December 04, 2003
Tom Farrell, 605-745-1130
Holiday celebrations at Wind Cave National Park this year will include the park’s annual bird count, an old fashion open house, and songs of good cheer.
Events kick off Sunday, December 14, with the park’s ninth annual bird count. This event is patterned after the National Audubon Society’s effort to document trends in wintering birdlife throughout the United States. The count area will include all of 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’s visitor center at 8 a.m. Due to ongoing parking lot construction, the only visitor center access is via the North Entrance Road from Highway 385. Participants are asked to dress warmly, bring a lunch, field guides and binoculars, and something to share for dinner. Hot chocolate and chili will be provided; please bring your own bowl and eating utensils. For more information, contact Barb Muenchau or Dan Roddy at 745-4600.
The park’s annual holiday open house will occur on Wednesday, December 17, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the visitor center. In honor of the park’s centennial, light refreshments, patterned after what might have been served one hundred years ago, will be available.
Superintendent Linda L. Stoll said, “Celebrating the park’s centennial this past year has been a very rewarding experience for both the staff and surrounding communities. We hope people will join us in closing out these celebrations by attending our open house and experiencing an old fashion Christmas gathering.”
Students from the Hot Springs’ third grade will sing Christmas carols at 1:15 p.m. in the visitor center lobby. The Visitor Center Christmas Tree will be adorned with decorations provided by the students.
The public will have the opportunity to visit with park staff and view exhibits relating to the park’s history, prairie, wildlife, and cave. The park’s bookstore, operated by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association, will also be open for browsing and holiday shopping. Regularly scheduled tours of the Garden of Eden area of the cave will be offered at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
The open house provides a way for the staff at Wind Cave National Park to thank area residents for their continued support of the park and its programs and to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season.
The visitor center and cave will be closed on Christmas day and New Years to allow staff to celebrate these 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. with tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.