From cowboys to missiles: Places to stop this summer on your I-90 road trip

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Interstate 90, spanning across the entire state of South Dakota, is home to many well-known, and some lesser-known attractions.

Sometimes, this drive can seem long, but here are some of the locations that you can stop for a change of scenery and to break up your driving time.

Buffalo Ridge 1880 Cowboy Town:

As you pass west of Sioux Falls along I-90, about four minutes from the city, you will get the chance to travel back in time, to the wild west of the 1880’s.

This attraction is a robot replica of the wild west, consisting of a single street of buildings full of robots. There is a saloon, a fort and a Chinese laundry.

You can “meet” mechanical figures ranging from trapped miners, barmen and even President Abraham Lincoln and they deliver lectures about their times.

Some of the more exciting attractions in the town are the “haunted” mine and Comanche the Ghost Horse.

You can explore this 1880 Cowboy Town daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Porter Sculpture Park:

Continuing your journey along I-90, you will come down a hill to be greeted by a 60-foot bull head sculpture.

Photo courtesy of Porter Sculpture Park

This is just one of the over 50 larger-than-life sculptures to be seen at the Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose. The sculpture park sits on 18 acres of open prairie.

The sculptor Wayne Porter makes all the sculptures, without diagrams or equations. His art is an experience for visitors to touch, climb on and take as many photos as they would like. There are also golf carts available for those who are walking-impaired.

Porter Sculpture Park is an open, safe place to visit during the pandemic, Porter said, with it being outside in the opened air with the South Dakota wind. Last year, they saw an increase of 40% in visitors. This year that has almost doubled, he said.

The park is opened seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. now until October 15. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for those ages 13 to 17 and free for kids under 12.

Corn Palace:

One of the more well-known attractions to visit along you I-90 drive in the World’s Only Corn Palace, located in Mitchell.

According to their website, around 500,000 tourists come from around the country to see the corn murals on the palace.

The Corn Palace was built in 1892 and has become a worldwide attraction. It is home to industrial exhibits, dances, stage shows, meetings, tournaments and more, for those from the district, region and state.

The Corn Palace in open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

South Dakota Tractor Museum:

A collection of historic tractors and farm machinery can be found at the South Dakota Tractor Museum in Kimball.

Just off exit 284, visitors will be able to see the story of South Dakota’s largest industry, agriculture, through classic machinery, an old windmill, a barn filled with horse-drawn equipment, along with an old jail cell and other antiques.

There is also a schoolhouse portion of the museum, which consists of an authentic one-room schoolhouse which was moved to the museum in 2002. A functioning blacksmith shop was also added and continues to operate, offering demonstrations of the machinery.

The visitors center offers homemade gifts and state souvenirs.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday during the summer months, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum operates on donation and offers free will donations.

Dignity Statue:

Watching over the waters of the Missouri River stands the Dignity sculpture. She is a stunning combination of art and history, honoring the cultures of the Lakota and Dakota people.

This stainless steel 50-foot tall statue designed by sculptor Dale Lamphere, is located near Chamberlain, on a bluff between exits 263 and 265.

Photo courtesy of Travel South Dakota.

The Native woman wears a dress patterned after a two-hide Native dress of the 1850s. Holding a quilt featuring 128 stainless steel blue diamond shapes designed to flutter in the wind.

During the day, the sun shines through the color-changing pieces and at night, the LED lights cause the diamond shapes to glow, a beautiful site that is easily visible from the interstate.

Missouri River:

Between the cities of Chamberlain and Oacoma, you will cross the Missouri River, entering “west river”.

Photo courtesy of Travel South Dakota.

You can stop and enjoy a swim, do some fishing, take a kayaking trip or just relax by its beautiful waters.

Al’s Oasis:

After crossing the bridge, a must-stop resting place is Al’s Oasis is a historical resting stop for travelers across Interstate 90. They offer travelers a resting place with food, lodging and shopping, along with their 5 cent coffee.

Photo courtesy of Travel South Dakota.

On August 6, 1906, the City of Oacoma celebrated the railroad bridging the Missouri. In 1919 the grocery story was opened, and since then the business has grown.

Presho Disc Golf Course:

If you’re looking for a reason to get out of your vehicle and do an outdoor along your journey, the Presho Disc Golf course is waiting for you.

The course consists of 9 holes an plays around the small town park with mostly a flat and lightly wooded terrain.

To find this course, take exit 224 off for I-90, and go north on 305th Avenue to Willow Stress. Turn east and proceed to Fir Avenue. The course will be on your left, with the first tee beginning at the northeast corner of the swimming pool.

Pioneer Auto Show:

If you are a fan of the History channel’s American Pickers, make sure to stop at one of their stops, the Pioneer Auto Show in Murdo. The show is home to over 276 classic cars, 60 tractors, 60 motorcycles and lots of other antiques and memorabilia.

Photo courtesy of Travel South Dakota.

