Information about South Dakota for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted word for more information.
A IS FOR AGRICULTURE, AMISH, & ARCHAEOLOGY
The Amish way of life largely revolves around working and socializing together as a family and community. In 2010 several Amish families settled near the town of Tripp. Several stores sell handcrafted Amish furniture. There is a large Mennonite congregation in Freeman. There are 3 Hutterite Colonies near Platte.
The state celebrates ARCHAEOLOGY Month in May and there are several archaeology and paleontology events. The Archaeological Research Center is a program of the South Dakota State Historical Society and maintains a database on about 20,000 archaeological sites and more than 8,000 projects. The state has several major archaeological sites. and many are listed as a National Historic Landmark.
South Dakota has several hundred species of
BIRDS. Bird watching is popular and there are
Birding Hotspots and
Birding Trails. The State Bird is the
South Dakota has several thousand bridges
BRIDGES including several
suspension bridges and
covered bridges. Most
Pigtail bridges are found in the Black hills of South Dakota. Some bridges are on the
National Register of Historic Places in South Dakota.
South Dakota has several thousand bridges BRIDGES including several suspension bridges and covered bridges. Most Pigtail bridges are found in the Black hills of South Dakota. Some bridges are on the National Register of Historic Places in South Dakota.
South Dakota has all forms of COMMUNICATION including newspapers, magazine, radio, and television. The telephone Area Code is 605. The state has Internet Service Providers and Webcams are located throughout the state.
South Dakota has 66 counties. counties. The largest is Mead, and Clay is the smallest. Minnehaha has the largest population and Jones has the smallest. The term "county" is used in 48 of the 50 states for the level of government below the state government.
DINOSAURS roamed in what is now South Dakota. The State Fossil is the Triceratops. Nearly all of the major groups of dinosaurs have been found there. In 1804, members of the Lewis and Clark expedition recorded a fossil discovery along the banks of the Missouri River in what is now south-central South Dakota. In 1895, a nearly complete and specimen of the giant sea turtle now known as Archelon ischyros was found in the Pierre Shale. In 1940, an expedition into the badlands uncovered tons of fossils from at least 175 different species of Oligocene life. In 1996, a Mosasaur of the genus Plioplatecarpus was discovered in the Pierre Shale. One of the most famous fossils unearthed in South Dakota was a 90% complete Tyrannosaurus Rex. It was named "Sue" after its discoverer and estimated to be 67 million years old. It is on display in the Black Hills Museum of Natural History along with other fossils. The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs is the largest mammoth research facility in the world. A seaway covered part of the state during the late Cretaceous Period and fossils of many species of marine reptiles have been found. Dinosaurs of the Late Jurassic and Early Cretaceous have been found along the ridge of Dinosaur Park and dinosaur footprints have been found nearby. In 2016 near the Black Hills, a well-preserved skull of an ancient marine reptile within the mosasaurus genus was uncovered along with several other pieces of the skeleton. In 2017, a Mammoth skull was excavated that was first discovered in the 1990s. CLICK HERE for dinosaur coloring pages.
South Dakota provides Public EDUCATION for children and attendance is compulsory from age 6 to 16. Homeschooling is popular. Schoolbug and Great Schools provide information about public schools in the state.
A variety of EVENTS are held in South Dakota including a Buffalo Roundup. The State Fair is held in Huron, and there are many County Fairs. Several Festivals and other events are held throughout the state. South Dakota celebrates Public holidays and other special days.
The state South Dakota State FLAG is sky blue with the State Seal in the center. Several Municipalities and Counties have their own flag. The Rose Bud Sioux Tribe has their own flag. The State Colors are blue and gold.
South Dakota has FOOD Festivals, Events, and Shows. The history of food of the state dates back to the Gold Rush Days. The Clark has a Potato Day and Mashed Potato Wrestling. The State Food is Kuchen. The state has Food Pantries. The Dakota Style Potato Chips are made on a farm outside Clark.
