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Old 05-31-2010, 10:16 PM   #1
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Educational and fun road trip planning!

Mass. to S. Dakota, then to St. Louis, Fort Knox, and eventually returning
home on a quick 2 week trip.

We love historical sites, military stuff, magiquest (kids are thrilled with that), triple A baseball teams (so much cheaper!). One of a kind places to visit with our motorhome. Will be booking at Rafter J in SD, cheating and staying at Great Wolf in Wisconsin Dells, visiting Mall of America (another Magiquest location), doing the St. Louis Arch, Casino Queen campground, any other comments/suggestions/routes, etc. are greatly appreciated! We want this to be fun for all!
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:48 PM   #2
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Hi Purplefans & Harvey,
Before I make any recommendations, how far west in SD do you plan on going? It is a very large state, with many of the NP, NHS and historical adventures in the far western part of the state.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:29 PM   #3
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SD Trip

Hi! We've got 4 nights reserved at Rafter J in Hill City, SD. And a car rental with plans for Devils Tower, Mount Rushmore, Mammoth Site, and anything else you can come up with!

Making it fun for both us and the kids is important! So we're stopping at Mount Olympus in Wisconsin Dells for 2 nights, and then Mall of American for an afternoon before driving the 10 hours to Rafter J.


I'd like to get more information on historic places - the kids are interested in native americans, the war of the west, custer, Teddy Roosevelt (but I think we're too far from ND park). I like architecture and wild west stuff, was actually thinking of the helicopter tour of mt. rushmore

Staying somewhere in Omaha, NE before hitting St. Louis, where we plan on the Casino Queen campground (?)
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Old 06-01-2010, 09:40 PM   #4
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A few ideas for you (based on years of travel with my boys):

- have the kids watch the 3rd "National Treasure" movie before Mt. Rushmore as it climaxes at the site. Not historically accurate, but my kids get a kick out of the fact that they recognize so many places.

- go to Crazy Horse in SD. I was there in 1968 and in 1998 and I told my kids not much progressed in 30 years!

- Wall Drug is a must stop even just to show the kids how an enterprising pharmacist giving away free ice water transformed a city

- Federal Court House in St. Louis right by the Arch is where the Dred Scott case was heard.

- go to the top of the arch and see your camper across the river in the Casino Queen campground.

- Go karts in Wisconsin Dells. All other go kart places pale in comparison.

- Patton Tank Museum in Ft. Knox.

- Try to get down to Mammouth Cave for the Trog Tour.

- Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Also Louisville has the world's largest public skate park right off I65.

- Fenton Glass in Williamstown WV. Great factory tour.
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Old 06-02-2010, 04:56 AM   #5
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Movies for the ride

National Treasure (all of them)
North by Northwest
Little Big Man
Close Encounters of the 3rd kind
Dances with wolves (?)
Patton (!) (for the Patton Tank place)
All the F Troop series!

Any more?
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:24 AM   #6
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Indiana Jones series (3rd one will give you a preview of Arches National Park for a future trip)
Pink Panther
Sandlot
Smoky and the Bandit (only the first one was good)
Its a Mad, Mad, Mad World (great road trip movie with a cast of stars)

We have a rule where once you are in a national park, movies and books get put away and everyone looks outside the windows.
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Old 06-02-2010, 05:29 AM   #7
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Love mad mad mad world!

And since it's a 30+ hour drive out to SD, we've got lots of time for movies, drawing and coloring, reading, etc.

Great rule about state park. I agree completely! I think I'm going to get the boys either use our cameras or get them their own so that they can make their own memories.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:08 PM   #8
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Hi Purplefans & Harvey,
In addition to what has been posted, consider:
1. In Mitchell there is a prehistoric village/museum. The kids will love the guided tour.
2. At exit 131 on I90 there is the Minute Man Missile NHS. You need reservations to take the tour. Go to Minuteman Missile National Historic Site - Directions (U.S. National Park Service) and read about it. When we took the tour, we got an ex-launch officer as our guide. The stories he told!
After the tour, the kids will have fun pointing out our missile silos as one travels I90. They are hidden in plain view.

Because the Badlands NP is also at this exit, you may find yourself spending a few days in the area.
3. Between the exit and the Badlands NP entrance there is an original homestead one can visit. Spitting image of the little house on the prairie.
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Old 06-04-2010, 02:34 PM   #9
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We just came through SD this last week with a 12 year old. The Badlands are a must, that was one of the best days there. I love the kitchy road side attractions, so not only Wall Drug, but the Corn Palace in Mitchell were necessary stops.
While at the RafterJ, Needles Highway is definitely worth taking the time to do. If the kids like being underground, both Wind Cave and Jewel Cave are close by.
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Old 06-04-2010, 04:59 PM   #10
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St. Louis - Casino Queen Campground

Thanks for all the input! Looking forward to getting more int he next week! I'm going to print all just before we leave.

But now we're stuck! We want to stop at St. Louis, but the Casino Queen campground doesn't allow under 21 ! So we need to find another place! Any suggestions?
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Old 06-04-2010, 08:09 PM   #11
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We're headed to St. Louis in about 8 days as we start winding up our big road trip. It is a bit outside of town, but we are staying at Babler State Park, and then driving in for the day to do the Arch and stuff.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:37 AM   #12
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We're thinking we might change plans and go west and north and double
back through ND, then SE through Illinois to aim for some Lincoln history. Not sure,and now can start looking at the weather maps to see also. Which way will we go to avoid bad weather! That's the fun part about rving - going with the good weather!
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:53 PM   #13
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Hi Purplefans & Harvey,
The weather depends on how far north you are going. The bottom line is consider doing your trip clockwise. Do the southern part of the trip first, then swing around and do the northern part of the trip last. This will ensure the snow is gone (ex. Glacier NP) and all tourist roads will be open.
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Old 06-05-2010, 07:07 PM   #14
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snow?

I don't want snow!
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