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Things to do in Pierre

  • State Capitol State Capitol Pierre, South Dakota
    The South Dakota State Capitol contains the South Dakota state legislature located in Pierre, South Dakota, and also houses the majority of the state's offices as well as the governor. It was built between 1905 and 1910, with the plans designed by the Minneapolis architectural office of M. S. Detwiler and C. E. Bell; who included some of the features of the Montana State Capitol in Helena, Montana. With all the planning and construction costs adding up to close to $1million. The building's floors are covered with terrazzo tile and story's have it that it took 66 Italian artists to complete them; and because they weren't allowed to sign the work, as most artisans will sign their completed work in some way; these tile men were allowed to use a blue stone to put in the floor. Strangely enough, there have only been 55 of these blue stones discovered so far. Since some of the tiled areas have been covered by carpets, walls or doors, they could be unable to be seen. On the first floor, a magnificent marble staircase goes upstairs, with exhibit cases in front of them, housing the First Lady Gown collection. These miniature copies are made of the fabric used for the dresses, worn by every First Lady to her inaugural ball. The copies are worn by dolls, in the exhibit cases, and a picture of every governor's family and other various mementos. Once on the second floor, the marble staircase opens into a large rotunda with the dome 96 feet high, and the bottom ring designed to look like a string of ribbons tied together, meaning to symbolize the eternal nature of government. The interior of the dome is adorned with 16 images of the Tree of Life, also showing acanthus leaves that represent wisdom and a pasque flower; that is the state's flower. The third floor contains the House of Representatives and Senate, with galleries for both of these elected bodies, so that the public can watch the process; and these are located on the fourth floor, above the chambers. There are beautiful memorials on the grounds of the capitol; with the Fighting Stallions Memorial being a sculpture to honor eight South Dakota residents and the governor, George S. Mickelson, who died in a plan crash on April 19, 1993; the law enforcement officer memorial that gives honor to the police officers that have died in the line of duty; the Flaming Foundation memorial which is a fountain that holds a perpetually burning natural gas flame that was created to honor the South Dakota veterans that have died; and the six bronze figures on a peninsula located in the Capitol Lake that has the WWII memorial, with each figure representing the different branches of the service where South Dakotans have served during that war.

  • South Dakota Discovery Center & Aquarium
    The South Dakota Discovery Center and Aquarium offers the best interactive and hands-on science opportunities that are both educational and fun. Some of their exciting in house programs include; the star lab which is their most popular activity that teaches visitors about our constellations, as well as Greek or Lakota stories. Another is the Story of Lewis and Clark, with local historian, Lonis Wendt, telling about the famous explorers that went across this country and had one of the most exciting and compelling adventures of any early explorers. Watershed investigation is another great and educational program that allows your child to become a water scientist, with numerous activities that will engage your child's imagination and excitement. You will play a game that actually analyzes a sample of aquatic bugs to discover what they reveal about the quality of your water, and use simple equipment to test waters from various sources; and a demonstration that tells how water can become polluted. The Leopold Education project that explores the world of Aldo Leopold, writer and conservationist who wrote the Sand County Almanac more than 60 years ago and will help your children learn about conservation and our environment; using geography, ecology and language arts to assist developing your children's thought processes. With many educational opportunities to learn, this is a favorite venue for schools in the region and helps all children to learn more about themselves and their place in the world of conservation. Their online store is a great place to purchase kits, DVDs, books, clothing, game and toys and ideas for any science projects that they might have during the school year. All the items are specifically made to engage your child's imagination and make learning fun as well as instructional. It is a great place to indulge your children's mind and psyche, helping them with specifics in many subjects that they will be taking in school and helping them to become better citizens of their city, state and country.

