As vacation resorts and destinations continuously expand and develop to offer more amenities to travelers, the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve near North Sioux City is drawing visitors by doing just the opposite.
The 1,500 acre plot of land along the Missouri River was donated to the state of South Dakota in 1984 by Mary and Maud Adams—it was the land their grandfather homesteaded in 1872. The sisters donated the land with the vision of preserving it, as well as providing a place where visitors could enjoy the area and learn more about the natural world.
Spanning a length of the Missouri River, the preserve contains 450 acres of cottonwood forest, ten miles of hiking and biking trails, Mud Lake (an oxbow of the Missouri) a one-room school house, church, and the original Adams home.
The staff at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve believes that experiencing the environment is the best way to understand and appreciate South Dakota’s natural history. Organized activities year-round provide education and exploration for all age groups:
- Guided tours of the land take visitors through the forest and along the Missouri River, explaining how the staff manages the land and preserves it in its natural state.
- Little Naturalist Programs let children and parents get their hands dirty together as they explore environmental topics. At the Nature Explorers Camp and other day camps, 5- to 12-year-olds play games to understand animal behavior, hike and explore as they learn about birds, insects, and animal adaptations. Discussions center on the natural and cultural history of South Dakota and why we need to keep animals safe.
- Night Hikes get visitors out of their comfort zone as they observe the nightlife of nocturnal creatures, including bats, owls, and coyotes. The hike also offers ideal star gazing and lessons on astronomy.
- The newly expanded VisitorCenteroffers information on the history of the land and the Adams family. Hands-on activities for kids include bird identification, an outlook to Mud Lake to look for critters, exhibits of animal tracks and leaf identification, and samples of animal skins, bones, and furs.