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Copyright © 2008 by Open Horizons and John Kremer
Last modified: 11/02/07

Hot Times, Cool Places

South Dakota Vacation Basic Facts

South Dakota Tourism Division, Capital Lake Plaza, 711 E Wells Avenue, Pierre, South Dakota 57501-3369; 605-773-3301; 800-732-5682
Fax: 773-3256. Email:

State Animal: coyote

State Bird: Chinese ring-necked pheasant

State Bread: fried bread

State Dessert: kuchen

State Drink: milk

State Fish: walleye

State Fishing Museum: Museum of Wildlife, Science, and Industry of Webster, South Dakota

State Flower: American pasque flower

State Fossil: triceratops

State Gemstone: Fairburn agate

State Grass: Western wheat grass

State Greeting: How Kola!

State Insect: honeybee

State Jewelry: Black Hills gold

State Mineral: rose quartz

State Motto: Under God the people rule.

State Musical Instrument: fiddle

State Nickname: Mount Rushmore State and Coyote State

State Quarter:

State Seal:

State Slogan: Great Faces. Great Places.

State Soil: houdek

State Song: Hail, South Dakota

State Sport: rodeo

State Tree: Black Hills spruce

State Capitals

Yankton, South Dakota — Yankton, South Dakota. Territorial capital from 1861 to 1883.

Pierre, South Dakota — South Dakota State Capitol, Pierre, South Dakota. Web: Current state capital.

State Songs

Hail, South Dakota.

State Specials

Lead is home to The Homestake Mine, the largest gold mine in the United States. It opened in 1876, making it the oldest continually operating gold mine in the world. It produces about 15% of the nation’s gold and still has huge reserves.

Evan’s Plunge, the world’s largest natural indoor warm-water pool, is located in Hot Springs.

The largest buffalo herd in the U.S. lives at the Standing Butte Ranch near Pierre.

Fossilized remains of life 50 million years ago have been arranged in unusual forms, which is Lemmon's mark of distinction at the world's largest petrified wood park.

Belle Fourche is the geographical center of the United States of America, designated in 1959 and noted by an official marker and sheepherder's monument called a Stone Johnnie.

The largest underground gold mine is the Homestake Mine in Lead, South Dakota.

Clark is the Potato Capital of South Dakota. Clark is home to the world famous Mashed Potato Wrestling contest.

With more than 82 miles of mapped passages, Wind Cave contains the world’s largest display of a rare formation called boxwork.

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs contains the largest concentration of Columbian and woolly mammoth bones discovered in their primary context in the world! This National Natural Landmark is the only in-situ (bones left as found) display of fossil mammoths in America.

Badlands National Park contains the world's richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 23 to 35 million years old.

In 1898, the first commercial timber sale on Federal forested land in the United States was authorized in the area of Jim and Estes Creeks (near the town of Nemo).

Famous South Dakotans

South Dakota Fun Facts

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