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Museum of the American Bison and Great Plains Center

607 St. Joseph St.
Rapid City  South Dakota  57701
United States
(605) 791-3266
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Midwest Living Review

Lori Erickson
This Rapid City museum tells the story of the American West’s archetypal animal, exploring its biology, cultural significance, near extermination and inspiring comeback.

This free museum in downtown Rapid City packs a lot of punch into a small space. Exhibits celebrate the magnificent bison (aka buffalo) that once dominated the Great Plains and tell the inspiring story of how these animals were brought back from near extinction. The museum's vintage photographs, Native American artifacts, interactive videos, bison-inspired artwork, bison hides and bones make a well-rounded introduction to this species that once numbered in the millions. Children will enjoy visiting the Discovery Room, where they can dig in sand for bison bones and get up close and personal with buffalo chips, a vital source of fuel on the treeless prairie. Don’t forget to pose for a photo op with Bruno, the five-year-old stuffed buffalo that stands in the center of the museum.

This private, nonprofit facility owes its existence to Susan Ricci, a New Jersey native who fell in love with South Dakota and its signature animal nearly 20 years ago. Susan's enthusiasm and her years of experience working for a variety of bison-related programs led her to found this museum—and make her a terrific guide (if you’re lucky enough to stop in while she’s there).

After visiting, you’ll be able to truly appreciate the sight of thousands of buffalo in nearby Custer State Park.

Visited: 
August 22, 2013

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