The D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery really made our tenting experience worthwhile for our little girls. Located right next to the Spearfish City Campground in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Arguably the best campground that my wife or I have ever been to. Part of the reason it was so great was because anytime we needed to pass some time we would just walk right down to the fish hatchery and see us some fish. For two little girls it was the highlight of their time camping. They constantly asked to go down and feed the fish. They liked it so much when we woke up at first light the first thing they asked to do was go see the fish.
Constructed in 1896, the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery is one of the oldest operating hatcheries in the country. Though its mission has changed since it ceased operations due to budget cuts in the 1980s. The hatchery now serves as a historic and cultural reminder to a bygone era. Now a vacation attraction with over 150,000 visitors a year, it still spawns and releases about 20,000 rainbow trout to South Dakota and Wyoming.
At 10 acres there is a lot see here. The ponds, museum, D.C. Booth family home and a historic boat used to collect trout eggs and vintage railcar that transported the fish to their new homes. While all those things were interesting to look at the star attraction of course was the fish. They have an underwater viewing area and several ponds to view them from above. Our girls favorite part was feeding them. Throwing the little food pellets in and watching them splash around made them laugh and squeal with delight.
My wife and I just enjoyed walking around the place. The grounds were pretty and it allowed our family to pass the time in a great outdoor setting. It is also free! A great plus for a growing family. Walking around the place you could just feel the history and the love of the locals that visit it.
D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery
Located at 423 Hatchery Circle, Spearfish, South Dakota
Hours of Operation: Open from dawn to dusk the museum, railcar, and Booth House are only open during the summer season from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost as of this Posting: Free
For more information visit the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery website at http://dcboothfishhatchery.org/
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