We took advantage of Alex’s national parks pass once more on the start of our summer vacation. We drove from Highlands Ranch to Alexandria, MN for some time on the lake, and made a stop in Wall, SD along the way to check out the Badlands.

We drove the length of the park, and took a few short hikes, spending our entire Saturday inside the park. The Badlands is more kid friendly than a lot of national parks. In most locations, you are free to walk off trail, scramble up rocks, and climb on pretty much anything you see. This fact alone instantly made this one of the boys’ favorites.

It was pretty typical South Dakota spring weather – reasonably warm and sunny, with a healthy dose of wind. We had excellent luck with the wildlife, seeing several groups of bison, a herd of bighorn sheep, several deer, some pronghorn, and of course, plenty of prairie dogs.

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