5 Unusual Things to Do at Mount Rushmore
Historically, Mount Rushmore catered to grandiose extravaganza so that it could stay funded and be finished.
Not much has changed. The recent garage-parking expansion overshadows the gorgeous sculpture, yet Mount Rushmore is another must-stop on a National Park tour. Being nearby to Yellowstone, Badlands, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park, it’s easy to make a loop out of these national parks and visit all of them. Beside, the Devils National Monument is practically down the street in one direction while Badlands National Park is in the other. Yellowstone National Park is just a bit further from Badlands. Knock out all three parks in one weekend, if you’re so inclined. Add in another day and you can squeeze in Yellowstone. Just like the Grand Canyon, though, most folks drive up to Mount Rushmore, take a picture and leave. You can easily enrich your visit by walking the Presidential Trail and finding the secret room at Mt Rushmore. Also nearby Mt Rushmore is Custer State Park.
You can take a tour of Mt Rushmore and awesome things near by.
Here are my 5 unusual things to do at Mount Rushmore National Park.
1. Peep at George Washington. The first stop on the Presidential Trail puts you at an outcropping where you can peek through the cracks and see George Washington uniquely. It’s also very cool in this secret spot, so if nothing else, pop in to cool off. It’s a great place to practice your camera skills at Mount Rushmore.
2. Hang in a bosun chair. Towards the end of the Presidential Trail is the sculptor’s workshop. It’s actually one of the top reasons to go on the trail. Here you’ll see the original model of the sculpture and you can see the bosun chairs the workers used to carve the facade. You can also see film of the workers scaling the sculpture in these chairs. Frankly, no way would you ever catch me doing this…just let me write about it!
3. Find secret documents. Originally, the Mount Rushmore sculptor envisioned a secret chamber for important U.S. documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. His vision to store these particular documents failed, but recently the chamber was completed. In it went relevant Mount Rushmore documents. See if you can find it.
4. Read the letter to the Mount Rushmore commission. Way back when the Monument had cost overruns and delays, egos flared and tempers heightened. Find the letter in the museum that Borglum wrote to the commission. It’s the best example of calling out thy enemies in true flabbergasting verbiage. Enjoy how the truth stretches from South Dakota to Washington, DC.
5. Find the product tie-ins. Today, the National Park Service not only would deny any product tie-in, but if the Service did allow a commerce to promote a tie-in to the National Park, NPS would charge a king’s ransom for it. But back when the Monument needed good public support and chutzpah to get additional funding, sculptor Borglum marketed the Monument through several national products. Find the print adds in the museum.