We all learned in school how smart research and strategic experimentation can lead to great scientific discoveries. Of course, so can pure luck, like when a construction crew in Hot Springs unearthed mammoth bones in 1974. The spot quickly evolved into one of the world's busiest, most significant paleontology digs. To date the fossils of 61 Columbian and and wooly mammoths have been found here. About 26,000 years ago the site was a sinkhole from which mammoths and other ice age creatures found no escape. A 30-minute guided tour offers a great orientation, and then you can watch scientists at work. Or your kids can jump into Junior Paleontologist activities. The Mammoth Site has been called "America's greatest Ice Age treasure," a claim hard to refute. Mammoths aren't the only good things to come out of the ground in these parts. Take time to enjoy Hot Springs' beautiful, historic architecture, incorporating locally quarried sandstone.
Paul writes about the Black Hills for in-flight airline publications, academic magazines, South Dakota Magazine, public TV, newspapers and websites. He is the author of five books, all Black Hills themed. He lives in the Black Hills. He's obviously no Renaissance Man with varied interests, but if the Black Hills are your thing, he's your guy.