Any time we travel, we always have the random rough day. Sunday was that day. I even thought for sure that since the kids had a good night sleep the night before that we would be good. Turns out everyone was grumpy. I guess you can’t win them all.
The thing I always find amazing though is that after some time passes, you pretty much forget the little arguments and constant bickering. All you remember is the fun you had. At least, it works that way for us. With honestly makes me wonder sometimes if we don’t have a rough time every day that we are traveling. But Josh assures me that we always have a rough day or two, but otherwise have a great time. And I guess yesterday was awesome, so he must be right…
Part of the problem today was the weather. My iPhone kept assuring me that there was 0% chance of precipitation while it was actually raining. It sprinkled off and on all morning. We pulled up at the alpine slides right when the rain stopped, bought our tickets, and rode the ski lift up the mountain.
They had a cute little cafe up there and a few spots that had awesome views of Mt. Rushmore. We took a look around and then got in line for the slide. It was of course closed because it started raining on our way up. We waited and they dried the slide. And then it started raining again, so we gave up, rode the ski lift back down the mountain, and got a rain check.
So we started off with a small disaster. By this time we were all starving so we headed over to Big Time Pizza for lunch. It’s very hard for us to find places to feed our kids when we are traveling because they are SO picky… Even if we find macaroni and cheese, if it’s not cooked a certain way, they won’t eat it. So we knew that the pizza place was a safe bet since they liked it yesterday.
It was about time for Lia’s daily mega fit and she delivered right on time. I spent 15 minutes outside with her trying to calm her down. I’m still trying to figure out how to stop the fits before they start. The problem is that usually the thing that sets her off is something really insignificant. I think she just builds up her anger and then she explodes. Luckily I think I’ve figured out how to handle it when she does have a meltdown.
So Lia calmed down and we ate our pizza, which was really good even though we ate it two days in a row. After lunch, Josh headed back to Mt. Rushmore with his mom and the kids and I headed up to Rapid City with his dad in search of a Starbucks so I could Skype into Creative Live.
We met back up later in the afternoon at the alpine slides. I heard the kids were fighting a lot at Mt. Rushmore, but I guess they had fun nonetheless. Our second attempt at the alpine slides was a success. It was just as much fun as I remember and the kids really loved it.
After the slides, we were trying to decide what to do. There are SO many things to do in Keystone, but sadly the ones we wanted to do the most we couldn’t. I looked into going horseback riding, but Lia was too little. Same story with the ziplines and aerial course. We had already missed the last round trip train ride, so that was out too.
I definitely don’t want to wish my kids older and I’m really glad that we travel with them even though they’re little. But it’s disappointing sometimes that they seem to always be too little to do the really awesome stuff.
Since we couldn’t do anything that we wanted to do, we let the kids each pick one thing to do. Max picked the Big Thunder Gold Mine, mostly (I think) because every time we drove through Keystone, he got sucked in by the giant billboard. They really are brilliant at marketing to kids. We adults see right through that stuff but kids eat it up. And since this is their trip too, I figured we should at least give them a say.
So that’s how we ended up at the gold mine. They have tours through the mine but we decided against doing that. I was certain the kids would be bored of it after ten minutes.
So we decided upon panning for gold instead. Now, if you know me well, you’ll know I’m cheap. I like to call it frugal, but I do get carried away sometimes. But let’s be honest here… It was $9.25 per pan to go gold panning. There was no way I was going to get three pans. So we just shared one pan, which maybe caused a little more arguing than was entirely necessary.
After a solid hour of panning for gold, I think we turned up four or five actual gold flakes, two mica flakes, and a whole bunch of fools’ gold. The kids seemed satisfied with their haul though and we scooted out of there just before we all got hangry.
Of course, finding a place to eat dinner was tricky. The pizza place was great, but there was no way we were having it again. There are limited options in Keystone and most of them got terrible reviews on Yelp. So we ended up at Teddy’s Deli, which was surprisingly good. And thankfully everyone liked their dinner.
After dinner, Ava picked the mirror maze as her destination of choice. We did a mirror maze in San Antonio on our Texas road trip and had so much fun! This time around was no different. It was a smaller maze, but we were the only ones there most of the time, so that made up for it.
We went through first all together, then the kids went in one way and we went in another way. Then we played hide and seek in the maze and it was all fun and games until Ava ran straight into the mirror. So our mirror maze visit ended in tears, but at least they had fun in the moment.
Our last stop for the night was Dinosaur Park, which a free park up on the top of a hill that has large dinosaur sculptures. I had read several reviews saying how lame the park was but our kids really enjoyed it. We spent about half an hour climbing on all the dinosaurs and running around. They also had a gift shop there which had some great little activity books.
After Dinosaur Park, we headed back to our hotel and let the kids take a quick swim at the hotel pool. They were itching to get in there because it had a water slide. I know they had so much fun but there were about 40 kids in that tiny pool and there were 15-20 of them in line for the slide at all times. They didn’t seem to care though. If only we could all be so easily impressed.
chainsaw artkids picking out taffy in keystone south dakotakids visiting mt rushmorefamily trip to mt rushmore with grandmafun things to do with kids in keystone alpine slidebig thunder gold minekids panning for gold in keystone sdfun at the mirror maze tourist trapfree things to do in rapid city dinosaur parkkids climbing on dinosaur statuesfun at the dinosaur park


  • I love Max’s sour face eating the candy on the bench.  Why are you wearing plastic gloves in the maze?  Is it to keep from getting finger prints on the mirrors?  Where is the family photo???  I always look for those!  Lia looks so serious in a few of those first photos.  🙂

  • RosemaryWineGustin keeping the fingerprints off the mirror… you’re so smart! No family photo this day… didn’t you see them from our family time at Mt Rushmore?! Lia was not exactly happy in that moment 😉

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