Whether you pay a visit to Yellowstone National Park or vibrant Sioux Falls, you’ll love this beautiful region
On the way to some of our nation’s most incredible national and state parks and natural settings, group travelers are discovering there’s more to the region than fabulous scenic views. Certainly, Yellowstone, Moab, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and numerous other National Parks and State Parks should be on every traveler’s bucket list but wrapped around these marvels are unlimited outdoor recreation opportunities. Some of the best skiing and hiking in the United States is found here. Kayaking, canoeing or fishing the rivers and lakes are just a few of the experiences. With the arrival of more visitors, many states in the region have adopted principles that respect the picturesque landscape and leave it as you found it. Remember to check the state website before you go. You’ll find some great advice.
One of Colorado Springs’ top attractions, the Broadmoor Manitou & Pikes Peak Cog Railway, has reopened after a multi-year closing for repairs. Staying in Colorado Springs, the U.S Olympic and Paralympic Museum has opened and is touted as one of the world’s most accessible museums. From urban Denver with all its big city amenities to Moffat County and its dinosaur and pioneer history there’s some to please everyone in Colorado. Take a look at the 2023 Colorado Group Tour Guide for more information. You can download the PDF at leisuregrouptravel.com/colorado-group-tour-planner/
After closing its doors due to an arson-caused fire in September 2020, the former “The People’s Center” which is owned and operated by the Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille Tribes, has re-opened to the public as the Three Chiefs Cultural Center in Pablo, Montana. When fully open, the Center, which showcases the rich culture of the tribes, will provide expanded visitor experiences, including cultural activities, traditional arts and crafts, cultural education, native games, and other events reflecting the culture and heritage of the three tribes. csktribes.org
Kiewit Luminarium, a $101 million privately funded science center being built on Omaha’s Lewis and Clark Landing, will open in 2023. As a place for discovery for learners of all ages, it will offer open-ended explorations of natural phenomena focused on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It is anticipated to be one of the crowning jewels along Omaha’s riverfront and will afford sweeping views of the Missouri River and downtown Omaha. Also under construction is Steelhouse Omaha, a new $109 million downtown live music venue slated to open next year. The first phase of the city’s new 90-acre, $300 million Riverfront Park opened this past summer and includes a performance pavilion, interactive water features and a sculpture garden.
The Scarlet Hotel, a six-story, 154-room Marriott Tribute property, opened this year in Lincoln across the street from the Innovation Commons Conference Center. The hotel has many customized features including a different theme and decor in each guest room. Other features include: The Good Life Coffee Shop, which is designed and managed in partnership with The Mill Coffee & Tea, the Well & Good restaurant, which is open for dinner service from 5 to 10 p.m. and The Barred Owl, which is open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, offers signature cocktails from its location on the sixth-floor rooftop. The hotel also has a 2,400-square-foot space on the first floor that provides office suites, classrooms and a commercial training kitchen for UNL’s Hospitality, Restaurant and Tourism Management program. (scarlethotelnebraska.com)
There is something to explore in Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s largest city year-round. Falls Park, the cities’ namesake, is home to a cascading waterfall that flows over sparkling pink quartzite rock in a 125-acre park. Steps away explore a vibrant downtown filled with arts and culture, local restaurants, and more. Downtown is also home to SculptureWalk, including the Arc of Dreams. Historically speaking, at Good Earth State Park and the Old Courthouse Museum you can learn about the first inhabitants of the area.
Construction is set to begin in 2023 on the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, near Medora and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. A grand opening is set for July 4, 2026. The site is on land purchased by the Roosevelt family from the U.S. Forest Service, which was founded in 1905 during Roosevelt’s administration. The 26th U.S. president lived and ranched in North Dakota for two years in the 1880s and returned to the Badlands and Medora almost every year until his death in 1919. (trlibrary.com)
You have to like a state with such a wide variety of landscapes, parks, history and more. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but South Dakota’s Great Eight stand out. Among them include Crazy Horse Memorial. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began the world’s largest mountain carving in 1948 and members of his family and their supporters are continuing his artistic intent to create a massive statue that will be 641 feet long and 563 feet high. Workers completed the carved 87 ½-foot-tall Crazy Horse face in 1998 and have since focused on thinning the remaining mountain to form the 219-foot-high horse’s head. This memorial’s construction is ongoing and fascinating. (crazyhorsememorial.org)
The Beehive State has a winning combination of breathtaking landscapes and a wide range of visitor experiences. Recently, Utah made National Geographic’s coveted “Best of the World” list for 2023. Utah was featured in the Adventure category and showcased opportunities in the “less visited areas of the state.” Utah was the lone United States destination in the Adventure group and only one of five U.S. destinations selected for the list.
In 2022, Yellowstone National Park celebrated its 150th anniversary. That means generations of visitors have enjoyed the world’s greatest collection of bubbling hydrothermal features, like geysers. As it gets older, Yellowstone is even more focused on sustainability. The lighting in all buildings – including chandeliers in historic buildings like the Roosevelt Lodge and Old Faithful Inn’s Old House rooms – are now energy-saving LED lights. (nps.gov/yell/index.htm)