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  • Cultural Heritage CenterCultural Heritage Center Pierre, South Dakota
    The South Dakota cultural heritage center enlivens history with educational programs, research services and exhibits; gaining knowledge of early American Indian cultures and the arrival of river boats, railroads and the white settlers that came to change the face of the state. You can visit a sod house, one of the cheapest and most environmentally sound structures ever constructed, hear marvelous stories told by a pioneer woman, see how a gold mine works and get as close as you want to a Lakota tipi. This center's museum has an outstanding collection of Native American items, totaling 1339, highlighting on the Sioux Indians with quality references and enlightening documentation. One very exciting and interesting piece is the Peace Medal that was distributed by Lewis and Clark on their journey across the nation. These peace medals were made for Thomas Jefferson's administration, with his image on one side and a symbol of peace on the other. These silver round medals were made from two die struck round pieces of silver, fastened together with a collar and pierced or connected with rings to allow the medals to be worn around the neck. The medals were given to the chiefs along the Lewis and Clark route and were considered "passports" for the chiefs to use when they came to Washington to meet the President of the United States. The South Dakota state historical society was formed by the legislature in 1901, responsible for safekeeping the state's wonderful history and the relics associated with it. Their involvement includes five distinct program areas; historic preservation, archaeology, research and publishing, archives and museum. Their archaeological research center houses a database of all archaeological projects and sites, with more than 20,000 sites listed and over 8000 projects with the research library holding thousands of reports and documents about the archaeological treasures. Their repository contains artifacts from numerous collections, and continues to grow and discover. The archives collects, describes, organizes, appraises, preserves, determines significance and allows the manuscripts to be available to the public. It was started by the legislature in 1975, although the initial objects and materials were started back in 1891. It contains a plethora of information about the state and its history, making it the most prominent museum and center in the state of South Dakota. The historic preservation office takes care of the listed places on the National Register of Historic Places for the National Park Service in the state, with many projects involving the marvelous history of the state. The museum houses many wonderful stories about the beginning of the state, as well as the history of the plains Indians and the initial settling of the region. The museum strives to capture the spirit and essence of these early pioneers, and the adventures that they went through.

  •  La Framboise Island
    The LaFramboise Island Nature area is a special and unusual area on the Missouri River, full of trees and meadows, containing a number of bird and wildlife species; mentioned in the journals of Lewis and Clark, actually named Bad Humor Island initially because when they arrived here, they were all in a foul mood, in 1804; because of a situation with the local Teton Sioux that happened nearby. The island's present name is due to the construction of a fort at the mouth of the Bad River by Joseph LaFramboise, on the west side of the island, which was later farmed and settled. In the mid1960s, upstream dams were constructed that eventually changed the water flow in the river, and the sand bar island has also changed to include ash, cedar and Russian olive trees. Native cottonwood trees can also be found on the island which is a result of the frequent floods that occurred on the river, before the dams were constructed. The island has become a great place to fish, bike, hike, boat, enjoy the beautiful wildlife that flourishes here, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter are also greatly enjoyed sports. There is a picnic shelter, boat ramps and a fishing dock if you don't have access to your own boat. Drinking water and vault toilets can be used here which helps in an emergency. The island is about 580 acres, with a 65 acre sandbar attached to it, in the middle of the Missouri River and sits between Pierre, South Dakota and Fort Pierre. The main trees located here are cottonwoods, but unfortunately, they are dying at a quick pace and will be gone in about three decades if changes aren't made soon.

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Local Restaurants in Pierre
  • View 34
    Appetizers; spinach & artichoke dip, grilled chicken quesadilla is stuffed with grilled chicken breast, roasted red peppers, onions, Colby-jack cheese, topped with sour cream and pico de gallo; Maryland crab cakes is housemade lump blue crab cakes with remoulade; herb & parmesan onion ring is onion rings seasoned with fresh thyme, parsley & parmesan cheese with peppercorn ranch dipping sauce; blue cheese stuffed mushrooms. House Specialties; chicken Madeira is sautéed chicken breast, mozzarella cheese & crimini mushrooms with Madeira demiglace over mashed Yukon gold potatoes; lamb chops is Dijon mustard crusted New Zealand lamb chops with mashed Yukon gold potates; roasted pork tenderloin is White Marble Farms pork tenderloin pan roasted finished with tart cherry marmalade & herb roasted potatoes; veal piccatta is sautéed veal scaloppini finished with lemon caper sauce over gnocchi. Pasta; chipotle chicken linguini is roasted red peppers, garlic and onion tossed in spicy southwestern cream sauce & topped with grilled chicken breast; spaghetti Marinara is housemade meatballs or with Italian sausage and crimini mushrooms; tortellini Alfredo is cream sauce with parmesan cheese and garlic. From the Water; walleye is herb crusted with honey Dijon cream sauce or broiled with butter served with mashed Yukon gold potatoes; grilled salmon is Pacific salmon filet with raspberry balsamic glaze set with herb roasted potatoes; grilled shrimp skewers is colossal shrimp marinated with garlic & grilled over special wood burning grill served with rice pilaf. Steaks & Chops; sirloin center is 6oz, 10oz or 16 oz.; rib eye is 10oz. or 16oz.; filet mignon is 6oz. or 10oz.; prime rib is slow roasted & hand carved to order with au jus 10oz or 16oz.; pork chop is 12 oz.

