Rapid City Celebrates Two Big National Park Anniversaries in 2016
Visiting America’s National Parks is always rewarding, offering exceptional access to nature, history and inspiring stories. But 2016 promises an even greater experience, thanks to two significant anniversaries: The National Parks Service Centennial and the 75th Anniversary of the Completion of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
With multiple parks and monuments within a short driving distance, including world-famous Mount Rushmore, Rapid City is the place to be for anniversary events in 2016. Whether you catch special programs throughout the year or plan to be on the scene for the grand anniversary events, 2016 will be a banner year for a Black Hills Vacation. Make this the year you discover the transformational power of exploring a new trail, communing with nature or being touched by another era – right here in Rapid City.
Stay in Rapid City to take part in Centennial celebrations at six nearby National Park destinations, including Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
National Park Service Centennial
When the National Park Service was established in 1916, the new federal bureau vowed to “conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein” to “leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” You can join the generation that begins the second century of stewardship as the NPS celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2016. In anticipation of its official birthday on August 25, 2016, the National Park Service Centennial brings a year of awareness and big celebrations to Rapid City and the Black Hills.
With spectacular landscapes and surprising diversity, South Dakota welcomes visitors to celebrate the Centennial throughout the year. Rapid City is the ideal place to stay, with a bustling downtown and easy access to six National Park destinations, each offering a unique experience. From hiking park trails, exploring caves, fossil hunting, wildlife watching and sky-gazing, to awe-inspiring man-made achievements and compelling history, Rapid City, South Dakota, is the place to be in 2016 – let’s get out and appreciate America’s National Parks in their Centennial year!
Mount Rushmore 75th Anniversary
When the last chisels were put down and jackhammers fell quiet on October 31, 1941, the 60-foot faces of Mount Rushmore looked on with approval. Completion of the carving marked the end of 14 years of heroic craftsmanship by more than 400 men, an accomplishment that’s honored in 2016 with 75th Anniversary celebrations at Mount Rushmore and beyond.
Learn all about the achievement on a visit to this inspiring symbol of American democracy, where the Lincoln Borglum Museum and Sculptors Studio reveal what it took to create the massive mountain sculpture. From the fierce determination of the sculptor and the mysterious room that hides behind Abraham Lincoln to the sheer wonder of standing on the observation deck, experiencing Mount Rushmore firsthand reveals why the familiar landmark has such a strong and enduring impact on our culture.
Mount Rushmore is only a half hour’s drive from Rapid City, surrounded by popular attractions and spectacular scenery. Whether you make it a monumental day at Mount Rushmore or spend several days touring nearby national parks and monuments, you’ll be part of an epic year in 2016!
Be Part of the Celebrations
In the months ahead, excitement about both the National Park Service Centennial and Mount Rushmore 75th Anniversary will be growing. Be on the lookout for special appearances at national events like the 2016 Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena featuring a partnership with the National Park Service and a "Find Your Adventure" theme. Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, who proclaimed the National Parks "America's Best Idea" in his PBS series, will serve as Grand Marshal. Closer to home, events like the South Dakota Tourism Conference in January and South Dakota Christmas at the Capitol in November will feature special appearances in honor of the celebrations.
Summer 2016 offers great opportunities for visitors to be part of this big anniversary year in Rapid City. In addition to the National Park Service Centennial Events and Mount Rushmore National Memorial 75th Anniversary Events, don’t miss these programs and celebrations to honor these major achievements.
Mount Rushmore Exhibit at The Journey Museum & Learning Center in Rapid City • July – October 2016
Teddy Roosevelt at Jewel Cave • July 3, 2016
National Park Service Centennial • August 25, 2016
An Evening with George Washington at Mount Rushmore • October 2016
Black Hills Symphony Mount Rushmore Suite performance at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center • October 22, 2016
75th Anniversary Symphonic Celebration • October 22, 2016