All manner of monsters prowl the halls of the Sioux Falls Jaycees Haunted House. Sadistic clowns smile from shadowed corners, herding visitors into a blood-spattered room where a ghoul in a straitjacket waits. Strobe lights and fog convince the senses that they've entered an otherworldly dimension or a very dusty camera, concealing the ghastly robotics and props lurking around each bend?such as a leering, demonic child named Hex. Though the attraction seeks to terrify, its ultimate goal is far more altruistic: ticket profits go to the Sioux Falls Jaycees, a community-service group whose volunteers don masks and gallons of fake blood to staff the entire house.
One of the largest, most complete T. rex skeletons ever found crouches inside the museum at Black Hills Institute. Frozen in time, he seems to bare his fossilized teeth at awe-struck crowds or to grin at his favorite museum attendants. This hulking beast, known as STAN, might be the star of the show, but he's not the only reason to visit: elsewhere in the museum, the institute's paleontologists have positioned the remains of outlandish sea creatures, long-tailed land-dwellers, and fossilized minerals.
Science, literature, history, and art?the Children's Museum of South Dakota lets young visitors explore the world in all its forms. The museum focuses on education through play, with hands-on exhibits that foster each child's quest for knowledge, although parents are likely to learn a thing or two along the way.
Don't Miss: the chance to build a pipe and direct the flow of water at the Splash Table
South Dakota Discovery Center sparks exploration in minds of every age with traveling exhibits and workshops. At the hands-on science playground, visitors can learn about environmental education or space science or build robots out of Legos during classes and competitions. With more than 60 hands-on exhibits, guests can check out tree houses, wacky mirrors, and even experience the "ultimate bad hair day." Families can also hire the center to put on educational festivals with water science and fitness themes or spend the day exploring South Dakota?s history and ecology.
Ingalls Homestead is one of the homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of Little House on the Prairie. The tall grasses and homestead buildings create the setting for guests to relive their favorite memories from the Little House stories. Guests can participate in a wide array of activities such as riding in a covered wagon, attending an 1880?s school session, and meeting ponies and horses up close. Those seeking hands-on activities also can opt for making corn cob dolls or jump ropes, which they get to take home.
All bases of wine production, procurement, and enjoyment are covered at the Great Dakota Wine Fest. Guests can practice age-old winemaking techniques by hopping into a barrel and stomping grapes or by stabbing each one with an empty quill. Then, upon entering the wine tasting room, they can grab a wine glass emblazoned with the Great Dakota Wine Fest logo and begin testing pours from various South Dakota winemakers, all while live performances from various musicians add melodious din to the spirited sipping and schmoozing.