If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, North Dakota’s wildly fantastic topography has plenty of hidden secrets to share—you’ve probably heard about the Badlands in North Dakota. It’s hard not to attract attention with a name like that. But it’s not only geologists who find the Roughrider State educational and appealing.
Experience history and culture up close and personal. Take a relaxing and educational journey through North Dakota’s heritage by visiting any of its museums, state-of-the-art exhibits, guided tours, state parks and other fun activities.
What’s So Bad about the North Dakota Badlands?
The answer to this question all depends on who you ask. If you ask a group of students about their experience in the North Dakota Badlands, their story might go something like this:
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, located in Medora, offers a wild terrain for epic hikes, winding horseback rides and exhilarating bungee jumps and rock climbing fun—excellent for team building.
While in Medora, for those in your group who prefer a more subtle, historic adventure, visit Chateau de Mores State Historic Site and Harold Schafer Heritage Center. Let your students hear the stories about these two influential businessmen who made it big, and how a lot of hard work and perseverance can pay off. Harold Schafer founded the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and the Medora Musical, coined, “The Greatest Show in the West.”
Also located in Medora are the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Raging Rivers Waterpark. Explore Western heritage and cowboy culture with your students, and then cool down with some fun at the waterpark. Now, that doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Explore the Natural and Historic Wonders of the Great Plains
If the North Dakota Badlands seem too horrible for you to endure with your students, take your group of adventurers just northeast of the rolling hills and “breaks” to explore the Great Plains.
Your first stop should be the Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park, located in Mandan. Its historic military and Native American exhibits will definitely meet your educational goals. If you find a little bit of time to relax, be sure to check out the On-A-Slant Indian Village, featuring reconstructed earth lodges from the Mandan Indian era, and don’t forget to capture a breathtaking view of the Missouri River from a gorgeous vantage point.
If your group is ready for a serious outdoor adventure explore the Cross Ranch State Park in Center. The park offers primitive camping and meeting sites, which include unique tipis, cabins and yurts for rental. Don’t forget your snowshoes or skis, because the camp grounds at Cross Ranch are only accessible by foot.
Culture, Heritage and Hospitality
The state’s capitol of Bismarck is sure to attract visitors year round. The people of the Great Plains are ready to help you and your students feel right at home. Despite its size and different cultures, the residents of North Dakota function more like a big community, rather than a state. Known as The International Peace Garden State, North Dakota has plenty of hospitality to share with your students.
Start off your relaxing journey by visiting Bismarck and enjoy a free tour of the North Dakota State Capitol building, the “Skyscraper on the Prairie.”
While you’re there, entertain your students at the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. They will travel back in time and experience the historic beauty of life on the Northern Plains. The facility was recently renovated to include many more educational galleries and state-of-the-art exhibits, and best of all, admission is free!
Splash through time and space with an underwater adventure, and watch your students’ reactions when they see a life-size dinosaur cast and a real bison skeleton.
Bismarck is also home to the Dakota Zoo and the Lewis & Clark Riverboat, which provides leisurely cruises down the historic Missouri river. After a long day of exploring, it could be exactly what you and your students need to unwind.
Public Venues Focused on Education
Your students are sure to gain useful historical education while visiting North Dakota. In fact, the entire state celebrates National History Day, and there are plenty of events hosted by the State Historical Society of North Dakota, including the architectural genius feature called the Northern Lights Atrium.
When your group ventures to Fargo, make sure you stop by Bonanzaville Pioneer Village. The small community is a favorite historic attraction and the host of Pioneer Days, which is sure to entice students of all ages.
Travel to Grand Forks to explore the North Dakota Art Museum, which also hosts a variety of educational and inspiring programs for students.
Most people never get a chance to experience the inspiring secrets of a state without visiting it. Luckily, you now have a sneak-peek of North Dakota and a handful of activities to look forward to.
Whether you’re looking for an elaborate outdoor voyage or an enriching historical experience, take a walk on the wild side and let your students’ imaginations flow!
Have you been to North Dakota lately? Leave a comment about your trip!