This attraction was started in 1954 by AJ ‘Dick’ Geisler and his family and since then, it has been a popular location for thousands of antique and classic car enthusiasts. To this day, it is still owned and operated by the Geisler family.

The summer hours for the auto show are daily from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. CST. Admission is $12.50 for adults, $6.50 for kids ages 5 to 12 and free for kids under 5.

1880 Town:

Not to be mistaken with Buffalo Ridge 1880 Cowboy Town, 1880 Town has more than 30 buildings from the 1880 to 1920 era, and they are authentically furnished with relics, historical accounts, photographs, Casey Tibbs exhibit, Dances with Wolves movie props and kids activities.

Photo courtesy of Travel South Dakota.

You can travel back in time with costume rentals to help you play the part. You can walk throughout the town in your costume. Rental prices are $5 for kids 5 and under, $8 for kids ages 6 to 17 and $10 for those over 18.

For the months of June thru August, the town’s hours are 8 a.m. with the last ticket being sold at 4 p.m. MST. Admission prices are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $7 for those ages 13 to 18, $5 for kids ages 6 through 12 and free for kids 5 and under.

Badlands Distillery:

When looking to purchase local bourbon and spirits for after your interstate drive, look no further than Badlands Distillery, located off exit 150 in Kadoka.

According to their website, their Iron Hills Bourbon is created by distilling in house in small batches, containing corn grown on their own ranch. The distilled whiskey is carefully aged in a new charred white oak barrel.

They are opened Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kadoka Depot Museum:

While stopped in Kadoka, take a moment to stop at the Depot Museum and learn more about the history of the railroad.

The first railroad depot was built in the spring of 1907 and was opened through Kadoka until 1980. Now, that depot serves as a museum and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places that will take you back in time, according to the city’s website. It is located on the south end of Main Street.

The depot is opened from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. during the summer months, with no admission charged.

Badlands National Park:

If you are looking to get out of the car while connecting with nature, the Badlands National Park is the place for you.

The park consists of 244,000 acres of buttes, canyons, pinnacles and spires, along with fossilized species. You will also get a chance to see some of the abundant wildlife that make their homes in the park.

The badlands offer a great place to hike, camp or just drive the Badlands Loop Scenic Byway.

Park fees are $30 for a private vehicle, $15 for an individual (hiking, biking, etc.), $20 for a motorcycle. Prices for commercial vehicles and season passes can be found on their website.

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site:

After exploring the beautiful Badlands, take some time to learn more about Cold War history by stopping at the Minuteman Missile site.

Right off exit 131, the site protects two facilities that were once part of a Minuteman Missile field that covered the western portion of the state from 1963 through the early 1990s.

This field was operational, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day for thirty years. Now, its purpose is to tell the story of Minuteman Missiles, nuclear deterrence and the Cold War.

The site is opened Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. MST. The entry fee to the park is free, but the Delta-01 Tour expanded amenity fee is $12 for adults and $8 for kids ages 6 to 16.

Six-ton Prairie Dog:

By now, you have probably seen at least one live prairie dog. However, have you seen a six-ton prairie dog yet? Well if not, you are in luck!

Located on the same exit as the missile site, exit 131, travel one mile south of the interstate and you will find the six-ton prairie dog, at the Ranch Store Gift Shop at Cactus Flat.

This giant six-ton prairie dog is surrounded by a real prairie dog village. You can head into the ranch store for some reasonably priced prairie dog food to feed the little critters.

The store is opened late May through mid-September from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. MST.

Wall Drug:

You’ve been driving I-90 for a while now, and without a doubt you have seen countless signs advertising for “Free Ice Water” “Wall Drug Donuts” and “5 Cent Coffee”. With all the hype, you just have to stop at this historic destination.

Photo courtesy of Travel South Dakota.

Wall Drug has a rich history in the state as being a refreshing stop for travelers since 1931. In its beginning, according to their website, Wall was know as “the geographical center of nowhere” and faced its challenges during the Great Depression. Wall Drug offered weary travelers free ice water, a tradition that is carried on today.

The attraction welcomes more than two million visitors each year, to the town of around 800 residents.

So, take a pit stop and enjoy a home-style meal, drink some ice water and see the dinosaur and jackalop.

Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame:

Sturgis is not only home to the famous bike rally, but you can also learn more about motorcycles at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame.

The museum offers interactive displays, a visitors lounge where you can enjoy some famous motorcycle movies and space to explore the motorcycle and related antiques in the collection.

The hall of fame recognizes industry leaders for their contributions in motorcycling.

It is opened seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prices begin at $10 plus tax per person and change depending on the number of people in the group.

Spearfish Canyon:

Once you’ve reached Spearfish, you are in the heart of the Black Hills. It’s time to get out of the vehicle and enjoy the scenery.

Spearfish Canyon is a Black Hills must-see location, with its 1,000 foot walls and spectacular scenery.

The canyon is home to a diverse community of wildlife and plant life. There are also multiple water falls to explore, along with the beautiful arrangement of trees.

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