Do you live in South Dakota, or are you planning a trip there in mid-December? If so, stop by Wind Cave National Park, either to take part in the park's Christmas Bird Count or to enjoy the holiday open house.
The open house on December 14 will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the visitor center. Light refreshments will be served, and students from the Hot Springs’ third grade will sing carols at 1 p.m. The visitor center Christmas tree will be decorated by the students.
“We look forward to seeing our neighbors and friends at our open house as we take this opportunity to thank the local community for their strong support this last year,” said Wind Cave Superintendent Vidal Davila.
The public will be able to view park exhibits and browse through the visitor center’s bookstore, which is operated by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association. Cave tours will also be offered, as they are throughout the winter, at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
The park’s Christmas Bird Count is patterned after the National Audubon Society’s effort to document trends in wintering birdlife throughout the United States. The count area will include Wind Cave National Park and areas of the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park.
People wishing to participate should meet at the park visitor center at 8 a.m. on Sunday, December 18th. Participants are asked to dress warmly, bring a lunch, field guides and binoculars, something to share for dinner and a place setting. Participants will return to the park’s VIP Center at 4:15 p.m. to compile results and share in a potluck dinner.
The visitor center and cave will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day to allow staff to celebrate the holidays with their families. Throughout the remainder of the winter, the visitor center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information about these events, call the park at 605-745-4600.