Get a (Snap) Shot of Wild Bill
One of the West’s best-known lawmen does a cameo on Deadwood’s Main Street at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. on most summer days. Wild Bill invariably gets in a gunfight, and photo ops are possible before or after the shootings.
Brief reenactments of Wild Bill’s demise occur at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. in Saloon No. 10.
Kids on vacation in the Southern Hills might meet the Terror of the Rockies (aka Big Dave Murra) strolling Keystone’s Main Street. Nobody’s going to wrestle him (he stands 7’2”) but like Wild Bill, he’s been in many a gun duel.
Be a Ranger
Many national parks have Junior Ranger programs. At Badlands National Park, youth can study rock formations on a nature hike with a park ranger, or play games that help them understand more about the park’s plants and animals.
In 2010, 7-year-old Kylie Ferguson of Sharpsburg, Georgia, took part in the Junior Ranger program while on vacation and discovered a rare fossil — the skull of an extinct saber-toothed cat called Dinictis. A 3-D model of the skull will be displayed at the park’s Ben Reifel Visitor Center.
Catch a Fish
The thrill of a wriggling, silvery fish fighting your line is unforgettable. South Dakota is blessed with hundreds of fishing lakes, rivers and streams. Kids under age 16 don’t even need a fishing license, and in some cases you don’t even need a pole. The Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls holds introductory fishing classes, and staffers provide the fishing gear. Just take a hat and sunglasses.
During the summer, state parks host an open house (no park entrance fee and free fishing for all). Custer State Park, Indian Creek Recreation Area (by Mobridge) and Lake Poinsett Recreation Area (near Arlington) will host kids’ fishing derbies that weekend, with prizes awarded in various age groups.
Watch a Drive-In Movie
Chances are your granddad ate popcorn and stole a kiss from behind the wheel of his old Chevy while watching John Wayne with grandma at a drive-in theater.
Six towns still show movies under the stars. Obey local etiquette: don’t sneak your friends in under a blanket, don’t take your own popcorn, and don’t stare at the young lovers in the next car.
Gregory — Hilltop Drive-in, open May to Oct.
Miller — Midway Drive-in, open May to August.
Mitchell — Starlite Drive-in, open April to Sept.
Mobridge — Pheasant Drive-in, open May to Sept.
Redfield — Pheasant City Drive-in, open May to Sept.
Winner — Winner Drive-in, open May to Sept.