Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hudsons Head West - Part 5

This was a day of Attractions.  We started our day bright and early, and headed down the road.  First up was Bear Country, USA.  This is a zoo of sorts where you ride through the animals - where they have the right-away and you are on exhibit ;)  There are over 20 different North American species of wildlife, living in their natural habitat.  The only thing between you and the animals.... is your car!  There is also "Babyland."  For this part of it, you walk around like in a "typical" zoo and watch the baby and toddler animals... including the most adorable toddler bear cubs!

What my hubby refers to as "good eating"

Then we headed to Christmas Village.  Oh my word how lovely was that!!!!!!  I LOVE looking at Christmas ornaments and decorations and that place was FULL of incredible ornaments!!!  In fact, we bought the kids their ornaments for this year from there :)

Next we were headed to Mount Rushmore.  Having been there before, I was more excited to see my hubby and kids' reactions than actually seeing the monument.  I was not disappointed!  For those not completely familiar, Mount Rushmore is a sixty foot sculpture depicting the heads of four of our nation's greatest presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.  If any of you get the opportunity to go, it is near Keystone, South Dakota.  I highly recommend taking the President's Trail, a fantastic trail that gives you the opportunity to see the presidents from different views.

Next we headed to Crazy Horse, a much less known monument.  This amazingly HUGE monument was started in 1948, by sculptor Ziolkowski and Lakota Sioux Chief Standing Bear.  The idea behind it is to show the white man that the red man has great leaders as well.   It will be the largest monument when it is completed - 22 stories high.  The actual monument is of Crazy Horse, on his horse, after being asked "Where are your lands now?" He pointed and responded, "My lands are where my dead lie buried."  Having Cherokee in me, I personally can almost hear the emotion behind him saying that!

Along with the monument, there is also an incredible museum of sorts, where you can see the pictures depicting the progression over the years, as well as Native American artifacts.  The monument is still being worked on, as it is funded privately, through admissions and donations.  They have actually refused government funding a few times, in order to protect the true nature of the monument - a testimony to the Native American heritage of this nation.

To finish our day, we headed down Needles Highway ( a FANTASTIC drive) to go to the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park.  There, freely roaming, is one of the largest publicly owned herds of buffalo - around 1300 of them!  There are also elk, moose, deer, antelope, turkeys, and more.  Here are some of our pictures from the evening.