South Dakotas has had many FORTS and Posts. Most of them were destroyed but some were made into parks or historic sites. Fort Meade has quarters and building accommodations for a regiment of ten full troops of cavalry. It is regarded as the most important inland military post in the whole War Department will doubtless be increased to its full capacity and maintained for many years to come. Fort Randall was the first of a chain of forts on the upper Mississippi River. Fort Sisseton is now a State Park. It has several buildings and an annual festival.
South Dakota has GHOST TOWNS. The town of Ardmore has several buildings. Dewey was a cattle town and has many original buildings. Igloo has a few residents ad many old buildings. Scenic has current residents and many original buildings. Silver City is now a resort area with many original buildings. South Dakota claims to have many Haunted Places.
The GLOBAL POSTION of South Dakota is approximately 42 to 45 latitude north and 96-104 longitude west. The geographic center is The highest point is Harney Peak and the lowest point is Big Stone Lake. The geographic center of the state is in Hughes County. The geographic center of the entire United States is in Butte County. Geocaching is a high-tech sport using a Global Positioning System and the state has many Geocaches. The topography of South Dakota ranges from 600 ft to 7,500 ft.
The HISTORY>/a> of South Dakota dates back at least 17,000 years. Between AD 500 and 800, much of eastern South Dakota was inhabited by a people known as the . Between 1250 and 1400 an agricultural people arrived from the east and settled in the central part of the state. In the 16th century, the Arikara began arriving from the south. In 1743, he first Europeans to enter South Dakota from the north began their expedition. The Lakota reached the Black Hills by 1776 . In 1762, France granted Spain all French territory west of the Mississippi River in the Treaty of Fontainebleau. In 1800, Spain gave Louisiana back to France in the Treaty of San Ildefonso. In 1803, South Dakota was added to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1804, the first permanent American settlement was established at Fort Pierre by the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 1817, an American fur trading post was set up at present-day Fort Pierre. The 1858 Treaty ceded most of present-day eastern South Dakota to the United States. The Dakota Territory was divided in half and, in November 1889, Benjamin Harrison signed proclamations formally admitting North and South Dakota to the Union. Since 1901, the South Dakota State Historical Society has kept the history of the state.The state participates in National History Day.
South Dakota has a variety of INSECTS and bugs including many butterflies and moths. The state has a variety of spiders but none are venonmous. Other insects include bees, ants, and wasps. The State Insect is the Honey Bee and there are many beekeepers. There are also some creepy bugs. The Insects and related arthropods of South Dakota are an important component environment.
Although it is landlocked, South Dakota has nearly many ISLANDS including ISLANDS in rivers, lakes, creeks, & reservoirs. A few of the islands are on the U.S. Islands Directory because they have a ham radio. Storybook Island is an admission free children's theme park in Rapid City with hands-on playsets and storybook characters. In September there is a "Once Upon A Festival" and in October "Safe N'Sweet Trick N'Treat". Farm Island is a recreation area with ties to the Lewis and Clark expedition which is detailed in the Lewis and Clark family center. The Farm Island Visitor Center stands in the center of the original Fort Sully and has exhibits that help visitors learn more about the fort. Big Stone Island is a nature area.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The South Dakota court system has three levels: the Supreme Court, the Circuit Courts, and the Magistrate Courts.
Many aspects of life in South Dakota focus on KIDS. The state has an interesting Kids Korner. The South Dakota Department of Transportation has a kids page. NOAA has a special page for kids. Agriculture in the Classroom has a kids page. The U.S. Mint has a special Kids Page.
Public LIBRARIES are located throughout South Dakota. There are also Government, Public, Academic and Special libraries. The state has had many Carnegie Libraries. The State Library is in Pierre. South Dakota has a Poet Laureate and celebrates National Poetry Month.
