Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

why we like it:
Mining history and modern science coexist at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center. The exhibit hall has great mining photos and artifacts as well as a view of the 1,250-foot-deep Open Cut, an iconic landmark in the Black Hills. They offer a tour of historic Lead and a tour of the surface of the Sanford Underground Research Facility. If you’re lucky, you will get to see someone hoisted down a 5,000 foot rope that is used to access the underground lab.

location: 160 West Main Street, Lead, SD

hours: Open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily; Tours run daily at 10:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.  from May 1st to September 30th.

cost: the exhibit room is FREE; tours are $8 for adults, $7 for students, children under 5 are FREE. A family pass for a family of 4 or more is $25. 

what the locals know: Before you leave Lead (and it is pronounced “Leed”), head to Lynn’s Dakotamart or local gas station to see if they have any King’s Pasties.  A pasty is a traditional mining food made of barley crust, steak, potatoes and onions. The miners could easily take this hearty meal to the mine with them and eat it with one hand.

before you go:

  • Talk up how sweet hard hats are!  I know some kids are thrilled about having something on their heads. You will be wearing them on the tour.
  • Brush up on neutrinos here:
  • Watch this video with your kids about gold mining:


Header photo credit:


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