Park rangers at Minuteman Missile are thrilled to announce that they will begin taking reservations for the site’s 5th summer season on Monday, April 6th. The 2009 summer season (Memorial Day – Labor Day) will see yet another significant increase in visitor services. Guided tours will now take place twice daily, Monday through Saturday, at 9 A.M. and 1:30 P.M. The Saturday tours will be the first time in the site’s history that such an option has been offered to the public on a weekend. “We want to give our visitors as many opportunities as possible to visit the site and learn about the outstanding efforts of Air Force personnel to safeguard the nation during the Cold War” said Chief Ranger Pam Griswold.
Visitors wishing to take the reservation tour should reserve their spots as soon as possible. The opening week of reservations in April 2008 filled over half of the summer season tour spots. Reservations can be made by calling the Minuteman Missile headquarters office at 605-433-5552 between 8 A.M. and 4:30 P.M. MST, Monday - Friday.
Visitors on these tours are escorted through the topside structure and launch control capsule 30 feet below at Delta-01, a former launch control facility that housed missile crews from the 44th Missile Wing at Ellsworth AFB. They will also travel to Delta-09, a missile silo containing a Minuteman II training missile. A reserved tour takes approximately one and a half hours and the service is free.
In addition, the site will once again be offering its very popular weekly open houses each Thursday 9:00 a.m. to noon throughout the summer (with the exception of August 6th). The Open House tour is a shorter version of the Reservation Tour at Delta-01. On this tour visitors get a quick Ranger-guided tour of the topside, including viewing of the living quarters and the security control center. Visitors then take an elevator down to the underground LaunchControlCenter where they learn how the missiles would be launched in the event of a nuclear attack.
In 2008 there were 21,000 visitors to the visitor contact station at exit 131, Interstate 90. Of these 21,000 visitors over 9,300 were able to tour the site either on the reservation tour or at an open house.
More information about the site can be found on the internet at www.nps.gov/mimi. The park film Partners For Peace, which includes a virtual tour of the site, is also available for viewing on the home page.