South Dakota has many MOUNTAIN Peaks and summits and Mountain Climbing is popular. The Black Hills are the highest mountains east of the Rockies. Mt. Rushmore has the likeness of several presidents and is a historic site. A memorial to Crazy Horse is being carved in granite near Custer.
The first residents of what is now South Dakota were NATIVE AMERICANS - the . Fossils feature in some of the legends of local people.The state has the 3rd highest proportion of Native Americans in the country. The Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center strives to preserve and promote Sioux culture. The Oglala Lakota College Historical Center tells the history of the Oglala Lakota people. Powwows and other Native American events are held during the year. Indian Casinos are located throughout the state.
Wyoming is part of the OLD WEST (area west of the Mississippi River in the 1800s. The state has cowboys and cowgirls and Deadwood is one of the top cowboy towns in the country. There are many rodeos during the year. The Casey Tibbs Rodeo Center is a historical museum devoted to the sport of South Dakota rodeo. An 1880 Town is an attraction west of Murdo. Horseback riding is popular and there are many Horse Trails.
South Dakota has 45 species of REPTILES and amphibians including many species of frogs and 17 species of snakes. Some snakes are endangered or threatened. Reptile Gardens near Rapid City has more species and subspecies of reptiles than any other zoo or wild animal park in the world and houses some of the world’s deadliest snakes. It is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Reptile Zoo.
South Dakota has many RIVERS. The Missouri River is the largest and longest river in the state and forms much of the border between South Dakota and Nebraska. Other major rivers include the Cheyenne, the James, The Big Sioux, and the White River. The Clay County Park on the last natural stretch of the Missouri River has been designated a National Wild and Scenic River.
South Dakota has all forms of TRANSPORTATION and an Adopt-a-Highway Program. The Department of Transportaion is responsible for building, maintaining, and operating road, bridges, and tunnels in the state and offers many special License Plates. The Federal Highway Administration provides information about traffic and road closures in the state. To celebrates its 50th anniversady, Matchbox Cars designated a vehicle for each state, for South Dakota it was the Jeep Wrangler.
South Dakota has many species of TREES including many native trees. Several trees are on the National Register of Big Trees. South Dakota’s largest tree has always been a cottonwood. The current largest cottonwood is located in Charles Mix County.The state tree is the Black Hills Spruce. South Dakota has several National Forests and Black Hils National Forest is the largest.
The USS SOUTH DAKOTA (BB-57) was a battleship in the U.S. Navy from 1942-1945. The ship received 13 Battle Stars for World War II service.
The WEATHER in South Dakota ranges from very cold, dry winters to hot and semi-humid summers. Current weather is provided by Weather Underground and NOAA. The hailstone that fell in Vivian in July 2010 during a strong thunderstorm has been declared the largest in diameter and heaviest ever recorded in the United States. Information about Global Warming is taught in the schools in South Dakota.
South Dakota has a variety of WILDLIFE. Animals native to the state include the Black-tailed prairie dog, Wolverine, Black-footed ferret, and Water shrew. Some animals are endangered. There are also a variety of Bats. The Bear Country USA is a drive-thru wildlife park with 25 species of North America animals. Hundreds of wild American Mustangs roam free in Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. The State Animal is the Coyote. South Dakota has several Wildlife Refuges and has a Wildlife Diversity Program. On Wildlife Loop State Scenic Bywayyou can see Bighorn sheep, pronghorn, deer, elk, coyote, prairie dog
Time ZONES are established by the Coordinated Universal Time. The United States has several Time ZONES. South Dakota is located in 2 time zones. The eastern half of the state is in the Central Time Zone and the western half is in the Mountain Time Zone. South Dakota observes Daylight Saving Time. The state has several plant hardiness zones.
South Dakota has ZOOS and Aquariums. The Great Plains Zoo has over 850 animals from around the world. The Dakota Zoo features animals seen by the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Bramble Park Zoo has over 500 mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, fish and invertebrates representing 130 varieties from around the world and those native to South Dakota. Old MacDonald's Petting Farm offers pony & train rides for kids.