  • Chez Pierre
    Appetizers; chislic is sirloin pieces deep fried & seasoned, shrimp basket is 21 mini breaded shrimp, shrimp cocktail is 6 jumbo prawns served chilled, chicken fritters is 100% breast meat chunks breaded, cheese stix is breaded mini mozzarella stix, breaded mushrooms is with whole breaded mushrooms, olivenos is diced black olives with salsa and Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses blended and breaded, onion petals is breaded thin-cut sweet yellow onion slices, breaded green beans is served with cucumber wasabi ranch sauce. Prime Rib; 10oz prime rib with salad, potato & Texas toast; 16oz. prime rib with salad, potato and Texas toast; USDA choice sirloin steaks; 8oz. top sirloin steak with salad and TT; 12oz. top sirloin steak with salad and TT; 16oz. top sirloin steak with salad, potato & TT; ground sirloin steak is 2/3 pound ground sirloin with salad, potato & TT. Bone-in Steaks is 24oz. porterhouse for two with two salad, potato & TT; 24oz. T-Bone with salad, potato & TT; 24oz. bone-in rib eye with salad, potato & Texas toast. Seafood; jumbo shrimp dinner is 5 jumbo breaded shrimp with salad, potato & TT.

Veal Piccatta View 34 Pierre, South Dakota


Pacific Salmon Filet View 34 Pierre, South Dakota



16oz. Sirloin Chez Pierre Pierre, South Dakota 


Jumbo Shrimp Chez Pierre Pierre, South Dakota

Hertz Car Rental Pierre

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  • Museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society
    The museum of the South Dakota State Historical Society is a marvelous venue to learn more about this wonderful state, its history and the people that were here, came here and live here. The museum's collection is the very foundation of the museum and its exciting artifacts and information, answering many questions about the origins of the state, but also enticing us to continue discovering and learning so much more. The museum's mission is to collect objects and relics that pertain to the human experience in the state, since it was founded in 1901, and today houses more than 29,000 relics that span the Lakota headdresses to political buttons to everything and anything in betwixt. The museum uses the collections in nationally recognized displays, for research and on loans to other museums in the world. The museum continues to receive donations that complement their collections and are contained in a modern "green" structure that ensures their long term preservation and a professional staff to care for them. The collection spans a diverse range of topics and eras, with a plethora of various types of materials, big, little, new, old, toys, weapons and more; plus a world class collection of Lakota relics and international objects that tell about the invasion of the Europeans on the northern plains. The military collection is expansive, with collections of political buttons, toys, weapons, quilts and more, but the museum doesn't collect large items, natural history items or archaeological pieces.

  • Oahe DamOahe Dam Pierre, South Dakota
    The Oahe Dam is a big man-made dam on the Missouri River, a bit north of Pierre, South Dakota, forming the fourth biggest artificial reservoir in the nation, Lake Oahe. The reservoir goes up the river 231 miles until Bismarck, North Dakota and their powerplant gives electricity to most of the north-central United States. It was named after the Oahe Indian mission that was started in the Lakota Sioux in 1874, with other advantages like flood control, navigation benefits, electric power and irrigation, which has been estimated by the Corps of Engineers at a value of $150 million per year. During September and October of 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition came through the area that is now Lake Oahe, on their exploration of the Missouri River. It was authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1944 and built by the US Army Corps of Engineers in 1948. The shale and earth main dam was to its full height by October of 1959 and officially dedicated by President John F. Kennedy in 1962, when it started generating power, at a cost of $340 million. Visitors can tour the plant during the Memorial Day to Labor Day period and last about an hour and a half. Because of the dam's location, the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation lost about 150,000 acres, thus making it only 2.8 million acres currently. The Standing Rock Reservation lost some 56,000 acres and it now has 2.3 million acres. The majority of the land was taken by eminent domain claims by the Bureau of Reclamation and besides the loss of land, it was the most productive in terms of agriculture. This caused quite some concerns among the Indian nations that lost the land and usage, and it was not able to be harvested of any usable materials before being flooded over. A visitor to the reservations once remarked about the absence of older Indians and was told that they passed on from heartache after the land was taken. The Huff Archaeological Site is a fortified Mandan village sitting on the banks of the lake, and is a National Historic Landmark now, but in constant danger of erosion pressure from the lake.

