Find a factory to tour for fun and learning!

South Dakota factories to visit and tour

South Dakota has factories to visit and tour. Below, first are the active, working factories. The next section has historical operations which often have demonstrations or renactments. These incluse both large and small operations, from several person chocolate factories and cheesemakers to large manufacturers making paper towels, wood products, beverage cans and bottles, are open to the public with real tours, exhibitions and fun education.

In some cases, such as a manufacturing process that is no longer in use, the only way to see it and learn about it is a museum or living history center. So, we also provide information about engineering facilities and museums, dinosaur digs, even government facilities, like NASA, astronomy oberservatories and more that are open to the public on certain days and times. And if there is some place that is just plain fun to visit, we add that, too!

These are perfect for homeschooling, for STEM and for fun! Kids love visiting these places! They're learning and getting an education without even realizing it. And most of these are either free or under $10! What's better then fun, entertaining, good for children and families, educational and free?

Here are some of the top factory tours in South Dakota and contact information and tips about visiting them.

Factories, Engineering, Museums and other fun demonstrations and exhibits to visit in South Dakota

  1. Black Hills Gold Factory - gold working
    2707 Mt. Rushmore Rd. Rapid City, SD 57701. Phone: 888-402-3475. Email: Open: tours Monday through Friday 9:00AM, 10:00AM, 11:00AM, 1:00PM, 2:00PM, 3:00PM. Free factory tours! There are many fun attractions in Rapid City, and one of them is the Black Hills Gold factory tour. Consider bringing your family along for an enjoyable and educational experience. This is the ideal activity for groups of family members and friends, and is even just as thrilling when experienced individually. During your tour, you’ll learn about the fascinating and intricate process with which we craft our much sought-after gold and diamond jewelry, including our Black Hills Gold rings, bracelet, necklace, and watches.
    See up close and personal how we perform lost-wax casting and cast our diamonds in molten gold. Watch us execute the act of diamond cutting with such precision, it makes cutting the hardest naturally occurring substance on earth look easy. Learn how we produce our iconic pink, green, and yellow grape leaf design by alloying the gold with other precious metals. During the tour, you will get to see first hand how we cast the diamonds in molten gold, using a lost-wax casting method; you’ll get to watch us as we intricately and precisely cut a diamond; and you’ll be able to see the process of alloying gold and precious metals to produce our iconic light pink, green, and yellow colors. Not only will you experience an enjoyable family or group activity, but you will learn the process in which beautiful and historic jewelry is made.
  2. Minuteman Missile Launching Bunker - a real former missile silo
    Interstate 90 in western South Dakota. Phone: 605 433-5552. Email: Minuteman Missile National Historic Site is located at three sites along a fifteen mile stretch of Interstate 90 in western South Dakota. The Visitor Center is located immediately north of I-90, exit 131. The two historic sites which make up the park are four miles (Launch Control Facility Delta-01) and 15 miles (Launch Facility Delta-09) from the Visitor Center. No public transportation systems serve the park. A variety of maps are available to assist you visit and historic understanding.
    Warning about GPS Systems! Vehicle Navigation Systems and GPS units may provide inaccurate information—sending drivers the wrong way on one-way roads, leading them to dead ends in remote areas, or sending them on roads which are impassable at certain times of year. DO NOT DEPEND ONLY ON YOUR VEHICLE GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEM.
    Learn what it was like to have the awesome responsibility of thermonuclear war at your fingertips. The ranger-guided tour of Delta-01 begins with a walk through of the grounds and topside support building. Visitors then descend via elevator 31 feet underground to the Launch Control Center to see the electronic consoles used by missileers to control ten Minuteman II missiles. Built for nuclear war, the control center features a small elevator and a tight underground space. To protect the historic facilities and to provide for visitor safety, each tour is limited to six participants and a park ranger. This tour lasts forty-five minutes, beginning and ending at the entry gate to the Delta-01 compound. The tour is moderately strenuous and requires a quarter mile round trip walk. All tour participants must be able to walk and stand unassisted; modern seating is limited on the tour. Visitors who need mobility assistance (wheelchairs and etc.) on the tour should contact the park at least a day before their reserved tour. All tours of the Delta-01 Launch Control Facility require advanced reservations and an amenity fee. Reservations can be made on-line or by phone at 605-717-7629. Reservations can be made up to 90 days prior to tour date. In the summer season tours fill up quickly.
    Delta-01 Tour Fee in 2023Corn palace
    $12.00 - Adult age 17 and over
    $8.00 - Youth ages 6-16 All youth must be accompanied by an adult.
  3. The Corn Palace - museum to all things corn
    604 N Main St, Mitchell, SD 57301. Phone: (605) 995-8430. Open: daily 8 am to 5 pm. The Palace is redecorated each year with naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses to make it “the agricultural show-place of the world”. We currently use 12 different colors or shades of corn to decorate the Corn Palace: red, brown, black, blue, white, orange, calico, yellow and now we have green corn. in 1892 (when Mitchell, South Dakota was a small, 12-year-old city of 3,000 inhabitants) the World's Only Corn Palace was established on the city’s Main Street. During it’s over 100 years of existence, it has become known worldwide and now attracts more than a half a million visitors annually.
    OK, this is not a "top destination", more like the "largest ball of string" category. But it is immensely silly and they have excellent popcorn and kitsch tchotchkes for corn lovers.

South Dakota Historical Forts and Sites, Famous buildings, Active Federal facilities to tour, Geology: like fossils and volcanic areas

  • Fossil Butte - Kemmerer, WY. Some of the world's best preserved fossils are found in the flat-topped ridges of southwestern Wyoming's cold sagebrush desert. Fossilized fishes, insects, plants, reptiles, birds, and mammals are exceptional for their abundance, variety, and detail of preservation. Most remarkable is the story they tell of ancient life in a subtropical landscape.
  • Pony Express Trail -
    It is hard to believe that young men once rode horses to carry mail from Missouri to California in the unprecedented time of only 10 days. This relay system along the Pony Express National Historic Trail in eight states was the most direct and practical means of east-west communications before the telegraph.

South Dakota State historic sites and parks

These are state-run parks, museums and historic sites that present the history of some manufacturing process, industry, or living settlement

State Parks

Historic sites

South Dakota Seasons, bugs, topography and climate

Located in the the plains, South Dakota has flat plains rolling hills and some mountains. In the summer, it tends to be semi-arid, hot during day and cool at night. Winters can be brutally cold. Many roads are closed or impassible in the winter. Bugs are thankfully few!

Camping tips

If you're not from the plains, you may not realize that even in the middle of July, the air gets cool at night. It will dip to the 60's most summer nights. Summers tend to be dry with occasional popup evening thunderstorms.

There are both state parks and private campgrounds.