you are in the wildlife park and all windows must stay closed. This park has a variety of North American wildlife including black bears, grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves, elk, big horn sheep, buffalo and more. Toby was quite interested the entire time, watching and sniffing all the different wildlife.
Here is Toby staring at a mountain lion. The mountain lion was in another cage within the park as an extra safety precaution. Good thing too, because the mountain lion started to stare back at Toby! 
At the end of our self-guided driving tour through the park, we stopped at Bear Country's snack bar where you can get some sandwiches, pizza and buffalo burgers. Leashed dogs are welcome to join you at the outdoor tables. They also have a gift shop across from the snack bar, but dogs are not allowed inside. 
After enjoying several days in dog-friendly Rapid City, we began to head out of town. On the way, we came across the South Dakota Air and Space Museum. While dogs are not allowed inside the building, they are allowed to view airplanes up close in the outdoor museum. There is a nice variety of military aircraft. The museum is located near Ellsworth Air Force Base and the admission is free! Dogs must be leashed. The museum is located off I-90, about 7 miles east of Rapid City. 
Here is a photo of another military plane at the museum. This one is a C-47, also affectionately known as the "Gooney Bird." It is nicknamed after a bird that is clumsy on the ground as they basically need a runway, but is an excellent flyer once in the air.
Traveling east bound along Interstate 90, we began to see lots of signs for "Wall Drug." It is basically a roadside tourist attraction located in the town of Wall, South Dakota. Wall Drug Store began during the Depression. They offered free ice water to thirsty travelers. Once there for the free water, travelers would usually buy other items at the store. Today Wall Drugs still has lots of shopping and activities for travelers including an art gallery, memorabilia, and a big backyard for kids. Dogs are not allowed inside the store, so if you want to go inside, you'll have to take turns with your traveling partner who will watch your pooch.
We stopped for the night at the Motel 6 in Wall, South Dakota, right down the street from Wall Drug. 
There might be others out there, but this was the first Motel 6 we have seen that also has an onsite playground for kids. They have some neat horse swings and a slide. Great place to stop if you are traveling with children! And no pet fees for dogs.
The next day we continued heading east on I-90. 
We came upon another roadside attraction in South Dakota and this one welcomes well-behaved leashed dogs. It is called "1880 Town" and is a replica of a South Dakota Main Street back in the year of 1880. You can explore over 30 buildings with authentic furnishings. Leashed dogs are welcome to walk around outside with you. 1880 Town is also home to many movie props that were used in the filming of "Dances with Wolves" starring Kevin Costner. You will need to walk through the main building with your pooch to pay the minimal admission fee and to get to "Main Street."

Here is a photo of Main Street at 1880 Town. It was raining hard the day we visited, so it got kind of muddy on the street. But we still had a nice visit. Click here to continue reading Part 4.

Click here to continue reading Part 4

 

 

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