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    5 Things You Must Do in Wall

    Wall, South Dakota (population 900), is 49 miles east of Rapid City. Badlands National Park, just eight miles south of Wall, is surrounded by the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands. Within it, the town's namesake, "The Wall," is a rugged strip of badlands up to three miles wide and nine miles long with a succession of spires, ridges, and gullies.

    1 –   Badlands National Park: The 244,000 acres of the Badlands area is a geologist's dream of water-chiseled spires, ragged ridges, rugged canyons, and prairie. Containing the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, at 37-28 million years old, the evolutionary stories of mammals such as the horse and rhinoceros can be seen. Bison, bighorn sheep, endangered black-footed ferrets, and swift fox roam one of the largest, protected mixed-grass prairies in the United States. Just outside the park, the  Prairie Homestead is one of the few still-intact sod dwellings. 

    2 –   Wall Drug Store: During the summer, up to 20,000 people a day tour the world-famous small-town soda shop and drug store. The business is known as the "free ice-water store," where glasses and Thermos jugs are filled by the thousands. The drug store complex now features a two-block shopping emporium, a Western art gallery, and a restaurant where you can still buy five-cent coffee. The back yard features an anima-tronic Tyrannosaurus rex.  For more information on the Drug Store click on the link.

    3 –   Wall museums: For a town with less than 1,000 people, Wall has many museums. The Wildlife Museum has more than 200 natural history exhibits. The Wild West Wax Museum has 26 realistic, life-size, wax figures in authentic Western costumes. The Wounded Knee Museum has narrative display about the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre, which occurred nearby. The National Grasslands Museums has displays on the unique and vanishing Great Plains prairie habitat. 

    4 –   Tatanka: Story of the Bison Park: Northwest of Wall in the iconic Old West town of Deadwood is a larger-than-life bronze sculpture featuring 14 bison pursued by three Native American riders. Three of the bison are posed in mid-air, cascading over the face of a cliff. Up to 30 million bison once roamed the Great Plains, but by the close of the 19th century, it was estimated that less than 1,000 had survived. The Hands-on Educational Center and Traditional Lakota Encampment tell the bisons' story.  

    5 –   Sturgis Rally: Each August hundreds of thousands of Harley-David motorcycle riders descend on this town near Deadwood for the world's biggest biker rally. The weeklong festival has three distinct zones, each with its own events and entertainment. They include bike races, Big Daddy Rat's custom bike show, textbook “biker bars,”  pancake breakfasts, vendors of motorcycle garb and accessories, history and equipment exhibits, kids' activities, beauty and bikini contests, concerts by top-name performers, demo rides, rodeos, wine and beer tastings -- and daily Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.  

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