Driving, driving, driving. It was a long day, but we made some stops to break it up. We crossed over into the northern part of SD and stopped at Storybook Land in Aberdeen. It's filled with nursery rhyme stories and other popular storybook characters. This place is great for kids and worth the stop! Ethnie really enjoyed it.
cute Jack and the Beanstalk in the background
ride with Nana.
did I mention it was a long drive?
Our temporary palace. We stayed right in Custer, at the mouth of Custer State Park. This place was exactly what we needed. Clean. Cool. Quiet. Convenient. And the couple who owns it is super sweet. There was also a pool one block away that Ethnie swam in while we were there.
It was sunny and 90+ degrees the entire time we were here. It got hot, but I'd rather have the heat than be limited by rain. I was so grateful to have nice weather during our trip. We drank a ton of water and tried to get out of the sun when we could.
Crazy Horse Monument. When it's finished it will be the world's largest sculpture.
on our way to Mount Rushmore!
in the gift shop there was a man there who actually worked on the monument! he was in his 90s and was telling stories about his experience working on Mt. Rushmore.
a little hot
lots of steep stairs.
mom had to duck a lot. :) and you are not allowed to touch anything; it turns the limestone black.
looking like a tourist
This girl is in love with horses. Sigh. Not the easiest animal to love when you live in the city...
playing ring around the boots ?
We headed to Bear Country in the morning, which is this great drive-through zoo. The animals will walk right next to your car. It was huge and very clean.
big horned sheep
cubs. so fun to watch.
We stopped at Lake Sylvan to swim, which was by far my favorite part of the trip. This is the prettiest lake I have ever been to.
Ethnie and I swimming. We are the two tiny heads in front of the rock. The water was freezing!
hot, but having fun.
such a little fish
breakfast is serious stuff around here.
After our massive, amazing pancakes we went to the Reptile Gardens. This is the largest reptile zoo in the world. It's even in the Guinness Book of World Records. They also have other kinds of animals. Once again, very clean and all the animals looked happy and healthy. Ethnie had a blast here.
this is Queenie. She will take a dollar bill out of your hand and put it in the donation box. :)
this guy taught us the proper way to man handle an alligator, just in case you land yourself in that situation. ;)
giant tortoise! the older they get, the softer their skin becomes. wouldn't that be nice! they love getting their necks rubbed.
this croc was in the old James Bond movie Live and Let Die from the 70s.
this was in a big tropical dome where all of the animals and reptiles roam free.
boa constrictor right above my head.
lots of birds!
this one was her favorite.
We got up really early, packed up and started the journey home. We took a different route so we could drive through the Badlands.
so beautiful and peaceful
sad to leave. it was a great trip!
our last stop was Falls Park in Sioux Falls
Ethnie loved roaming around on the rocks
We made it home after dark and were exhausted. Emmett was so happy to see me. This was the longest I had ever been away from him. When he saw me he hugged me for about 15 minutes straight, burrowing into my shoulder. I think he loves me. :) Ethnie cried for about an hour after Nana left; she was heartbroken that our trip came to an end. We look forward to continuing this new tradition with my mom.
Have a great week!