Family Fun in the Dakotas, Part 7: Bismarck, North Dakota

This is my seventh post about our family's visit to the Dakotas. I suggest reading the firstsecondthird, fourth, fifth, and sixth trip posts before this one. Because I blog about educational travel, I received free admission tickets, media rates, discounts, and other benefits for some of the places we visited during the trip. Other places we went are free for everyone. We paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. If you see any gaps in my narrative, it is because I didn't love that particular attraction, restaurant, or hotel enough to recommend it, regardless of how much I paid or didn't pay.


Bismarck, North Dakota

On Monday, July 31, we said goodbye to Steve's parents and the town of Medora and headed east. We made a quick stop at the Painted Canyon Visitor Center, the second (of three) visitor centers at Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Our first order of business when we got to Bismarck was lunch. We ate at Space Aliens Grill & Bar. Earthlings welcome. 

While we waited for our food, we checked out the decor. They've gone all out with the theming. It's awesome.  

Steve and I took turns trying to think of famous aliens that weren't on display in the restaurant. We didn't see Mork, nor the Great Gazoo

As fun as the decor was, that's not what matters about a restaurant. I'm happy to report that the food was excellent. 


Then we went to the North Dakota State Capitol. It has a very different look than the typical domed building found in most capital cities. At 242 feet tall, it is called the "Skyscraper on the Prairie" and is the tallest building in the state. It is quite plain; because it was built during the Depression, they left everything decorative off to save money. 

When we visit a capitol, we typically start with Trevor and me posing in front of the building while Steve takes our picture. We didn't this time. Trevor and I went straight in and waited in the air-conditioned lobby while Steve went back to the car to get the Capital Connection book


Trevor got his stamp, we talked with a tour guide, and then we looked around. 

There is an observation deck on the 18th floor. 

The views are great.


Next we visited the North Dakota Heritage Center and State Museum. It's right across from the capitol building. I love when states do that. 

Three large permanent galleries cover the history of North Dakota from its geologic formation until the present day. The Adaptation Gallery focuses on the time between 600 million years ago to the appearance of humans about 13,000 years ago. The Innovation Gallery focuses on the Native people of North Dakota from 13,000 years ago until the 1860's. And the Inspiration Gallery covers the mid-1800's to the present day. 

The permanent exhibits are very interesting and do a good job telling the story of North Dakota. The temporary exhibit about Native storytellers is excellent as well. 

My favorite exhibits at the museum were this hands-on exhibit about the Bakken Formation and feeling oil... 

.... and this recreation of a 1950's bomb shelter, complete with broadcasts from the era. 

If a nuclear bomb goes off while you're walking down the street, duck and cover in the gutter! Sigh. I mean, I guess you might as well.

I also really liked the display about North Dakota's birds. 

The whole museum was enjoyable and we learned a lot.  

We headed to our hotel, the Home2 Suites, to check in. It was great - very clean and comfy. But we only stayed long enough to drop off our stuff before heading back out. We wanted to walk a portion of the  Riverfront Trail while it was still light out. There are multiple parks along the trail. This is Keelboat Park

We strolled, did some geocaching, and watched a train cross over the Missouri River. 

Dinner was at The Walrus, which I highly recommend. Apparently I was too busy eating to take pictures inside, but I did get a photo of the front of the restaurant. 

Speaking of photos, as we were going to bed, it was really bugging me that we hadn't gotten photos of ourselves in front of the capitol. I decided to add that to our agenda for the following day, which was already plenty busy. Tomorrow I'll share all the things we did that day. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I moderate comments, so you will not see yours appear right away. Please check back if you had a question; I promise to answer it as soon as I see it. Thank you for taking the time to comment!