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  • Badlands National ParkBadlands National Park Pierre, South Dakota
    The Badlands National Park is located in southwest South Dakota, with 244,000 acres of pinnacles, spires and distinctly eroded buttes that mixes with a huge protected mixed grass prairie. The Badlands Wilderness protects 64,144 acres of the park as a designated wilderness region and is the place where the black footed ferret was reintroduced, it being the most endangered land mammal in the North American continent. The Stronghold Unit is co-managed by the Oglala Lakota tribe and includes the sites of a former USAF bomb and gunnery range, Red Shirt Table, the highest peak in the park at 3,340 feet and the 1890s Ghost Dances. The Badlands National Monument was authorized in 1929 but wasn't established until 1939, and in 1957-1958, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center was constructed and opened. In 1978, it was redesignated a national park, and also manages the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. Some of the genera discovered in the area includes; rhinoceros, alligator, nimravid, creodont, running rhino, ground squirrel like rodents, entelodont, oreodont, tragulid, aquatic rhino and camels. For more than 11 millennia, Native Americans used the badlands for their personal hunting grounds, and way before the Lakota, the paleo-Indians lived and hunted here, which were then followed by the Arikara peoples; and their descendants are living in the state today, part of the Three Affiliated Tribes. Archaeological records and oral histories tell us that these peoples would camp in secluded valleys full of fish and fresh water available all the time; eroding out of the banks of the streams today are evidence of this with rocks and charcoals from their campfires, with many tools and arrowheads that they would use to butcher rabbits, bison and other game. Standing atop the Badlands Wall, these early settlers would scan the horizons for enemies and wandering herds. If the hunting proved good, they would stay as long as possible and then head back to their villages by the Missouri River. Only a hundred and fifty years ago, the Great Sioux Nation was made up of seven bands that included the Oglala Lakota, that had slowly displaced other tribes in the northern prairie. It wasn't until the latter part of the 19th century that a great change occurred in the region, as white settlers and homesteaders moved into the territory of South Dakota. The United States government "stripped" the Native Americans of most of their lands and "forced" them to live on reservations. It is that history that makes the immigration problems in this country today seem so small and insignificant; since many Americans, like those in Arizona, feel hostility towards those immigrants that are coming to this country "illegally"?, when these very same people or rather their ancestors came here and stole the same lands that belonged to the Indian nations; who considered the "white man" to be the immigrant that was trying to come here and take their share of the great huge land that God gave to all of us to use for our benefits, and to care for the animals that live here, instead of killing them to the extent that many will become extinct; all in the name of progress ( but it is really just greed, as it always has been). In the fall and winter of 1890, thousands of the Native American followers, including the Oglala Sioux, would become followers of the Indian prophet, Wovoka; whose vision called the native peoples to dance the Ghost Dance and wear Ghost shirts that were unable to be pierced by bullets. This prophet, Wovoka envisioned the white man disappearing from the land and the natives hunting grounds restored to them. Wovoka was a Paiute spiritual leader from Nevada, and a powerful medicine man who was good with illusions to get his point across, and on January 1, 1889, when a solar eclipse occurred he had a "vision" that told him all the events that would lead to the white men's disappearance and restoration of their lands. One of the last big Ghost Dances happened on Stronghold Table in the Badlands National Park, and as winter started, the ghost dancers went back to the Pine Ridge Agency. The climax of this great struggle happened in 1890; and has gone done in history as one of the worst moments in American history. A small band of Minneconjou Sioux were going south of the Cheyenne River and passed into the Badlands Wall, chased by units of the US Army 7th Cavalry, with the Indians hoping to get to the Pine Ridge agency for refuge. The group of Indians was led by Chief Big Foot, and they would be overtaken by the army at a place called Wounded Knee Creek "in the reservation" and camped for the night. The next day, the soldiers arrived and tried to disarm the Indians, with one deaf or hard of hearing Indian, Black Coyote, didn't understand the soldiers and didn't want to relinquish his weapon, used for hunting and a means of his livelihood, but instead a shot was fired that ended in the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre happening, with almost 200 Indian men, women and children murdered; and this became the last big conflict between the red men and the white men; until the second Wounded Knee clash in 1973. Wounded Knee is NOT located in the Badlands National Park, but about 45 miles south of the park in the Pine Ridge Reservation.

  • Fighting Stallions Memorial
    The Fighting Stallions Memorial was built by the people of South Dakota as a lasting memorial to eight fellow statesmen that died on a plane crash on April 19, 1993. There were four state employees, the governor and three Sioux Falls corporate leaders that had been on an economic mission to save the biggest agricultural processing employer in the state. The stallions bronze statue was enlarged from the 1935 mahogany carving created by South Dakota sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski; and represents the state's struggle to overcome adversity, courage to believe in the future and a strong desire for achievement; a constant reminder of those fellow South Dakotans that gave the ultimate sacrifice.  The statue sits on the lawn of the state capitol in Pierre, South Dakota.

