National Parks/Monuments

Minuteman Missile National Historic Site

The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is located in South Dakota near Badlands National Park. This site is fairly new, and there is not a lot to see, but it is definitely worth a stop if you are in South Dakota.

 

History buffs will really like stopping at this site as it tells the story of the Cold War. There are several videos that talk about the nuclear build up, and a huge tactile graph shows the number of warheads both the United States and the Soviet Union had from 1945 to 2010. Our boys enjoyed doing the Junior Ranger program, too, which can be printed on the Internet or picked up from the Minuteman Missile Visitor’s Center.

Our boys loved listening to the information told on these phones throughout the Visitor’s Center.

This was their slogan. Pretty funny!

The TV was playing commercials or PSAs. Our youngest couldn’t understand why it was all in black & white.

This is the missile launch chair.

This graph shows the number of nuclear missiles throughout time. Blue is the United States, Orange is Russia, and the back orange is the total number.

We always love participating in the Junior Ranger program.

In you’re coming from Rapid City, make sure to stop at the missile silo site on the way. It is located on Exit 116 and has a small parking area. There is missile in its underground silo on display. Apparently, there were, and still are, many of these silos throughout the heartland. They are hidden in barbed wife fences, and are capable of delivering their 1 megaton payload to other continents. This missile has been deactivated, and the cement cap is pushed back so you can see the missile below ground.

When you visit the actual missile site, you walk through this fence.

You can walk right up to the missile that is encased in this covering.

Here’s what’s inside.

You can walk all around the missile area.

There is a special tour available at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. It is 30 minutes and takes you to the launch control center of the missile, as well as other spots. Only 6 people are allowed per tour, and you have to schedule your tour beforehand (up to 90 days early). Children must be 40 inches tall and 6 years old. The day we were visiting, all the tours were full so we were not able to go, but next time we head that direction we will be more prepared and call ahead. For more info on these tours, visit this site.

 

Plan on an hour or two at the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. The toddlers and little kids probably won’t enjoy it for long, but it is a great historical site while you’re in South Dakota.

There are a bunch of these locations all through the midwest. Of course, they don’t have the viewing window on top!

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