WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. – Holiday events this year at Wind Cave National Park begin Sunday, December 11, with the 21st annual Wind Cave National Park Christmas Bird Count followed by the park’s yearly holiday open house on Wednesday, December 14.
Bird count participants should dress for the weather, bring field guides, and binoculars. Plan to meet at the visitor center no later than 7:30 a.m. on December 11. Afterwards, there will be a potluck supper around 4:15 p.m. in the visitor center; bring a dish to share. RSVP by calling the park at 605-745-4600.
The Christmas Bird Count 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.
The open house December 14 will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the visitor center. Light refreshments will be served, and students from the Hot Springs’ third grade will sing carols around 1:30 p.m. The students will also decorate the visitor center Christmas tree.
“We appreciate people taking part in our holiday activities, either the Christmas Bird Count or the open house,” said Park Superintendent Vidal Dávila. “We welcome these opportunities to meet with our neighbors, and we wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.”
During the open house, the public will be able to view park exhibits and browse through the visitor center’s bookstore operated by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association.
The visitor center and cave will close on Christmas and New Year’s Day to allow staff to celebrate the 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 cave tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.
Until the cave elevators are repaired around the end of January, all tours will walk in and out of the cave via the Walk-In Entrance. This includes climbing