Nov 01

Falls Park: The Natural Beauty of the Big Sioux River

WaterfallFalls Park is a beautiful park located in Sioux Falls South Dakota that unfortunately the first time we were traveling through Sioux Falls on our way to Yellowstone National Park we had no idea it even existed.  Luckily for us our latest adventure took us back through the area and after doing a little research about the park we put it on our must see list and we were glad that we did.
Sioux Falls Fall ParkThe park is located not far from their downtown area, which keep in mind it is Sioux Falls, so that area is not that big which is the way I like it having grown up in a small town in Kansas.  Karen and I were staying at the Holiday Inn, we got a good deal off of Hotwire, right in the middle of their downtown and the next morning got up and were at Falls Park within a couple of minutes.  Our location turned out to be a good one because we had the entire park virtually all to ourselves.
Falls ParkThe Falls Park area is what gives Sioux Falls its name so it was fun to see some of the history of the town all right there in the park.  The park covers 123 acres and averages around 7,400 gallons of water over the course of the falls.  The waterfalls are more like a series of cascades than one big waterfall, but they are worth the effort to see if you are in the area.  Unfortunately with the timing of the season and the fact that this has been a very dry year in that part of the United States the waterfalls were not at their rip-roaring best, but I still found the area quite pleasing to the eye.
Big Sioux RiverBesides the waterfalls, Falls Park is also the location of the remains of the old Queen Bee Mill which was opened in 1881 so farmers in the area could avoid the cost of shipping their wheat to nearby states to be processed.  Unfortunately the mill was never very successful and finally a fire in 1956 destroyed most of it, but the remains are there to be looked at.  There is also an old hydroelectric building that has been converted into the Falls Overlook Café which serves a variety of family-friendly foods.  A large visitor center with a 50-foot viewing tower gives views of the park as well as the surrounding city and inside the center there is a large collection of Sioux Falls merchandise and souvenirs for sale.
Falls CafeFalls Park also has a nice paved walking trail that takes its visitors to both sides of the falls as well as the start of the nearly 20 mile bike trail that loops around the city of Sioux Falls.  Also located inside the park are three beautifully sculpted statues that represent the heart and soul of Sioux Falls including the Monarch of the Plains which is a 12-ton granite buffalo.
Monarch of the PlainsKaren and I would highly recommend starting your day at Falls Park if you ever end up spending the night in Sioux Falls. It was a great way to start our day and not being an overly large park it was a quick visit for us, a little under an hour which left us plenty of time to see some of the other attractions in Sioux Falls and then be on our way.
Black and White Waterfall
Falls Park
Located at Falls Park Drive, Sioux Falls South Dakota
For more information visit their website at http://visitsiouxfalls.com/visitors/things-to-do/falls-park/

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