Holiday open house and annual bird count help celebrate the season at Wind Cave National Park

Bird Count

The annual Wind Cave National Park Christmas Bird Count will be held on Sunday, December 11. (NPS Photo)

WIND CAVE NATIONAL PARK, S.D. — Holiday events at Wind Cave National Park are set to begin Sunday, Dec. 11, with the annual Christmas Bird Count followed by a holiday open house on Monday, Dec. 19.

Bird Count

Staff will distribute hiking and driving routes and datasheet packets at 7:30 a.m. in front of the visitor’s center. Those participating are encouraged to bring a lunch, warm clothes, and if you have them, binoculars, field guides, and spotting scopes.

The count will end at 2 p.m. but participants are not required to attend the whole day.

Smaller hiking and driving units are available. To request specific units or for questions, please contact Angela Jarding at 605-745-1157 or via email at

The count is patterned after the nationwide National Audubon Society effort to document trends in wintering birdlife throughout the United States. It will cover all of Wind Cave NP and areas of the Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park. Information from the count will be provided to the South Dakota Ornithological Union.

Holiday Open House

On Monday, Dec. 19, Wind Cave National Park will host its annual holiday open house that will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the visitor center. Light refreshments will be served, and students from the Hot Springs’ third grade will present their Christmas program at 1:15 p.m.

During the open house, the public will be able to view park exhibits and browse through the park store operated by the Black Hills Parks and Forests Association.

The visitor center and cave will close on Christmas and New Year’s Day to allow staff to celebrate the holidays with their families.

Throughout the remainder of the winter, the visitor center will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with cave tours at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m.

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