I also think that it's pretty low that the NPS does not charge admission to Mount Rushmore, but instead charges an $11 parking fee. Parking fees, of course, are not covered by the yearly national park pass the way that admissions are--way to get money even from passholders, y'all! You think I can't figure that one out?
However, if you're in the area, Mount Rushmore remains something that you've got to do, even just once:
And I admit that there's more to do there than I remembered from my childhood visit (childhood memory: we drove there, we looked at it, it was hot, we drove away). I should have brought everyone along earlier, so that we could have hiked, but nevertheless, yes, we looked at it--
--but the kids also, of course, worked on their Junior Ranger badges--
--and we saw rocky mountain goats!
|Awww, look at her sweet, mountain goat-loving face!|
Fortunately, once Matt and I had bravely tuned out her low-voiced kvetching, we had a nerdgasm's worth of nerdy evening entertainment. First, a park ranger came out and told jokes and riddles about the presidents, and THEN he gave a giant lecture about Constitutionality and the Founding Fathers' view of the Constitution--fascinating! And THEN there was a really long documentary that gave a biography of each of the sculpted presidents in turn, and then a history of the creation of the sculpture!
Syd was beside herself. I had a fabulous time.
Finally, we all got to stand and sing the national anthem (Have I shared with you before the Fact about Me that I LOVE singing the national anthem? I always sing when it's played, even if nobody else does), and they lit up Mount Rushmore for our wonder and edification:
We stayed afterwards to clap when the ranger called up all the current and former members of the Armed Forces to the stage, but sneaked out when it became clear that this was going to lead to the very drawn-out tradition of every single person on stage getting to introduce themselves and tell their service history (dood, there was a lot of military there!). I was very anxious about taking the kids over to the ranger to turn in their Junior Ranger books, because although Will had finished her Junior Ranger activities and was simply bursting to tell the ranger all about them (Will told her all about the sculptor's vision of light and shadow as dynamic forces, and the ranger had a big ole' conversation with her about that), Syd had not finished, and was looking very baleful, indeed. I told the ranger that she had tried her best, though (even though she hadn't, ahem), and Syd was able to tell her some things that's she'd learned, so badges were duly handed out and oaths duly administered.
I probably shouldn't have kept Syd up that late, honestly, just because I wanted to see Mount Rushmore at night, but we had a bit of a drive on the next day for her to keep resting during, and then we were at Devil's tower, and oh, my goodness.
Syd LOVED Devil's Tower.