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  • Wounded Knee MuseumWounded Knee Museum Pierre, South Dakota
    The Wounded Knee Museum is located in Wall, South Dakota and describes the stories and events that led a small band of Lakota Sioux onto an Indian reservation, chased by the US Army's 7th Cavalry, the same unit that took part in Custer's Last Stand, and perhaps, an overzealous troop leader that was bound and determined to fulfill his glorious dream of being remembered for revenging that bloody battle. For centuries, the white men had been trying to subdue the Native American Sioux tribes, and this wonderful museum helps those of us today, understand the real story of what happened at Wounded Knee and more importantly why? The e museum portrays a carefully researched complete documented history of that fateful fight and flight of Big Foot's band of Minneconjou Lakota through the wintry South Dakota lands, only to die by an onslaught of Hotchkiss guns and rifles. The museum has brought all the elements of that day together for the perusal of visitors with words and pictures that do tell the real story. There are graphics and photographs that will describe the events that led up to the massacre of men, women and children. The museum is located in Wall for two very basic reasons, the accessibility of I90, and its location on the Badlands loop, making it easy to view the exact site of the massacre and the memorial that was raised to remind us all of the terrible times our ancestors, both white and red, went through to make this great country what it is today. Some say that the research for the museum really started on December 30, 1890 and then really began to progress in 1994, when the idea of a museum was brought up by Steve Wyant. That idea continues today, as more and more information is brought to light and to help this generation understand and answer all the questions that the event raised, most importantly why. The museum has the primary sources that include; witness reports, journals, the Congressional records, and original authentic photographs. They used historian accounts, newspaper accounts, books, documentary films and magazine articles to discover all the necessary answers needed to complete the museum and as mentioned, still continues today. Since the museum is a narrative one, the path will guide you through the events that led up to the massacre, and the results, with more than two dozen displays helping you to learn and understand more. The exhibits begin with smothering the seven fires; the story of the Lakota, as the white man came here, expanded and pushed the red man further and further into a ever decreasing area that would eventually smother their basic rights and abilities. The white man made treaty after treaty, cajoling, coercing, lying, bribing or whatever method they could find to take more and more land from the Native peoples. First, the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851, then the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1868, then the Agreement of 1876 and then once more, the Agreement of 1889; all the while pushing the Native peoples onto lands that were useless and worthless to the white men as the overran the native tribes that had existed here for thousands of year. The first treaty of Fort Laramie let the migrant white men travel through the Platte River Valley, with boundaries enclosing the Lakota. Then, after the two year Red Cloud War, note it is an Indian war, which had the government agreeing to let the Bozeman Trail alone, along with the three forts that they had constructed. The next year, the Transcontinental Railroad would pass through this area making the entire treaty moot. It was such a farce and the Lakota lands were decreased. Then, in 1875, the government itself started a war ordering the Lakota to give up the Powder River hunting grounds, and the discovery of gold in the Black Hills brought a horde of invaders disregarding the past treaty and annex the Black Hills that further decimated the land of the Lakota. The final straw was the agreement of 1889, which was just an agreement amongst the white men to take more Indian lands and push the Indians that had roamed as free as the buffalo into six small reservations so the white man could have more. Then the ghost dance movement, then the influx of "war correspondents" from newspapers around the nation to spread more lies about the red men and their impending war against the white man; only instigating more rumors and hatred for the Native peoples. The reason that Big Foot was going to the Pine Ridge Reservation was to arbitrate some arguments between various chiefs on the reservation and he would be paid 100 horses. The story is a long and tedious one, but tells the unknown complete story about why the Indians were going to the reservation; and one that should be enjoyed and learned by every American, both red and white.

  • Fort Pierre National Grasslands
    The Fort Pierre National Grassland is located in central South Dakota, just south of Pierre and is mainly a short grass prairie with 115,890 acres of land. This is where part of the movie, "Dances with Wolves" was filmed, and it is managed by the Forest Service. The prairie looks as it did hundreds of years ago, undulating ridges of grasses, blowing in the wind, where much of it has been turned over to other grasses like wheat and corn, as well as the native grasses like green needle grass, western wheatgrass, big and little bluestem, sorghum, sunflowers, and alfalfa; a perfect place for the Greater Prairie chickens and Plains sharp-tailed grouse. There is a grazing association that has permits for around 51,000 animal-unit-months of livestock, with wildlife and recreation part and parcel of the magnificent stretches of small rolling hills and acres of grasses.

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