Badlands National Park provides endless opportunities for discovery and exploration. During your time in the Park, visit the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to orient yourself with the Badlands National Park. Outdoors, the Badlands’ sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires surrounded by mixed-grass prairies and teeming with wildlife offer unique encounters with nature.
Ben Reifel Visitor Center
Start your visit to the Badlands National Park in the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, located at the Park’s headquarters. In the Visitor Center you can watch the award-winning Park video, Land of Stone and Light, in the 95-seat, air conditioned theater. Additionally, the Ben Reifel Visitor Center boasts a number of interactive displays that focus on the cultural history, prairie ecology and paleontology of the White River Badlands. Be sure to browse the Ben Reifel Visitor Center’s Bookstore. Operated by the Badlands Natural History Association, the Bookstore carries postcards, books, videos, posters and other educational materials related to the Badlands National Park.
Badlands Nature and Wildlife
Outside the Ben Reifel Visitor Center, discover the numerous plants and animals that thrive in the Badlands. Living in the mixed-grass prairie are many species of animals. Scientists have observed 39 mammal species, 9 reptile species, 6 amphibian species, 206 bird species and 69 butterfly species. Animals that live in the Badlands State Park are well adapted to their environment. They can handle climate extremes and find protection in the vast, open spaces of the Badlands. Small prairie mammals such as cottontail rabbits and badgers dig burrows or invade another animal’s burrow for shelter. Larger mammals that live in the park including bighorn sheep, pronghorn, bobcats and prairie dogs find shelter in canyons or in low spots such as drainages or woody areas of the Park.
The Badlands National Park’s surrounding landscape presents unique photo opportunities. Ridges, buttes, gorges, gulches, pinnacles and precipices stretch for miles in the eerily sparse, yet breathtakingly beautiful landscape. Capture formations that soar thousands of feet into the sky or the areas where the forces of erosion have brushed away the surface to reveal band upon band of stratified mineral deposits.
- The Ben Reifel Visitor Center is ADA compliant.
- Ranger programs such as talks and activities are offered during the summer season. Visit the official Badlands National Park (U.S. Park Service) website to find out about ranger programs and other special events taking place during your visit.