We were rolled out of bed at o-dark-o’clock! We drove to the Minutemen Missile National Historic Site. We were first in line when they opened. They only have a limited number of tours each day (tours only take 6 people). We were excited to go see the missile facilities. We drove up the road a few miles to meet our tour guide. He actually used to work in the missile silos for many years. He had lots of stories to tell.
We saw the upper barracks buildings. The officers got the nice rooms.
Then we prepared to head below ground.
There was a blast door that was HUGE! It was about three feet thick! They painted a funny saying on the door.
Heading in to the tiny box.
This was the control facility of the missiles for the area.
The tiny key hole had a plastic cover to avoid sabotage. You could break the tip of your pencil off in it to prevent the key from turning. Primitive security at it’s finest.
Can we control the buttons, PLEASE?
Good thing we knew how to get out because this sign was on the ceiling of the elevator and I am not sure was an “EmergAncy” exit is? Are you?
We earned out Junior Ranger badges and patches. To get patches you have to do extra activities, like the tour.
Next we drove to the Badlands National Park. We did a Junior Ranger program then waled and explored the Doors Trail.
The Badlands was quite barren. There were no trees and the ground was just clay, sand and rock.
We had a fun time not he trail because you don’t follow a normal path. You go guide post to guide post.
We made all the paths the hardest we could climbing through rocks and low spots.
Mom lagged behind because she found it tough to walk and take photos.
I was a pretend raptor running across the planet.
We earned our Junior Ranger badges after completing the book. We already earned our patches by doing the Junior Ranger program on animals and layers in the park.
Next we drove out to D-9. Another launch site for the Minutemen Missiles.
You were allowed inside the gate to look around. But you were NOT allowed to launch the missiles. Actually the missiles were all decommissioned at the end of the Cold War.
There is still a missile in the silo but it is non-operational.
You can look down inside and see the missile.
On the way out we stopped at Wall Drug for exploring and lunch. I rode the giant jackalope.
Next we visited Ellsworth Air Force Base.
We explored the visitors center and museum while we waited for our tour time.
Our tour took us by shuttle bus onto Ellsworth AFB. There were LOTS of really cool planes all over the place. We had a tour of the base and then went over to the minutemen missile silo that is on the base. Boy these things are all over the place!
This was the entrance.
There were “peacekeepers” all over!
we got to go down into the silo and peak through the holes and windows at the missile.
Also decommissioned, just the shell remains.
Back on the bus to head back to the visitors center.
We saw the trucks that bring out the missiles.
Next we walked around the center looking at all the planes. we learned what makes a B-52 a “B”, it’s for bomber. We learned lots of other types of planes.
The storms were rolling in so we walked quickly to make sure we got to see all of the airplanes.
The B-1B was HUGE! If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can see us standing under the middle! BIG PLANE!
The storms move fast and the entire sky darkened. That was our clue to high tail it out of there back towards Custer State Park.