While you won’t see saber-toothed cats or rhinoceroses roaming the Badlands like they once did, you may see their remains in this stunning national park with some of the world’s richest fossil deposits.
Located in Imlay Township in South Dakota, Badlands National Park has a Fossil Preparation Lab where you can watch paleontologists at work, literally uncovering the ancient history of the area. At the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, kids can use a touchscreen to assemble a virtual skeleton and touch fossilized animal replicas. You also can watch the film Land of Stone and Light in the center’s 95-seat air-conditioned theater.
Then head out to see the wildlife that roams the park today. Spot bison, bighorn sheep, black-footed ferrets and prairie dogs as you drive the Badlands Hwy. 240 Loop Road or explore the park by foot on one of its many hiking trails.
Favorite Hike: Castle-Medicine Root Loop
This 4.2-mile trip loops through prime bison habitat and million-year-old glacial formations.
Learn more about Badlands National Park at nps.gov/badl.