Lonely Planet – the popular travel publishing company and online magazine – has named Wall Drug as one of the roadside attractions in the U.S. Wall Drug was in “good” company as the list also named the UFO Museum in New Mexico, the World”s largest twine ball in Minnesota and a 65-foot tall wooden elephant in New Jersey.
If you”ve ever visited , it”s easy to understand how it made the list.
Located just east of the Black Hills and north of Badlands National Park, Wall Drug has been a staple of family vacations for decades. From the mechanical T-Rex to Singing Sam the Gorilla Man – Wall Drug is part museum, part theme park, part shopping mall and all fun!
The now world-famous got its start during the Great Depression Era by offering free ice water to road-weary travelers. Since its humble beginning in 1931, the business – owned and run by the – has created one of the country”s most famous tourist stops by always giving folks friendly service and good, clean entertainment.
Wall Drug – now one of the largest drug stores in the world (yes, there is still an active pharmacy inside) – attracts more than two million visitors every year. That”s more than double the population of South Dakota itself!
As you wander the 76,000 square foot store that spans a full city block, you”ll discover the things that make Wall Drug such a one-of-a-kind place. The doughnut factory is a must see (and taste) stop; fresh doughnuts made from scratch daily and they are oh-so-good!
The old-fashioned soda fountain staff will mix you a drink from days gone by. The Western Art Gallery Cafe houses one of the largest private art collections of its kind. The cafe serves up buffalo burgers, giant cinnamon rolls, homemade pie and famous coffee that is still only five cents a cup.
While exploring the hallways, you”ll pass by souvenir shops and wedding chapels, pottery, camping gear, moccasins and more. Books to boots to Black Hills Gold – Wall Drug just goes on and on. When you think of kitschy Americana items – if you can imagine it, chances are it”s tucked away somewhere inside Wall Drug.
In the rear of the store is a fantastic, outdoor area aptly named The Back Yard. Simply put, it”s an outdoor playground that makes for some of the most memorable vacation photos you can ever take. Young and old alike clamor all over the concrete dinosaur, giant jackalope and bucking bronco just before ducking inside the old-fashioned stagecoach or peaking out from the teepee for that perfect picture.
Whether you buy anything or not, is one of those places that you just have to visit to really understand. If nothing else – at least stop and grab a glass of free ice water. After all – that”s how Wall Drug came to be what it is today.