Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Exploring Sioux Falls, SD

Sioux Falls is a vibrant city in south east South Dakota of about 150,000 people and offers many amenities. The city gets its name from the real Sioux Falls of the Big Sioux River and as you can see above, are real waterfalls. This is surprising to many folks since the surrounding area is rather flat, but these falls are very beautiful and the city park that now surrounds them is a great place to take a walk.

The river cuts through red granite rock that was used to build many buildings in the area. The erosion has caused some interesting patterns in the rock and adds to the rugged beauty of the area.

Not surprisingly, early residents used the falling water to power factories including the old flower mill you can see across the river. The small house is an old power generating station that was used by the mill. The Falls are a must see if you are in the Sioux Falls area and easy to locate just a touch north of downtown Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls is also home to the Battleship South Dakota Memorial (right off 12th street) and is really worth a stop. The Memorial is very unique and since it was impossible to sail the huge ship up the Big Sioux River (to say the least!), the memorial consists of a full scale outline of the ship along with many artifacts from the ship. Known as Battleship X to keep the Japanese Navy guessing about how many Battleships we had in WWII, the South Dakota was heavily involved in many battles.

The South Dakota (and Washington) participated in one of the only battleship to battleship gunnery duels in WWII. Imagine these huge ships trading 16" shells that weighed 2,000 pounds at distances of several miles. The South Dakota's excellent marksmanship resulted in several Japanese ships being destroyed, although the South Dakota was also hit several times.

This is the official Navy construction model of the South Dakota and shows how she looked at her 1942 commissioning. Although in service for only 5 years, she participated in most battles in the Pacific and even served in the North Atlantic.

This view shows an actual 16" gun from the ship and one of the 4 huge propellers that drove her. You can also see the short wall that depicts the outline of the ship and gives a great idea of the enormous size of the ship.

In the center of the ship, about where the actual bridge would be, is the visitor center and inside are many great pictures and artifacts. Although there is no admission fee, this is really well worth a stop for all ages.


Paul and Mary said...

We're right behind you two, in Mitchell, SD. Any chance you're headed to GNR? If so, we'll look for you there. (I'm sure we'll have the only two Tours in the place. LOL!) Safe travels.

Rick and Orinda said...

We are missing the GNR this year and heading to The Rally by Good Sam. GNR is always fun -- enjoy!

Paul and Mary said...

Have fun at the Rally! We'll see you down the road.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing about your time in Sioux Falls. Hope that you enjoy the rest of your trip - I am sure that it won't be hard!!

Safe travels,

Katlyn Richter
South Dakota Office of Tourism