National Championship Feature: Rapid City, South Dakota

March 11, 2019, 11:52 a.m. (ET)

What attractions can you plan to see when your team travels to Rapid City, South Dakota for the National Championship? Read the Top 10 reasons why Rapid City is one of the best sites for a USA Softball National Championship below

GET TO KNOW RAPID CITY!

In Rapid City, your team will discover something bigger. Nestled at the foot of the Black Hills, this vibrant city shines as the headquarters of the legendary region’s vacation activities, just beckoning to be explored. Players continue to Do Big Things after the games, experiencing sites that keep the heart racing and let goosebumps out to play. Whether it's paying a visit to the four famous granite faces at Mount Rushmore National Memorial or experiencing a buffalo traffic jam in Custer State Park, Rapid City and the Black Hills create memories and instill teamwork long after the games have ended. Extend your stay and explore the destination where every day is a big adventure.

BIG DISCOVERY

Teams will hit a home run in Downtown Rapid City! With so much to explore, even the smallest notion holds the promise of big discovery. Home to a vibrant Main Street experience, surrounded by joyous splashes of color and stirred by the beat of live music – find yourself ready to take on anything.  At the heart of downtown, Main Street Square’s open park-like setting is a fun-filled public space that features special events, movie night Mondays, live concerts most Thursdays and interactive fountains perfect for building lasting memories. Just around the corner lies Art Alley where artists’ exuberant and colorful expressions captivate from building to building in this display of free-form graffiti mural. A favorite among locals and visitors, the artists who offer their talents to this unique public arts project aren’t afraid to dream big. Walk among American heroes in the City of Presidents, a series of life-sized bronze statues of our nation’s past leaders, serving as a reminder of the American legacy. Teams can peek over Jefferson’s shoulder, measure up to Reagan’s cowboy boots or pose with Taft, who initiated the American tradition of Presidential first pitches. Just steps away from Downtown, overlooking the city Dinosaur Park offers spectacular 100-miles views in every direction. Established in 1936, it is here where five dinosaur fossils from the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous period were discovered. Climb to the top of the park and experience these green giant replicas towering overhead. Surrounding the Park find unlimited hiking and biking opportunities at Skyline Wilderness Area and Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park.

Whether you’re enjoying shopping, dining or other attractions, you’re sure to make big discoveries in Downtown Rapid City.

BIG LEGENDS

Celebrate the remarkable beauty and spirited achievements of legendary monuments found within a short drive of Rapid City. A masterpiece carved in stone, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the on-going Crazy Horse Memorial, represent our nation’s history and heritage playing homage to leadership, determination and resilience.  Mount Rushmore stands as a Shrine of Democracy for our nation. Whether seeing it for the first time or making a return pilgrimage, the Memorial lives up to its reputation as an iconic American experience. Carved by over 400 men with dynamite, there was no shortage of teamwork here. In fact, workers had their own amateur baseball team, the Rushmore Memorial Drillers! Don’t miss the Sculptor’s Studio to see sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s true vision for Mount Rushmore and be sure to grab a scoop of Memorial Team Ice Cream, Thomas Jefferson’s original recipe!  Witness history in the making as Crazy Horse Memorial emerges from the mountainside. Paying tribute to the culture, tradition and living heritage of American Indians and the spirit of legendary Lakota leader, Crazy Horse, it is the world’s largest ongoing mountain carving, when complete will stand 563 ft high. Crazy Horse Memorial boasts the Indian Museum of North America®, Sculptor Home and Studio, Mountain Carving Gallery, Native American Educational and Cultural Center®, summer artist in residency, performances and cultural workshops!

BIG ADVENTURE

All you have to do is open your doors in Rapid City to see it –the great outdoors.

Just east of Rapid City, the worldly landscape of the 244,000 acre Badlands National Park just might make you wonder if you’ve stepped onto another planet. A 60-mile stretch of rugged terrain that is as colorful as it is desolate. Ranging from mixed grass prairie, geologic formations, fossils, wildlife and mind-blowing night skies, this place makes rules of its ownVast and endlessly fascinating, a visit to the dramatically striated rock formations of the Badlands is a must. For the wildlife lover, Custer State Park is a 71,000-acre vacation paradise with abundant adventure and scenic landscapes. Home to bighorn sheep, antelope, deer, elk, coyote, prairie dogs and "begging" burros, and the Park’s nearly 1,300 free-roaming bison which make it common to encounter a "Buffalo Jam" while driving in the park. Custer State Park and South Dakota have been named one of the World's Top 10 Wildlife Destinations. The great-outdoors won’t disappoint, either. An expansive trail network provides views of the diverse, awe-inspiring landscapes like Cathedral Spires along with mountain lakes and streams perfect for more recreational opportunities.

BIG SECRETS

While you’re checking off one-of-a-kind, record-setting sites, you’ll want to stop by Reptile Gardens and Bear Country USA. Reptile Gardens is an interactive campus home to the largest reptile collection in the world. Visitors are given the chance to pet a 100-year old tortoise named Orville, interact with Fluffy the baby alligator and even touch Marilyn, the parks 12-foot python. Just down the road at Bear Country USA experience the world’s largest collection of privately owned Black Bears – currently featuring over 200. This unique drive-through wildlife park offers views of not only bears, but other North American wildlife in their natural habitat from the comfort of your own vehicle. End the drive afoot on the Wildlife Walk, an opportunity to see baby bear cubs and other young animals born and raised in the park.

BIG EATS

With more than 30 restaurants in the heart of Downtown and unique offerings throughout Rapid City, a distinct dining serves up a variety of exceptional cuisine, including international and local fare suited just for champions. Firehouse Brewing Co., housed within the original Rapid City Firehouse, contains 100 years of history and authentic South Dakota firefighting memorabilia in a family-friending setting. This hometown favorite combines great bites and custom brews with live entertainment on the patio during select summer evenings. Locals look to group-friendly Colonial House Restaurant & Bar for delicious made-from scratch fare like Buffalo burgers, walleye fingers and more. Let's not forget an extra boost of energy for the game with a Colonial House caramel roll, which are simply irresistible. Or you may choose to carb-up for the game with a cowboy size bagel at Black Hills Bagels. The region’s only local bagel shop offers 28 varieties of scratch-made, preservative-free, heart healthy options and can easily accommodate groups of 14 to 50 with advance reservations or take-out orders. Reservations not your style? Fort Hays Chuckwagon serves up a feast nightly any team can’t defeat. Serving up mouth-watering sliced beef, baked chicken, chuckwagon potatoes and more on a tin plate, complete with a musical show makes for one foot stompin’, belly shaken’, good time! Bonus: Fort Hays is also home to the film set from Dances with Wolves, a 1990 western filmed in South Dakota starring Kevin Costner.

For a complete look at all of Rapid City’s offerings, sample itineraries, Top 10 lists, local ideas and big things to do before or after the games check out VisitRapidCity.com!