Get your kids out of bed early by telling them you’re going to the Hillcrest Aquatic Center. This multi-feature fun center boasts four different pools, tree-topping slides, and fountains that drizzle, drip, spray and splash. A full concession stand will provide some great goodies to hold you over until mealtime. If the dreaded gray cloud tries to rain on your parade, change your plans and head to the Splash Zone Waterpark at the Brookings Inn. Then, if you haven’t totally turned into a prune, head over to Dakota Nature Park for a treasure hunt. Let the kiddos take technology into their own hands for a geocaching hunt in the great outdoors.
Slow things down a bit at the South Dakota Agricultural Heritage Museum. Show your kids what a 1900 era family was like in the past, on the farm, and without cell phones. While you’re there, spoil yourself and your kids at the Museum Store with locally-made souvenirs from South Dakota. To sweeten the deal, pick up a scoop of the famous SDSU Ice Cream at the Dairy Bar, just a quick stroll into campus.
Round out the day with dinner at any one of our 45+ restaurants, delightful eateries, and national chains. For the picky eaters who consider pizza the only food group, we’ve got 8 to choose from. On the other hand, if you’re looking for something internationally delicious, we’ve got that too. A full list of dining options by category can be found in our restaurants section.
Carve out a few hours of your trip for the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. Located in the heart of downtown Brookings at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Kidoodle Way, this one-of-a-kind attraction in South Dakota features 44,000 square feet of indoor exhibit space and 4-acres of prairie. Kids of all ages are encouraged to build, dance, climb, paint, learn, discover, imagine and say, “hi” to Mama T. Rex and her baby Max. Be sure to stay for lunch at Café Coteau, located inside the museum, and enjoy an array of healthy and delicious menu items.
After a very productive time at the museum, keep the fun downtown and take the kids on a tour of our many Urban Canvas creations. It’s the perfect place for an impromptu family photo session. Next, explore what our Downtown Brookings local businesses have in store for the whole family. You can find toys, books, clothing fun cooking supplies (for kids too) and much more!
Feeling a little snacky after exploring downtown? Grab a seat at Nick’s Hamburger Shop for the perfectly sized mini, 2-ounce burger. This little piece of Brookings history has been a staple in the community since 1929. If you’re not looking to spoil dinner, try splitting a slice of homemade pie instead. On the other hand, if dinner is calling, check out Cubby’s Sports Bar & Grill. Their roof top patio is al fresco dining, Midwest style, with plenty of options for the family, like tater tots and grilled cheese.
Extend Your Stay
Throughout the summer, Brookings is buzzing with activities, festivals and plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, young and old. Consider planning your trip around the following events: